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

Monday, December 31, 2007

A Year That is NEW

New Years may just be my favorite holiday, perhaps because it is among the most frivolous. New Years marks an arbitrary passage of one year into the next, and that’s about it. A change in the calendar. A lengthy day of college football. An attempt to remember to sign checks with the right date. (But does anyone really use checks anymore?) Anyone who uses a calendar—and I think that is just about everyone—participates. It’s an “all play.” We all get a fresh start.

Last year, I happened to be walking around my town on New Years Eve. There were people everywhere, impeccably dressed to the nines, ready to party and dance. I guess I had no idea so many drop-dead gorgeous people went out in expensive clothes clubbing all night for New Years. My New Years had tended to involve cocktail weenies from a crock-pot, some Pepsi in a plastic cup and a few friends watching Dick Clark--and now Ryan Seacrest--drop the ball in New York.

Three years ago, I spent New Years alone. I honestly just sat in my tiny apartment and watched the ball on my little TV, not wanting to face anything or anybody. As 2004 ended, I was really coming aware of being gay. I felt so alone, so flawed, so toxic that I did not want to see or do anyone. I still stayed up ‘til midnight; I saw 2005 come in on 13 inches of TV, alone, laying a borrowed couch. And even in my extreme sorrow and depression, I found hope in a New Year, a new set of days which hopefully meant something good.

There is something really hopeful about New Years. It gives everyone the opportunity to close out a less-than-ideal year and start in on a new one. No one gets exempted from New Years, though it seems each person has his or her own way to observe this passage of time. For some, there’s a great celebration of the wonderful things that happened in 2007 and keep building.

For someone else, there is the chance to start over. When the calendar flips from 12/31 to 1/1, we are back at the beginning. There will be another January 1 and another January 2. There will be a new February 1 and April 13 and July 29 and November 11 and December 25. There is something very fresh and new and even unknown.

So I toast you all, fellow journeyers. Happy New Year.

(Oh yeah, and if anyone needs to get me a late Christmas present, here’s an idea…)

Saturday, December 22, 2007

A Merry Little Christmas

Here comes Christmas 2007, and I just might survive it this year.

Christmas—and the entire holiday season for that matter—drives me up a wall every year. First off, the weather starts to deteriorate. I realize this is not Christmas’s fault, but I dislike the cooler weather that comes with the season. Second, the days get shorter and shorter. I go to work in the dark; I come home in the dark. It’s depressing, and I mean that quite literally. Although today, the 22nd of December, is one of my most hopeful days of the year because the light pendulum finally starts swinging toward longer days beginning today.

This year, I became completely baffled by how some Christian organizations deal with Christmas. I guess there’s a war on Christmas, and Christians across the country are now called to defend Christmas. Huh? I missed the part of the Bible where the followers of Christ were instructed to defend days. I am no expert here, and I’m too lazy to look it up, but didn’t Christians essentially hi-jack a winter solstice festival and attach the birth of Jesus to it? Shouldn’t the folks whose more earthy holiday got overrun be boycotting or protesting the Christians for taking it away?

Even more strange to me, there is supposedly some connection between a business using the word Christmas in its advertising and whether Christians should shop there. What’s with assigning public pressure or praise on retailers like Kohl’s or Lowe’s or Old Navy for the presence or absence of the word Christmas in the Sunday sale flyer? I do not care if Target uses the words Christmas or holiday or anything else. I do care if Bath & Body Works is selling great-smelling candles at a discount or if I can find a great deal on fleeces. Otherwise, not so much. The spiritual health of my community or country or even the individual citizens therein should not rest on how a department store advertises. AND IF IT DOES…then things are worse than I had thought. And now this week, now that Christmas is very much here, the same people who want to see Christmas advertising now say that we’ve let Christmas get too materialistic. But you just spent the last month demanding that Christmas be materialistic.

If anything, I would love to see all the stores advertise holiday sales rather than Christmas events. That would allow me and my Christian brothers and sisters to reclaim the Christmas moment to remember a very humble beginning of the mystery of God becoming a fragile person. I dislike how a small baby born to an unlikely virgin in a Middle Eastern barn has become attached to a multi-month-long marathon of stress, shopping and overeating. Give me a Christmas of small wonder and peaceful moments and leave the commercialization of the season be a holiday.

It is in the quiet between all the parties and food and gifts and shopping and crock pots and parades and candy canes where I find God. I find him saying, “Journeyman, in your quiet, you honor me. I know you are down. I know you struggle to keep up with the season, and you get confused by all the crazyness of this time of year. I know you hurt because you have unanswered questions and being with family and friends is really hard, even moreso now. But I am here. I came.”

Each time I hear this song, I stop and listen. I am reminded that even if my Christmas doesn’t look like anyone else’s, even if it is little or gay or merry troubled or light or golden or muddled, it still is Christmas. He came.

My friends, please...Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Still Here

"Hey Everyone," the writer said, wondering if anyone was really left now that he has virtually abandoned his own blog.

I'm still around. Thankfully, I have made a couple steps forward. I have also been churning some ideas lately for some new blog posts, which I hope will materialize soon.

In any case, stay well folks, and treat yourself well.