Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Back in the Pool

Yesterday morning I went swimming for the first time in more than two months. My stomach problems had effectively sidelined me from most exercise, and I sat at my breakfast table struggling with my conflicting desire... to go? Or not to go?

Not to go was safer.

But I stood, and as I did, I recognized in myself the fact that the decision had been made. I went upstairs to pull a bathing suit from the drawer... one I'd bought because my others had all grown alarmingly large and unwearable (unless I REALLY wanted to turn some heads!). I put my new, smaller bathing suit on my sort of new, smaller body (not small... long way to go, yet). I pulled on a jeans skirt (one I've only been wearing about a month... it hadn't fit for... ever) and a purple t-shirt, put on sandals (which, really, are a part of my denial about the fall... it was about 57 degrees when I stepped outside), and drove to the pool.

There were a couple of glitches. I forgot the combination to my lock. Thankfully, I had anticipated such a likelihood, and kept the packaging in my gym bag. Check. Then, as I pulled on my swim cap, and carried my towel and goggles into the pool, I had a funny feeling I was forgetting something else. Once I pushed away from the edge for my first lap the missing item was obvious: my ear plugs. Check again.

I stretched and pulled. I breathed and counted. I swam 18 laps, not bad considering my hiatus... and I'm considerably lighter than the last time I swam, so it didn't feel labored in the least. And as always happens when I finally, finally return to the water... a quiet joy seeped through me. Ah. At last. Home.

I've been thinking a lot about why I needed to take a break from this blog. When I stopped I was feeling truly awful physically, and the Medicos have not yet solved the mystery of my digestive system. I have all sorts of expensive tests scheduled in a couple of weeks... the kind that require anesthesia and what is euphemistically referred to as "prep." I had days where I was literally too weak to get out of bed. (Not many, but a few.)

But there is another truth. I fear that, here in this place, I have made a promise I fear I won't be able to keep. Take the issue of coming out. I have set a goal out there of coming out to my congregation, in a year from.... when was it? Anyway, now it will be considerably less than a year... perhaps six months or less. And while in some ways I am measurably more "out there" here than I have ever been before, there is a part of me that is not sure I am ready. Happy ending postponed! Or something.

I know that coming out is no one's business but my own. Many dear friends and colleagues have encouraged me to remember that everyone has the right to change her mind! Thank God. But truly, coming out is the church's business, too. It is, I believe, for the long term health of the church to have a culture of openness rather than secrecy. The line between private and secret is, of course, complex... but that's a line I tread, daily.

I suspect it will be like diving into the pool. I will sit at my table, afraid. The safer thing would be to stay where I am. But there will probably be a moment when I have decided without even realizing that I was deciding. And I will purposefully go, and clothe myself in whatever garments I need, and I will dive into that delicious blue. I will stretch and pull, I will breathe and I will count.

And I will be home.

One of these days.


Jennifer said...

Oh, Cecilia--welcome back! How extraordinary to "hear" your voice. I had a similar digestive stretch, with equally expensive tests (ugh....), and in the end, the only explanation to be found was stress. I used to say that I wasn't keeping [taking] anyone's s**t anymore, so it was all coming out. BUT, too much information....know that what you are contemplating is earth-shattering, body-changing, and of life. We're with you, no matter the choices, direction or turns in your path. Know that you dive into the water with us there beside you!

Jan said...

Cecilia, so happy to see you back and with a NEW LOOK! (Easier to read for these old eyes.)

I am so impressed that you can swim 18 laps. Good for you.

Coming out is up to you (and Beloved); please don't feel any pressure from the blogging world. Take care.

Anonymous said...

Welcome back! Nice to hear from you again. Blessings on your journey and health issues.

FranIAm said...

Really glad to see you back here.

And the swimming... that is good C, really good.

As for the distress, not to be faraway blog diagnostician but I just had coffee with a friend who suffered for months with a similar mysterious malady. So many tests, so many problems.

It turned out to be some obscure stomach infection that he is being treated for now.

Who knows, just mentioning that if it has not been checked.

Prayers for you on your health and for opening closet doors, minds and hearts.

Catt. said...

YEA!!! Even though I am such a lurker, I must say HOORAY!!! No one but you can hear that voice inside you whispering (or yelling) to come out. Take your time. You will know when it is right. As always, I am thinking of you and praying for you.

Songbird said...

Glad you're back, and swimming, too!

KJ said...

When it's time, it will be the time, and you won't have to work at it (Which is not to say it's not an awful lot of work, if that makes any sense.).

Suzer said...

What needs to happen will happen in due course. You can, I hope, slow it down, if you need to.

Our organist/choirmaster had a bout of stomach issues last Christmas (what timing!), and they never did figure out what was wrong, but only muttered "perhaps diverticulitis" at him and walked away scratching their heads. I hope that your digestive issues will resolve themselves and that you'll be 100% again soon.

And, of course, sooooo glad to see you back. Diving into the blue sounds like a good idea. Maybe I'll try it someday, too. :)

Anonymous said...

One thing at a time.
Fix or improve gut first.
Then think about coming-out issues.

The "prep" is worse than the endoscopy, and the prep is mostly gaggingly awful-tasting, a gallon of artificially citrus-flavored "light salt" solution with a non-flavored fluid-drawing (hyperosmotic) substance. Quarts 1 through 3 were drinkable in between dashes to the loo - quart 4 took some discipline to down. But do it - the doc needs an "unobstructed" view.

TMI, I know. I had screening colonoscopy.


Barbara said...

The hiatus served you well. Isn't it wonderful to trust the Cecilia that you know in your heart and do what is best for her. The Spirit of God upholds us in ways that we cannot fathom. Just trust.

Anonymous said...

Cecilia...welcome back from someone who has so missed you and the insight you bring with your writings. You have never been far from my thoughts and always in my prayers. Whatever path you choose to take in timing your decision to come out, it is only your decision to make, and ultimately, only you can truly know what is best for you. I pray for your continued healing on all counts. Welcome back!

Saintly Ramblings said...

Welcome back - I may only observe from the edge the deliberations and concerns, but you have become part of my blog reading, and I missed you thoughts and reflections.

Take time, for everything - the pace is set by you and no one else.

And all shall be well ....

Kate said...

It is so good to hear from you again, and oh, I wish I had somewhere to go swimming!

I'll agree that coming out is your business and the church's as well -- so don't feel bad about not keeping to something you told us you'd do! What you need and what your church needs is far more important.

Also, *hugs*

Anonymous said...

It's all in your time. There is no pressure to come out b/c of the blog. Thanks for writing. I'm a new comment-er.

Tim said...

Hi, Cecilia. I found you on FranIAm's "Christians Who Think" list and clicked over--I confess--mostly out of curiosity of what exactly Fran meant by "If things go as we pray, the need for this blog will go away."

I get it now. I so admire your candor, courage, and generosity of spirit in sharing your life's dilemmas with us. As a gay believer who's also struggled with conflicts between my personal integrity and my responsibility to others, I can only tell you that when the moment comes to step out, you'll know it. Until then, I encourage you to rest in God's grace and know He'll sustain you.

Faith is a funny thing. It compels us to be concerned about doing what's right and then tells us not to worry with what we can't control. It consoles us without promising consolation. Yet, as I'm sure you know all too well, it works.

Stand tall in your faith. Listen to your heart. Move only when and where God's Spirit leads. And then watch Him do immeasurably more than you could ever ask or think!

You're in my prayers.


Jones said...

nice to see you back...keep the faith...peace.

Choralgirl said...

First--VERY glad to see you back!

Second--you Beloved and the Holy Spirit will do this in whatever is the right time.

Trust. Breathe. :-)