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Wednesday, July 21 - Tuesday, July 28

Hi there:

I'm heading out the door early this morning (Wednesday, July 21) to attend my 25th high school reunion in Washington State. I'll be away through next Tuesday, July 27. My next posting will be Wednesday, July 28. Take care and have a blessed week! I'll look forward to resuming our time together next week.

Til next time...

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

What I’m Reading Today: Matthew 6:19-34

Tomorrow I will be flying out to use my third week of vacation for the year 2010. I will be using that time in order to attend my 25th high school r”eunion in Deer Park, WA.

Like many people, I have somewhat mixed feelings about attending a reunion with folks I haven’t seen for many years. In my case, a lot of those mixed feelings have to do with how folks will relate to “the new me”.

You see when I was in school I was the classic overachiever. I was our class president, church youth group president, accomplished pianist, football player and wrestler, salutatorian, and ASB President. Lots of folks expected me to grow up and become to realize the all-American dream – meaning I would grow up, get married, have 2.4 kids, and make lots and lots of money.

Fast forward 25 years.

On the surface my life looks different than some might have expected. I did grow up (though some might take issue with that assessment), get married (albeit it to someone of my own gender and from a different racial/ethnic group than myself), had 2 “kids” (who have 4 legs, long noses, and are prone to bark), and (don’t) make lots of money.

Some people very well might look at my life from the outside and say my life has gone horribly off-track since I graduated from high school in 1985. I would say, however, that my life is happier and more fulfilling than I ever thought possible 25 years ago.

So which voice will win out – the voice driven by judgmental folks from the outside or the internal voice rooted and grounded in my love of God and self? That’s what I’ve been wondering about the past several days…

Needless to say, as I prepare to get on board the airplane tomorrow I’ll try to carry with me Jesus’ words from today’s passage in Matthew: “Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes.”

Those words will help ground me and help prevent me from trying to anticipate what will happen when I return to the conservative small town in which I was raised.

I’m wondering if there are areas in your life where you have gotten caught up in worrying about tomorrow and what may - or may not - happen. Perhaps those worries are centered on finances, the status of a personal relationship, or some other matter. If that’s the case, I would encourage you to carry Jesus’ words with you today. Be present in today… Let tomorrow take care of itself…

Til next time…

Monday, July 19, 2010

What I’m Reading Today: Matthew 6:1-18

When I went through my coming out process, there were lots of important moments along the way. After all, any process that involves taking a risk and sharing the fullness of who you are after hiding it for 25 years if bound to be memorable.

The most memorable moment in my process, came about six months after I first told my parents I was gay. My mother – who was very traditional in her beliefs – was the person who took the news the hardest. She can be a very stubborn person (unlike myself – ha ha), and for the first six months after receiving the news she refused to budge an inch in terms of her position regarding my sexual orientation. “Being gay,” she suggested, “was wrong, wrong. wrong.”

At one point in those first six months I drew a line in the sand and said, “If you can’t accept my sexual orientation, then you can’t accept me. And if that’s the case, then I no longer want a relationship with you.”

Somewhere around that six month mark, however, something radical changed within me. One day I realized I was being completely hypocritical in my approach toward my mother. I realized that I was asking something of her (i.e. that she accept me exactly as I am) while I was refusing to her accept her exactly as she was.

It was hard for me – but I began to work on my attitude toward my mother. I got myself to the point where it no longer mattered if she reached the point of understanding and acceptance of my sexuality – I loved her enough to accept her: judgments and all.

At that moment everything began to change in my life – both within myself and in my relationship with her. Eventually mom began to soften. Today we have a good relationship – one in which she loves and accepts me and my relationship with Mike!

I don’t know that my mother and I would have ever gotten to where we are today if I hadn’t been willing to practice what I preached (“acceptance of the other exactly as they are”).

I was reminded of that experience as I read Jesus’ words today on forgiveness. In the passage, Jesus is quoted as saying: “You can’t get forgiveness from God, for instance, without also forgiving others. If you refuse to do your part, you cut yourself off from God’s part.”

I’m wondering if you might have a relationship in your life fraught with complexities: one in which you have felt wronged and completely justified in pulling back from the person and sitting in judgment of him or her. If so, today I would encourage you to think about taking the first step toward the person and practicing the sort of love and compassionate that you are starved to receive yourself. In that very process of opening yourself, you might find the most important aspect of your healing has already begun in the most important place of all – within your heart!

Til next time…