When I entered the little house on the edge of the boonies three years and 10 months ago, I was still relatively conservative (spiritually, politically and otherwise). I was the Executive Vice President of Exodus and trying desperately to help figure out a way, with Alan’s direction, of course, to redefine and cast a new vision for the “world’s largest ex-gay ministry” or set a course for shutting it down.
From 2013 to now has been the most tumultuous season of my adult life. Many highs and quite a few deep lows. Today, it feels like a rebooted life. Completely different…transformed and free. While moving forward into the unknown, it doesn’t feel strange or cumbersome. As I drove away from this house for the last time, it felt as if a mountain fell off my shoulders and a fresh wind is empowering the journey forward.
This house has seen a lot of pain.
Here my prayers were answered and the resulting meditations helped make a case for and eventually shutting down Exodus. This house has seen many tears during the implosion, infighting, public criticism (from all sides), and betrayals at Exodus. This is also where I came to the humbling (almost humiliating) realization that I had also caused others pain and hurt during that time as well.
This house saw deep mourning as I continued to grieve Michael’s suicide shortly before I moved in here. It is here I experienced another type of relational death in that I got some shaming texts from an elder at a church I attended (copying my friends at the church) that pushed me over the edge to leave. After 23 years of attending church every Sunday I could, 10 of them at my last church, I have only visited a few services a handful of times over the past year and a half (my choice).
During my time here, after Exodus closing and my coming back out, I lost almost all of my long-time friends. There are a few that survived (thank goodness, love them!) but not many.
Even though there has been a lot of pain, don’t want to elaborate and recreate a full “bitterness” list (no one needs that), it was all part of blinders being ripped off and the death of an idealized false authenticity. In other words, it was a healing pain (or turned for good and productive pain) and not wounding pain left to fester.
This house has seen a lot of love.
In two weeks I will have been “out” as a gay man for two years. It is here I fell in love with another man and had my first passionate “moment(s)” with him in over 20 years. It is where my current love interest and I tease each other and watched “The Crown” on Netflix together. He also helped me move out of this house and has been a great support and incredibly loving.
It’s here that my war on Big Ass Spiders gained social media traction :). It’s in this cute little house on the edge of the boonies where I baked my first Whiskey Chocolate Pecan Pies and painted my first large paintings. It is here that I gave names to a cast of characters like Hubert the Handsome Humble Hybrid, Arnie and Annie the Armadillos, Joe the Tortoise, Henrietta the Hangry Hawk. Danger Kitty (various feral cats) that prowls through the yard three times a day to protect us from Zombies and Sasquatches (raccoons). Also, the day I “came out” publicly, I saw a pair of bald eagles so vividly and clearly… beautiful moment.
It is in this little house on the edge of the boonies where I have begun a new career as an Online Content Creator and Social Media Consultant; embraced that I am truly a “creative” writer and artist. It’s also where I have made many new friends locally and around the world. Yay, Interwebs and social media!
It is in this house I found my own voice, vision, and passion that will not adapt/modify for someone else’s purpose.
This is where I have had many, many, moments of laughter and fun conversations about life, about and with God, friendship, love, and joy. So many life-giving and beautiful moments.
Ready, Set, Launch!
This house has heard bitter tears as well as laughing so hard I got dizzy… more than a few times! This house was the safe place where freeing epiphanies came to reveal that, of course, God would never forsake us. This was also a season of deeper revelations about grace toward others in times of conflict; not being derailed by the “should be” and staying focused and gracious toward “what is.” We are united in His Spirit, always have been, always will be.
I came into this house talking about freedom a lot. Now that I am leaving this house, I am actually, truly, free. My pursuit of freedom hasn’t changed, finally living this deeper understanding of it is.
I came into this house at the top of my “game.” I am leaving this house realizing that life isn’t a game. That life cannot be lived in a false authenticity and a false idealization. Real life is only worth living in love; to love and be loved by God, to love and be loved by others.
No more games. Eyes, mind, and heart open.
Coming into this house, I was a caterpillar; leaving a butterfly. Came in as a Mourning Dove; leaving as an Eagle. But, obviously, I am still into over-the-top metaphors!
I wept while thinking of all the “moments” and changes that have happened in this little house on the edge of the boonies. Now, the tears are done. My wings are unfurling as I launch off into the future…