I am a Christian. I am a gay man. Here is chronicle of my symbolic journey west, toward adventure, challenge, mystery and ultimately peace.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Stairs


Funny how the smallest of life events can trigger fear. I fell down some stairs. Thankfully, it wasn't all the stairs in this picture. I fell down just two stairs--or was it three? Perhaps that was part of my problem to start with. That, and the left shoe and grocery bag at the bottom landing that I had previously been too lazy to clear.

I was left with two minor injuries: a bruised ego and a scraped toe which didn't even bleed. (I can hear my dad now, explaining that it shouldn't have been a big deal because I didn't draw blood.) The triggered fear, however, was far worse. Standing myself up at the landing, I gained composure, but then nearly lost it again crying. Suddenly I was reminded that I live alone, that my life is essentially about being alone and that I fell alone.

I myself was the proverbial tree in the forest--if the Journeyman falls down the stairs and no one is there to hear it, does he make a sound?

Would anyone know?

Or care?

I have a tremendous--possibly irrational--fear of growing old alone. This goes far beyond the desire for companionship. Instead it drives at the heart of wondering what will happen to me when I am too old to feed myself or manage my finances or whatever. The bottom of the stairs may be as good as it gets.

Most of me knows that God will continue to take care of me like he always has. Even so, the stair incident really scared me. Using the phone, I told one far-away friend about my fear, if only because he couldn't laugh directly in my face. I want to give God my fear, but that alone seems harder in practice than in word.

I am thankful for people who have told me I am not alone. I sure feel alone. My quiet home confirms it. I hope someday soon to remove the loneliness from the lives of other people. It is something I truly sense the Lord saying to be lately. What an honor and privilege it would be to remind someone else they are not alone.

5 comments:

KJ said...

I remember once, right after coming out, how concerned I was about the possibility of being alone the rest of my life. While at peace about the decisions that had led to that point, the "vacuum" of relationship was frightening. I did not fall down the stairs, but was crying while I was making the bed as the thoughts were goind through my mind.

Now, I'm not going to say I heard the voice of God, but as I cried, one thought overshadowed all the others. "Where were you?" Just as with Job, variations of that question kept going through my head: "Where were you when I knew you before you were even made? Where were you when I knew you before you knew yourself? Where were you when I knew your sexual orientation before you knew you even had one?"

And that brought me peace as I remembered, God knew. If what I knew about God was true, what was I worried about? Of course, that is easier to believe and remember on some days than others, but then that's part of the adventure, right?

Peace

Journeyman said...

KJ,

I really appreciate these comments you have left. There is a tremendous amount here for me to consider. Thank you!

Eric said...

Hi Journeyman,

Today, i'm feeling like i'm there at the bottom of the stairs. I didn't literally fall down (although, there was a huge hole in a step on the stairs leading to my apartment which the apartment mgr only finally patched up), but over the past few days, i've been feeling like sitting down there on that bottom step and crying.

I don't live alone. I have a room mate. I have a few close friends. I have lots of acquaintances. I even have good long distance friends. My family lives about an hour away and we all get along just fine.

And I am feeling completely alone.

(Sorry for the freeloading but sometimes it helps to comment on someone else's blog the things that i'm not ready to blog on my own blog - i'm not anonymous there!)

There are times when I'm walking down the street or crossing it and a thought crosses my mind, "If someone ran me over, I don't think i'd try to get out of the way." Or also "If I was attacked, I don't think i'd fight back."

I had both of those thoughts at two separate times last night.

I don't know, Journeyman. Sometimes, i get so tired of feeling absolutely lonely - even in a crowded room (which ironically, is typically a party that I'm hosting).

I don't want to die alone either. And it's not that I don't want to live. It's just that there's so much about the journey that is uncertain and unknown that I feel way in over my head.

Gosh, it felt so good to get that out of me. Your post here helped get it out of me. Thanks! Maybe I ought to blog it.

Either way, fellow Journeyman, I hear you. Take a look over there.....no, no, right there....past those trees....over to the left....about West from where you are now. Yeah, that's me. I'm in the forest too.

Eric

Peterson Toscano said...

I share your fear of growing old and being alone, if nothing else, for the practical concerns. Will my nephews care about their ancient drooling uncle? Will I grow old and no longer take proper care of myself and people on the street will suck their teeth when they see me and think "What a shame"?

These are real fears, archetypal fears. Thank you for sharing them and validating my own.

John said...

Thanks for posting what's been on my mind lately as well. I had a similiar experience about 2 weeks ago when I slipped in the tub and smacked my face on the toilet. It wasn't too serious other than a bruise on my cheek and my hip, but it was a reminder that if I had been hurt badly it would be awhile before anyone would come to my rescue. Needless to say I now have non-skid in the tub and though I prefer a cell phone to a land-line, phones on every level of the house. I wish I could say something profound to help you here Journeyman, but I'm still wrestling with this myself. All I can say is that I understand how you feel and try to keep the faith.