Friday, August 05, 2005
The World Less Lonely
It's amazing how much being heard can make a person feel less lonely in the world. One of the loneliest places in the world for me has been the Church. It wasn't always that way. In fact, I came to Christ in the first place partly because it was where people knew my name. If only it was a place where people knew who I was.
I know it takes iniative and effort to make oneself known in a group. We've gotta be willing to engage people in order for people to mutually get to know each other. But there's a fear involved in revealing too much or the wrong things to certain people. It's definitely not something you just bring up in casual conversation. However, it's in casual conversation where you begin to discern whether or not a person may be safe to tell or not. The gay jokes can be pretty tough to hear at times but they're bearable. The really hard part is to listen to people in church speak with such disgust about those homosexuals.
And so, I'd think to myself...."that's one person i will never be able to tell."
I was saved when I was 16 years old. As a Christian, I could never tell anyone that I was attracted to guys for 9 years. Telling someone in church meant that I would be an outcast. I couldn't tell the pastor because that would mean I wouldn't be "allowed" to serve Christ in ministry anymore. I couldn't tell people in small group because I wouldn't be able to go to Bible study anymore. I couldn't tell anyone in church because the word will get out and then everyone would know and so I wouldn't be able to go to church anymore.
Can't tell anyone. I want to keep going to church. At least those are the kinds of thoughts that would keep me from telling anyone. And so, i'd remain hidden.
Between me and Jesus, I knew He loved me. But how could i ever love myself when my own "fellow" Christians didn't. I know the truth is that many of them did and/or do love me - at least the part of me that I showed to them. Another reason why I came to Christ back then was because I needed a family. At the time, my own family was pretty emotionally distant so the Church served as my spiritual family. How could I endure being rejected by them too?
Eventually, I found people in the church that I could talk to. It was great. What a release it is to have someone else know about this one single fact about me! It was like stepping into the light. The problem was typically that people in the church who are accepting and sympathetic don't often know what to say or what to do to believers who are struggling with this. It's awkward and so it seems better for them not to bring it up. It's easier just to love me and act like I'm 'normal' than to talk about it with me. That's great - I do appreciate the acceptance, in fact it's refreshing not to be rejected from someone even after knowing about me. But simply accepting me isn't the same as walking with me. What I really need is for someone not to be afraid of it. Someone not afraid to touch me or hug me or hear me. What i really need is for someone who will listen and try to understand the loneliness and darkness that a person like me can be experiencing in church and in life.
Nowadays, of course, there are more people that know about me. There are even good friends of mine that I can talk to and process some of this stuff out. It's even helped for me to process alot of this stuff in this BLOG. It was highly encouraging for me to have people leave me messages on this BLOG - many who were referred here by Brandon from BadChristian.com. He made a post in his BLOG recently regarding mine and the really encouraging thing was that he acknowledged the journey I'm on.
The thing about that is...he made me feel heard. And that made my world that much more less lonely.