I am closing the book on what was close to the most important year of my life.
Others have been important, of course. The year I was born. The year I married my husband. The years in which my children were born. The year I was ordained, which was also the year my husband fell in love with the woman he will marry next year.
The year I began my relationship with Beloved.
But the year of coming out has been an extraordinary one. Glancing back through this blog, it is clear that an enormous amount of emotional and physical and spiritual energy was invested in the entire process, from the first inkling, to the decision (a very short time... days, really) to the act itself.
I am still coming out. I am coming out, most of all, to myself.
What does it mean to be open and transparent about my sexual identity as a lesbian in ministry? Hell, what would it mean to do the same as a straight woman? One thing it means is that there is no longer any space for any kind of pretense that I am a completely asexual being, like an angel, or an amoeba. It takes me out of the safe "don't ask, don't tell" zone, and places me, instead, in a place where:
~ I can learn about the truth of the lives of my parishioners and their families.
~ I can mention my Beloved without having to make up some story or scenario to account for the time I spend with her or commit to her.
~ I can preach without fear that my words will rebound upon me (when speaking of matters such as honesty or forgiveness). Well, that's not true. Every word I preaches rebounds on me, if I am honest. I preach no sermon that I personally don't need to hear. In fact, if I am thinking of a certain person when I write (as in, "Oh, I hope so-and-so takes this one to heart!") I can be sure, sure, sure, it's more pertinent to me than to him or her. I guess what I mean is that I don't have to fear "discovery" followed by accusation. I guess I just don't have to fear, period.
It's a strangely elated feeling. I am so, so grateful for the path God put me on this past year. I am so, so thrilled to not be hiding my life from my congregation any longer, and for the love and support of every single person who said "You can do this! We'll be right here beside you." Or, in the words of one colleague, "You jumped off a cliff. I'd like to jump with you."
Thank you for jumping with me. Wishing each of you a blessed and peaceful New Year, and the kind of good company I've enjoyed on the long fall back to earth.