Friday, May 30, 2008

"A Time for Every Purpose"

A friend called last night and asked me about dating. HA!

Since when have I become a resource on the subject of dating? (Last year, an important relationship of mine ended badly; a few months ago my most resent relationship ended and now I'm single)

"It's so hard...there's so much drama," he complained.

That is true. Involving someone in your life does create a certain set of added complications. However most of us don't take time when we face obstacles. Almost anything we attempt to do in life can be accomplished through taking the proper time.

If we fail, it is often because we did not take the time to educate ourselves properly. If we do not succeed, it may be because we have not taken the proper time to collect sufficient resources. If we still struggle, it is often because we have not taken the time and energy to prepare ourselves, physically, mentally or emotionally for the endeavor.

Time is essential to the success of any task.

Dating is no different. And so, for me, this means taking the time to be single. Grrrrrr! I hate being single. And yet, I want a successful and healthy relationship in the future, so I am determined to take the present moment to prepare for that eventuality.

It is not just spending the time that allows us to be successful. Investing time is how we create the proper return in our lives. And the #1 rule of investing is discipline. Discipline means a focused, clear and determined application of energy toward the attainment of a worthwhile goal.

During my time of singleness, this means focusing clearly on my relationship with Christ and really articulating what it is that I hope to see happen as I grow closer to Him. It also means using my time wisely to go to the dark places.

Do you have "dark places" in your life? These are the old emotional wounds, the deep hurts and past failings that haunt our present. I have them. I have tried to avoid them. I have suppressed them. And I have run away from them.

But problems don't go away. My refusing to accept responsibility for my "ghosts" does not make them any less real.

If the relationship must be gotten over, then it must be me who takes the time to get over it.

If the degree must be completed, then it must be me who completes it.

If the debt must be paid off, then it must be me who pays it.

There is no "short-cut." There is no easy out. It is discipline and determination.

And if there is a prize to be won in a healthy and fulfilling relationship, it must be me who trains arduously through this season of singleness for the day of glory and the gold medal of commitment placed around my neck.

Silence--the Voice of Peace


Silence. Where do you go to experience it?

To me, silence is as the evasive happiness...the more you seek it and strive for it the less likely you are to find it. When you think about it, silence is only known by the sounds that interrupt it.

Yet silence is the language that speaks peace.

I live near a large art museum and it has large gardens and sculpture gardens on the grounds. Often, I will go there in the evenings to pray and to read.

Last night, I sat next to a fountain and closed my eyes in prayer and meditation. I focused on the sounds...each individual tone that made up the music of the trickling water. But then I tried something else, I consciously tried to listen to the the silence within the trickling water fountain.


It filled my spirit. Gratitude soon followed and overflowed my soul. And Love seemed to sit beside me as I sat there.

Silence, Peace, Gratitude and Love--happy companions for a wonderful life.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Meandering Mind...Meandering Life

Ok, so I have to admit I'm a bit slow on the uptake with this one!

The title principle should be obvious--and it is. But for me, the application of this principle is about discipline and determination.

I read once that when your mind is cluttered, your space becomes cluttered. To an extent, I have noticed that the more chaos there is in my life, emotionally or physically, the more chaos there is in my space.

A sure way to clean up your space, is to organize your mind. That's an aside, though.


My life has not been a comedy of errors, but a comedy serendipitous opportunities leading to everywhere--and nowhere.

Have you ever felt like you've been a lot of places but never yet arrived at any one place?

That is the feeling in my life right now. And at the age of thirty-mumble, mumble, this feeling has bred a certain amount of discontent.

I notice it most when others make comments or ask questions that seem to come from a place of disapproval. But that's the thing. I don't want their life. I want a fantastic and exciting life. I don't want the life that everyone else leads.

Yet the dreams I have are blurred and so life keeps meandering. And the strong pull of what is the "right/responsible/grownup" way to live draws me back and forth like the knot in the center of a tug-o-war rope.

And so my life resembles the path of a staggering drunk at times.


But what if I can set aside the critics' input, dig deep down into my own deepest soul, and focus my energy, creativity and effort in a way that most satisfies me? What would that life look like? I have a feeling that's exactly the life I want to lead--exactly what I want my life to look like.

Step One: Focus

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

The Sacred Sanctuary of Loneliness

Learning to live with loneliness. Ok, I'm better than I was last night. I just had to make those two "vent" posts to get things off my chest. I'm an extrovert, and so sometimes I process things by expressing them through words.

When I settled down a bit, I realized some valuable things.

1. I do have great friends in my life.

2. I am in the right place in my life.

3. I can take action to change things in my life.

and most importantly...

4. I have a great God.


It's tough to experience the loneliness. But I absolutely believe that I need this time. When I'm involved in a relationship, I'm not able to be as objective. And for me--and I suspect, most others--relationships take alot of emotional energy.

I need time to mature emotionally. As I've expressed through other posts, I want to come to a relationship and be able to share my life. I don't want to come needing the person I'm in a relationship with to "fix" me, emotionally or otherwise.

I also realize that during this time of loneliness, I am acutely aware of God's presence. This is how I should live every day--conscious of Him. It is in this sanctuary of fear, loneliness and frustration that I experience His grace and mercy and love.

And from my sacred sanctuary comes an overwhelming, all-encompassing peace from the hand of God.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Chicken or the Egg

I don't know if the loneliness I blogged about earlier is a result of frustration, or if the frustration is a result of the loneliness. It's a bit like the question of which came first--the chicken or the egg.

I realized a few days ago that a year ago this week, my first significant relationship ended. With the naiveté of a teen-aged lover, I bought into the fantasy that "it" would last forever.

And because I have been unable to let go of that fantasy, I have suffered. What ticks me off more than anything is that I want to let go of the fantasy.

My cynic emerges from the ashes of my fantasy land. But instead of a beautiful phoenix all I have is this vulture that circles high above my dying life of dreams, hopes and desires.

And I am frustrated because I can't let my lover go. I've "moved on" but the presence of the loved one's influence is still there. It's still there because I still care. I still love. Human beings weren't made to turn love on and off.

I want to feel the same indifference that my lover apparently felt toward me. I want to understand. I want to have relief. And I probably won't, and as much as I want to "let go and let God," I realize the bitter irony of the cliché as it cuts through my own life experience.

When will this end? Why isn't a year long enough to get over a six month puppy love? Why? Why? Why?

Why am I so messed up?

Leona Lewis sings "I'm gonna smile because I deserve to...It'll be better in time"

But sometimes, my smiley-muscles ache.



Sometimes life is just like that.

This post might (most likely will) meander a bit since my mind is a bit unfocused and "bleh".

The past few weeks have been a struggle, honestly. Off and on, I've just been attacked by loneliness. I know you all can probably commiserate.

The key (they say) is to not resist what is, and to allow it to be. Bull-honkey!

Ok, so "they" are probably right, but how can I not resist the loneliness? Doesn't "not resisting" become the act of resisting the resistance? (Sounds circular to me). And that's how it feels---my mind, emotions and personal will in a giant toilet bowl swirling toward the inevitable whoosh through the drain and into the sewer of life.

Ok, so I'm being a bit melodramatic and perhaps a bit drama queen-ish. None of this takes away from the reality of the intensity of the deep feeling of loneliness. It really is like a dementor (if you've read Harry Potter) sucking the life and energy from my soul.

I know what it is. I know what it's doing. Yet I feel powerless to stop it from siphoning the life from me. All the while I'm conscious that I am not powerless and should be able to change the feelings I have. And that makes me even more frustrated. I just crazy?

No. I'm human. And I guess I'm ok with that. I'm ok.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

K.S.A.S: Knight in Shining Armour Syndrome

This is something I've suffered with often, and I expect that many of us are similarly afflicted. The Knight in Shining Armour Syndrome is a condition that many human beings suffer with at one point or another throughout their lives.

It is predicated by the belief (or strong desire) that the knight in shining armour will show up on a white horse and save the day by rescuing me. I have played this game of delusion most of my life. I don't know why, but it seems like there is something in each of us that drives us to hope in and look for someone to fix us or fulfill us. Yet we know that this is unhealthy and doesn't work. But still, we hope that he (or she) will show up and fix it all.

But I'm learning something that is changing me a little at a time. As I am learning to listen to my own intuition, I'm learning the satisfaction that comes from rescuing myself. This concept is so simple, and brings so much happiness and personal fulfillment, but sometimes the KSAS still kicks in and I look outside myself to find a rescuer.

Every decision that I've made from that place of looking for a rescuer has caused me additional grief and drama. I don't need that!

Friday, May 16, 2008

You Are Not Alone!

I can't count the number of times that other gay Christians have said to me, "I thought I was totally alone," or "I thought about killing myself because I thought I was the only one."

If you are on this journey of reconciling your faith with your sexuality, or if you are just starting to face the questions that are crowding in around you, I want to tell you this: YOU ARE NOT ALONE!

There are hundreds of thousands of others like you all over the world. I have friends from all continents: North and South America, Asia, Africa, Europe, and Australia. And they all have something in common--they are gay and they are Christian.

As you journey this path toward authenticity, insecurity and uncertainty will be your companions. However, you will also begin to hear the counsel of a different voice--a voice that may not be very strong at first, for it is your own.

When I first started to pay conscious attention to my own wisdom and my own voice, I could not follow its leading, because I had suppressed and repressed its influence so severely. As I have grown, I am learning to listen to the voice of my intuition. I am finding it to be a faithful and trustworthy guide.

As I began to build my life with integrity and authenticity, I found my own guiding voice--the voice of God's Spirit within me--magnified. And I have become courageous--courageous to listen to and follow that guidance even when it seemed to contradict what others wanted me to do.

Courage is hearing your voice and following your intuition.

Emotional Scratching Posts

I am finally reading the bestselling Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert. Ms. Gilbert chronicles the year she took to travel to Italy, India and Indonesia in search of pleasure, prayer and the balance between the two.

The book is enchanting on many levels. I'm part-way through it and already have found things that have dramatically influenced my perspective of life and how I experience it. There is one statement regarding learning to live with loneliness that I read today that profoundly impacted me.

So be lonely, Liz. Learn your way around loneliness. Make a map of it. Sit with i, for once in your life. Welcome to the human experience. But never again use another person's body or emotions as a scratching post for your own unfulfilled yearnings.

I think the reason that this resonated with me is that I have felt the same. In the past, I have expected others to fulfill me. Relationships are my comfort zone. As I've said before on previous posts, I want a successful, life-long relationship.

However, I am learning that in order to have the relationship that I desire, I have to learn to stand on my own. I have to learn to experience loneliness and not run from it; but embrace it as a friend and allow it to stay or go without needing someone or something to pacify me or distract me in its presence.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Dykes and Dikes

I just finished the most enchanting book. It's called Lottery and is by Patricia Wood. It was inspired by her father winning the Washington State Lottery. Lottery tells the story of Perry, a developmentally disabled man who wins the lottery.

The characterization is precious and the story is engaging. I have not read a story in years that entertained me, challenged me and pleased me as this one did. From start to finish, it is a gem.

Why am I writing about a novel on this blog, though?

Midway through the book, I read something that made me laugh out loud. In it, a reporter comes to interview Perry and his friend, Keith.

I whisper to Keith, "A TV star. Cool."

Keith looks disappointed and whispers back, "A dyke, Per! Just my luck!"

A dike is both something to keep back water and a girl who likes other girls instead of boys. That is interesting, I think. A dam is strong and holds back water. Maybe that is why girls who like girls are called dikes. They must be strong.


Monday, May 12, 2008

The Uneasy Ceasefire

In the previous post, I wrote about being at peace with singleness....for now. It's more like an uneasy ceasefire. In my better times, I dream. I dream of what life can be. I dream of who I can be. I dream of sharing it all with a partner. I dream of perfection--not that either of us is perfect--but that the relationship we share fills and fulfills us. I dream.

And then in the darker times, I fear. I fear that I will never experience the life I dream of. I fear that I won't know the joy and love that I dream of. I fear that I will never be the person I know I can be. I fear that I will never share life with the partner I have dreamed of.

I want to live from my dreams. I want to let my fears slowly dissolve away and let the sun rise on my dreams and show me the life that I have imagined laid out before me. I dream and I fear. But more than both, I hope.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Solitary Confinement

The other evening, I was in the grocery store after work. As I roamed through the aisles, I saw several gay couples shopping together. And it just hit me--I want that. I was suddenly very aware of my singleness. Now I'm not complaining, because it is the choice I made for this time in my life. But I was still very acutely aware of the sense of "aloneness" at that moment.

But a neat thing happened almost as suddenly. The feeling of being single did not dissipate. It was still there, but I became aware of my control of the situation. I wanted to be in a relationship so badly. I realized how much I want a life-long committed relationship to be my life, and at the same time, I realized that now was not the right timing for me.

But I experienced hope in that moment. Hope for what the future can and will be. And that is exciting. It is encouraging because I've been doing alot of soul-searching recently. I've been thinking alot about what I want in my life and what I want my life to look like.

And I admit, part of me was afraid that I couldn't commit and that what I truly wanted, I could never be stable enough to have. But at the store, in that moment, I experienced a sense of peace that what I truly desire, I will one day have. Just not today. Someday I will be prepared to enter a fulfilling and healthy relationship. Until the time that I am ready and able to make that commitment, I remain in a sort of solitary confinement and dream for the day when I will walk out into freedom.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

The Deeper "Yes"

Decision making. How do you decide between two really good choices? Then after you decide, how do you say "no" to one and "yes" to the other?

This has always been difficult for me. I like variety. I am creative, and I enjoy the stimulation that different situations and people bring into my life. However, this has caused a tendency toward a lack of self-discipline. I have been known to kinda "jump around" from project to project. And I lack the self-confidence sometimes to stick with my decisions. I'm fearful, to be honest.

I read something today that really gave me some perspective. It was a quote from Matthew Kelly's book, The Rhythm of Life. In it, the author makes the following statement.

The only way to say no to anything is to have a deeper yes.

It takes alot of chutzpah, though, and guts too, to have the confidence in my own decision-making process and my own desires to be able to say "no" emphatically and effectively.

One of the keys is to know who to listen to. I am learning that I have lots of great friends that I can ask for advice, but I'm also learning who I can bring issues to in order to get a balance and focused opinion.

Another thing that I read in The Rhythm of Life is that "it is easy to share too much with the wrong person and too little with the right person." Knowing the difference is a skill that I am hoping to hone.

So the key for me really is found in the deeper yes. I think any dilemma in life can be clarified by asking "what is the deeper yes?" or "is this the deeper yes?"

Saturday, May 03, 2008

That Terrifying Truth

I was talking with a friend this week and I asked him how he was doing. He said that he was unable to relax. He expressed alot of anxiety or uncertainty. I can certainly identify. I think that we all can.

But as we were talking he used an adjective that I found interesting. Terrifying.

I have also become familiar with this word--specifically as it relates to living a life of authenticity and truthfulness. Why?

When you've lived so long--ten, twenty, thirty or more years--without ever being completely honest or when you've lived behind a maze of mirages and carefully constructed facades, then authenticity truly can be terrifying.

Intimacy--allowing yourself to be known--is scary. This is a challenge for all people, but it is an especially uncertain experience for those just experiencing it for the first time.

In the Fellowship of the Rings, the first movie of the trilogy, the hobbits are making their way on the journey when they suddenly stop. It hits them what a momentous task has been handed them. One of them makes a statement that has stuck with me.

He says, "when I take another step, it will be the furthest that I've ever gone."

Like any new experience, honesty is a process. Engage in it step by step. As you do, the old smoke and mirror illusions will collapse faster and faster. This is scary, but continue on. The rewards are well worth the loss--which is the true fallacy. There is no loss, only truth. It is just the sense of loss of a false self that terrifies us.

And then all of a sudden, on your journey, you'll realize, "when I take another step, it will be the furthest I've ever gone."