Lately every time I open my mouth I find myself surprised. Surprised by the volume and conviction and tone and passion with which I have been saying things. This is not the voice of that same person who used to carefully weigh each word to make sure it pleased all of her listeners. This, rather, is the voice of someone who has learned that she has something important to say, and that not everyone (or even most people really) are going to agree with it, but she is going to have to say it anyway. Because it is true, and truth is beautiful.

Today my dear friend M and I drove to a Christian college not so far from here and shared our stories in a Human Sexuality class. Had you known us in college, this would probably be a shocking statement. We were not the kind of people you would expect to go around talking about our sexuality, or much of anything controversial for that matter, in front of crowds of people. But it seems that is exactly the kind of people we have become, and I cannot tell you how liberating it felt. Afterwords we were so full of the power of our own voices that we wanted to burst into classrooms all across campus and announce that we were there to talk about being gay, and share with them our winding journeys of how we came to peace and then even thankfulness for that. Then, we wanted to drive right on back to our undergraduate campus and start shouting our stories from their podiums too! That’s how empowering it was, just to stand before a crowd of students not unlike those we sat silently next to during all those years of Christian education, and tell them that we are gay and we love God and women and life and yes even ourselves, most of the time anyway. Our elation wasn’t so much about the student’s reactions, which were entirely a mixed bag with some peeking out from their own well guarded closets to thank us shyly, other smiling warmly, and some smirking and refusing to look at us as they brushed past us at the end of class. Nobody stopped us to say their life was radically changed by what we had to say, but I think that’s fine because our elation was not about what they heard but rather about what we were able to speak. With conviction and grace and even a good bit of humor we stood up there and said this is who we are, and how we have come to be here, and we are not ashamed. And even more, we are grateful.

It had been raining all day, but as we were driving back home and celebrating our voices the clouds lifted and this incredibly soft but brilliant light broke through the clouds and reached down towards the ocean beside us. And maybe it was because we were feeling sentimental and maybe even a little tender towards our faith and all the bumps it has taken these past few years, but I swear we both noticed at the exact same time that it was almost as though God was painting those broad,  brilliant strokes of light across the sky in celebration with us and our triumphant speaking of our truths.