Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Lent Day 31: A Jonah Psalm

Here are the opening lines of this morning's psalm (69):

Save me, O God, for the waters have come up to my neck.

I sink in deep mire, where there is no foothold; I have come into deep waters, and the flood sweeps over me.

Sounding for all the world like the psalm Jonah wails from the belly of the great fish, no? But the following verses stopped me in my tracks:

More in number than the hairs of my head are those who hate me without cause; many are those who would destroy me, my enemies who accuse me falsely. What I did not steal must I now restore?

O God, you know my folly; the wrongs I have done are not hidden from you.

Do not let those who hope in you be put to shame because of me, O Lord God of hosts; do not let those who seek you be dishonored because of me, O God of Israel.

That last part... do not let others be pout to shame because of me... that hits me pretty much right where I'm living today. Most days I'm able to put aside my severe anxiety of how the congregation is going to respond (react) to my coming out (it's under two months now, about six weeks away). There are days when I sincerely believe the love they have for me is unconditional, that they will simply say, "You are our pastor. Period."

Then I read a psalm like this, and very real fear surfaces. People may well feel ashamed. They may well feel dishonored by my presence in their midst. I can only hope that will be a passing thing.

I have friends, of course, who point out that the need to be closeted, or the perceived need, is a direct result of a culture that is all to ready to perpetrate violence on us... whether spiritual or physical. (See John Shuck's excellent piece on this, linking to Michael Adee's piece on the Defense of Marriage Act). I know that. I understand that. But I feel that I will be called to account for hiding my true self from them. It is a betrayal they may have a hard time forgiving.

That's where the psalm led me this morning.

7 comments:

August said...

(((hugs)))
I know this is so hard.

Sophia said...

OMG! You have a tentative date--how incredibly exciting (easy for the bystander to say, of course).

The fear makes complete sense too and must be so painful. I will start to pray for that week (letter first, then sermon, if I recall correctly) and can focus that to your specific intentions/desires if you share what those are.

(((Cecilia))).

Choralgirl said...

Hi, dear--have you seen this?

http://writersalmanac.publicradio.org/index.php?date=2008/06/05

Just me said...

Do not let others be put to shame because of me... that hits me pretty much right where I'm living today. Most days I'm able to put aside my severe anxiety ...but very real fear surfaces. People may well feel ashamed. They may well feel dishonored by my presence in their midst. I can only hope that will be a passing thing... But I feel that I will be called to account for hiding my true self from them. It is a betrayal they may have a hard time forgiving. This spoke to me so much today - My girlfriend has or is very close to breaking up with me because of the fear of the consequences to her children and the fear of telling them about herself. It is hard - on one hand I believe you should be who you are and teach your children by example to accept people and be honest - but the school yard is a hard place for the child of any parent who is different let alone - gay. But pastors children get a certain amount of ridicule - does that mean their parent should not enter the ministry????
If you weren't a pastor and had found love with another woman sooner, would you have been open with your children about it? I just feel that if it wasn't for the lesbians who have stood up and been counted not hidden in a closet, the hope for the rest of us to ever be honest about ourselves would be a lifetime away. What say you?

Cecilia said...

Just Me, my children do know about my relationship with Beloved. I did not tell them right away (because my daughter was a little young-- a pre-teen, and also because telling them meant enlisting them in a secret). They've both known for at least three years, and they are incredibly supportive, especially now of my plan to come out (see post of February 26, An Acceptable Time).

One of the reasons I feel I can risk this is the support of my children as well as Beloved, and all my friends. I feel that, together with my conviction that God is with me in this, those relationships are the ground of my day to day life. If those are ok, I can take anything that happens.

Pax, C.

LittleMary said...

hi love. all those nasty voices, are just so nasty. ugh. make friends with them and send them on their way. love you tons.

Sara said...

I can't imagine...
Prayers, hugs and courage.

If not for women/men who take the risk of being honest, what future does my daughter have?

Sam
(I have a split personality these days!)