Monday, September 29, 2008
Ideals are like stars...
Ideals are like stars: you will not succeed in touching them with your hands, but like the seafaring man on the ocean desert of waters, you choose them as your guides, and following them, you reach your destiny. -Carl Schurtz
I came out to my bishop back toward the beginning of summer. I talked with him two weeks later and then never went back. I felt so gross talking with him about how I'm attracted to dudes. Out of the blue, he called and asked if I would meet with him...so we did, last Sunday. I was scared to death, but I figured: "He set up the meeting, I'll let him have charge and see what he wants." We chatted in general about life and such for a little and then he asked; "So, how are...other things going?" (I think that he's as uncomfortable as I am). I told him that this has been probably the hardest summer of my life, maybe matched by a summer or two from the worst of my teenage years. I told him about smoking and drinking...and that I've quit that (I have). I told him that at this point, I wish I hadn't ever even gone to that meeting where I came out and confronted this; but, I acknowledged that life goes on and I told him that I knew my feelings would change somehow.
The other night, I talked with Hillary for about 90 minutes. We had a good talk, but when we ended it, I was troubled cause I couldn't see how things were going to get better. So, I've been thinking about it. I think I've forgotten that some problems don't get fixed, some challenges can't be vanquished, and some trials are life-long. So, what's left to say but "get over it!"
Today, I was thinking about the things that I have that I can be happy about. Dang, there's a lot. I've got some of the best friends, roommates, cousins, sisters and parents that a person could imagine. So what if I'm gay and can't seem to change it. I remember when I was working with others that were experiencing trials and challanges, I would say to them that they needed to focus on things that they both wanted to change and could change...or cause to change. Worrying about anything else was not only futile and wasteful, but harmful and destructive. Well, it's plain to see that I need someone to share that very principle with me. I've been concerning myself so strongly with things I can't change that I haven't even had safe control over things I could influence or change for the better.
After thinking about the good fortune I experience in life, I thought about some of my most cherished memories, including touring the museums in Washington, DC, with Hill(ary). In one museum of art, there were tons of quotes on the walls accompanying masterful paintings. One of the quotes was from Carl Schurz: "Ideals are like stars: you will not succeed in touching them with your hands, but like the seafaring man on the ocean desert of waters, you choose them as your guides, and following them, you reach your destiny." I think I've been following my feet - or at least looking down all the time while saying that I'm trying to follow the stars. Yeah, doesn't work. I think he means that we've got to stay focused on the things that we do want and can accomplish and not let ourselves be distracted or turned from our path by other seemingly valid concerns - concerns that we might be able to affect, but that would prove to be less important than the grand plans and ideals that we chase and could otherwise be accomplishing if we would but stay focused. So, I'll spend the next while working on understanding how best to stay focused on the stars and be guided by ideals. Of course, it'll be a process; but perhaps, it'll be the reminder that I need to recall to me the way of being I once had - the one that brings joy and fullness to work and relationships, and love and life.
Ok, I know that sounds kinda corny, but I really mean it. There is a way of being, a song that your heart can sing, a presence that you can develop; whatever you call it, when you are this way, the people and places and events in life are all good and right. They didn't change, you did. It only ever results from or is the sum consequence of the fine choices that you make every day inside yourself that nobody knows about. I say this mostly to myself, because I forget it too easily. The way that you are inside - your way of being - is not something that you get to choose directly; rather, it is a sum of the choices you make in your thoughts and heart throughout the days. This presence of yours is ever-changing, formed by who you are in the places where nobody but you and God can see. I feel ashamed for being who I've been this last little while...kicking against the pricks. So...change doesn't happen in an instant. It requires time and effort. I've already started towards it; now, I need to continue and soon, I'll start to see as I was able to see some time ago. There'll be more light, more purpose, and more why's to work every day and follow the ideals that guide.
at 2:45 PM