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.