I want to say a thousand things, and seem unable to even begin. This has been one of those days that just blindsides you with its unexpected pain. It seems particularly cruel, in light of the hope I recently mentioned “trying on for size”… and today, at least for most of the day, it just did not fit. My own surprise at how quickly thoughtless comments can unravel all the hard, painful work I have done to make some semblance of peace with myself and with my God. The stress of midterms. Reaching out to someone I thought I could trust and finding a wall. A first session with a cold, Jungian therapist who leans back, stone-faced, when I tell her that I have recently begun to identify as a lesbian, and asks me “Have you given this much thought? Aren’t you having any conflicts, with this homosexual identity?” No, I wanted to scream at her… I haven’t given this any thought… I just woke up one morning and decided, my life is too easy… I’m getting a little bored with this all, and getting my PhD won’t be enough of a challenge… I think I’ll decided to become a lesbian, and try this on for size for the very first time in a seminary. That will be fun for everyone. And conflict? No, of course not… why would I have conflict when every voice I’ve ever heard, everything I’ve ever been taught, every person I’ve ever known, outside of this blog, has told me that this… this being gay and being a Christian, doesn’t just cause conflict, it is, essentially, a conflict that simply cannot exist. Thanks for playing. Better luck next time. Conflict? My life has become one giant conflict. Which is why, I think, it hurts to hear something like “maybe you are only getting advice from one side of the debate.” I don’t live in the vacuum of this blog. My entire life is the other side of the story….my family, most of my closest friends, my church, my entire academic and religious education…trust me when I tell you that I get the other side of the story.

But I didn’t know how to explain all of this to the therapist, so I just cried. and cried. and then cried some more. And she kept leaning back, arms crossed, and made some comment like: “I looks like you’re experience some strong emotion right now.” No shit. If this is therapy, I can’t believe it’s supposed to takes six years for me to learn how to do this.

So I left the therapist’s office pretty much an emotional train wreck, with less than an hour until I had to take a midterm, and then one of the first questions on the test was: “A client walks in to a therapist’s office and announces that she is a lesbian, and is experiencing a lot of depression and anxiety over this…” and there I was in class, laughing silently to myself in that way I have of doing when I am trying so hard not to cry, wondering when did my life become some class’s case history? This is not the way it was supposed to be….

But on the way out of class I bumped into a classmate, and somehow we wound up going out for coffee, and one thing led to another so that pretty soon we were both voicing similar frustrations with being here…and I cannot tell you how much it meant to finally hear somebody else saying that this just doesn’t feel right. That I don’t recognize myself anymore, and that if being at this seminary means that I am forgetting how to laugh, and even how to make it through the day, then I am not sure if this is the place for me. When I tried to explain to her that I am trying so hard to find meaning in this, she just shook her head and said that she’s done looking for meaning, what she is going to do is to cut her losses… leave at the end of the quarter and call it a lesson learned, a mistake made. But that isn’t quite the whole story here, not for me anyway. Because I have found meaning in this….and I have found it in this internet community, and in this blog. And for me, so far, it has been worth it. Which is also not to say that I am totally ruling out the idea of cutting my loses, and calling it quits. I’m just going to try and make it through this week. I’ll get back to you about the rest.

So anyway, it’s almost midnight and I still have midterms tomorrow that I haven’t even begun to study for, and a quiz tomorrow morning, and I just sat down to read the article for it only to discover that for the third week in a row, we are studying marriage (explicitly defined as male and female couples, in case any of us had doubts), and the article I had to study went on and on about how the really great thing about a man and a women getting married is that they reflect the Imago Dei…the diverse aspects of the character of God. That, the author writes, is why it is so important to have a man and a woman get married… it’s how you reflect the image of God through relationships of “mutual, vulnerable interdependence.” I would argue that there is another way to take part in the Imago Dei. I would argue that we are doing it right here. So thank you, to all of you whose comments and support are the sole reason that today, I am still seeing God in this… in all of this. You have been to me, in this moment, the Imago Dei.

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