Sometimes I think it’s a good thing we don’t know the trajectory our lives are going to take. If we did, we might not be open to following where we sense God calling us!
My life has certainly taken some twists and turns I never expected when I was younger. They have brought me new friendships, new challenges, and a spiritual journey that I might have run screaming from if I had known it was coming.
While I grew up “churched” and very active (since my father was a full-time minister), in some ways it never seeped down into my bones. Attending church was expected. Behaving “properly” was expected. But what did it really all mean in my interactions with other people?
At one point in my life, I felt a calling to take training in hospital chaplaincy. To understand how crazy that was, I don’t like hospitals…I don’t like blood…I don’t like needles. And yet the call was there. I ultimately took two semesters in an inner city hospital, where I began to see how important it is to be present with people. In times of crisis, what people need is to know that someone cares, that someone can represent the love of God to them.
I also became active in community theatre—because I was a good pianist and could play for many of the musicals. Obviously that meant becoming involved with yet another community, because many of the actors were members of the LGBTQ+ communities—and because many of them had been hurt by “church.” I found myself sometimes walking with them, being friends…simply being present.
Then my youngest brother came out. He called to tell me—and I found out later than he had braced himself for the possible loss of family relationships. That didn’t even occur to me; after all, he was my brother!
But out of that experience, I began to become more involved with GALA, trying to understand more about this community that my brother and so many of my friends were part of. That need expanded when my husband finally had the courage to tell me that he is bisexual.
Wow! There was a lot of learning to do!
As our family became more involved in the GALA community, I found myself taking on more responsibilities—the website and the newsletters. As I pulled together the information to be shared, I realized again the great need there is for people to “walk with” others, to let them know that they are of worth, to be “God with flesh on” for them.
I have not experienced the kind of pain that so many in the LGBTQ+ communities have, and for that I am deeply grateful. But I have gone through my own dark night, and during that time I grew to appreciate, from a different perspective, the care and friendship of those who did not judge but who were simply present.
And now I find myself taking an unexpected turn on the path. I had been sensing that it was time to leave the GALA board to move on to something else, but I wasn’t sure what that something else was. Then I saw the invitation to the new cohort for the spiritual companioning program sponsored by Community of Christ. I applied—and was accepted.
I don’t know yet where this part of my journey will take me. But what I do know is that this call to be a spiritual companion is a call to an incredibly important ministry in this time when so many wonder about God’s love for them.
All I can say is “Yes, God loves you! You are a person of worth, of great value.” Each and every one of you.