“Being Gay is a gift from God. But our culture doesn’t understand that, and consequently it sends messages that you are to be isolated. And Isolation is the antithesis of what all of us need. We need community, we simply cannot do spirituality or be fully alive without community”
The above line was recently said by Rev. Ed Bacon, the rector of All Saints Episcopal Church in Pasadena, California during one of Oprah’s Shows early in January. What an awesome way to start the New Year! Don’t you think? I sure wish Oprah was around when I was growing up almost 40 years ago! Sure would have made things a lot easier, and chances are that hearing such statements on national television would have given me the courage I needed then to come out to my dad a lot earlier and not confess it in prayer after he had passed, leaving me feeling guilty that he never got to know me truly as I am.
As I was watching the broadcast (which I’m sure you’ll be able to find by simply Googleing the words “Oprah” and “Gay”) I could not help but feel a mixed sense of wonder, happiness, and sadness at the same time. Wonder because it was completely unexpected, and because it resonated in the depth of my being. Happiness because in so many ways it was a public acknowledgement by two very respected spiritual leaders with rather large followings, reaffirming something I’ve come to know and accept in my life after much pain and several hundreds of hours of therapy: That I was created in the image and likeness of God; that God in me, as me, is me. I felt sadness because I sensed that in so many ways, though much ground has already courageously been gained, there’s so much healing that still needs to take place in the Gay and Lesbian community, not just here in South Africa, but all over the world.
So the question is where do we begin? How do we begin to heal the wounds left by years of feeling isolated, ‘different’ from the rest, years of being told that we are abominations, deviants, pedophiles, freaks and so many other ‘labels’, that unfortunately many of us started to, and eventually believed – some to the point where they have ended their life? What comes to mind is Gandhi’s words “Be the change you want to see in the world.” To me that translates into: be the healing, powerful, loving and self accepting gay person I want to see other gay men and women be in the world. The work starts first with oneself, then, as Rev. Ed Bacon indicates, in the community in which we live.
The path to healing can for some of us be long and painful, and for you it may take longer than you expect depending on how long you’ve been holding on to those ‘beliefs’ about homosexuality imposed by others. All healing must first begin with the full and complete acceptance of what is. That means to fully accept all that has happened in your life as a consequence of buying into those beliefs of separation without thinking about what you could have, should have, or would have done Once you’ve done that, then take the time to harvest all the positive that came from it. Sure there were bad moments, but certainly not all was bad. Some good things must have come from it. What good things emerged? Perhaps in order to hide your feelings of shame you learned to play an instrument or develop a skill or talent that otherwise you would not have. Perhaps you hid at the local library where you had a chance to read books you never would have found. Or perhaps, in the places that you escaped to you met wonderful, loving and supporting people that became lovers, others friends for life. Whatever that is, it helps if you write it down. Then, after you’ve listed all the good that was harvested from all that sense of separation and isolation, take the time to forgive. Forgiveness is one of the most underrated and powerful spiritual practices there is! All forgiveness is truly self-forgiveness, for when we forgive others we are truly healing and releasing all those thoughts, emotions, and feelings we are holding inside us about them. What do you have to forgive yourself for? Who else do you need to forgive? Your parents, church, friends, society, God? Write it down. You can write something like… “I forgive you _______ for _________. I release you and let you go. You no longer have any power over me.” Forgiveness clears the path and allow for true healing to take place. Finally, ask yourself: “What new quality is now trying to emerge in me? What is seeking to be birthed? Write it down to. You see, in every seeming challenge or problem in our lives, there’s always some quality which is being called forth to emerge inside of us. In my case, once I was able to forgive and truly let go of my own limited thoughts about myself, I began to feel freer, and more confident in myself, more self-accepting. Those were the qualities that were trying to emerge.
The healing we want to see in the world does truly begin with ourselves. As more of us begin to own this process, and become responsible for our own lives, our own Divinity begins to emerge, our lights to brighter shine. This in turn, allows others to do the same. By Divinity I mean all those qualities of God which we inherited when we were born: Love, Joy, Abundance, Peace, Acceptance, Harmony, Power, Giving, Creativity, the list goes on and on. As Rev. Michael B. Beckwith, spiritual director and founder of the Agape Movement said during the same Oprah Broadcast, “People don’t just happen to be gay. People are born gay by Divine Right. We are the image and likeness of God, just as we are.”
- I am gay for a powerful and purposeful reason.
- I accept my personal responsibility for being a healing force in my life, the gay community, and the world.
- I release shame and internalized homophobia from every level of my being.
- Mentally, emotionally, physically and spiritually I am tuned into the vibration of deep self-love and acceptance.
- In this alignment my thoughts, words and deeds are filled with grace, clarity and power.
- How great it is to be gay! I am FABULOUS… it’s just true!