Celebrate Pride Month
Devotion by Bonnie Marsh
Several decades ago, during an innocent and naïve passage in my life, my best friend at the time asked to meet in private for several hours. She needed to share something deeply important. I agreed, and we went for a long remote walk. It took her over an hour to finally bring forward the source of her anxiety and turmoil, but before she did, she repeatedly impressed that if I were to tell anyone the information she was to reveal, she would deny it, and our friendship would be over. I couldn’t imagine what my VERY BEST FRIEND could possibly need to tell me. “I love you”, she finally said. “Well, I love you, too”, I said to her, without hesitation but with some puzzlement. Why was it so hard for her to say that to me?
As our walk and conversation progressed, I realized I had gravely misunderstood her proclamation. She was gay and felt she was in love with me.
Fear, anxiety and disbelief welled up as the ramifications of what this meant to me and our friendship began to race through my mind. Our close friendship ended that day because I chose to close that door.
It took a few years before I began to think of that encounter from her point-of-view rather than my own. The turmoil, anxiety, repression and fear that she lived with must have been crippling. She mustered extreme courage, came out into the sun, revealed herself to me, yet found herself compressed on all sides and put back in the shadows by my rejection. How selfish of me.
I have since reconciled with my friend. She is happily married to a wonderful partner, and she has forgiven me.
Author James Baldwin once wrote, “Any real change implies the breakup of the world as one has always known it, the loss of all that gave one an identity, the end of safety.” It seems as a child of God, it can feel scary and even painful to expose part of ourselves we have hidden from friends, family and community. It can feel that way for LGBTQ+, and it can feel that way as we break down the judgmental stereotypes we assign before opening our eyes to the beauty and diversity God created in each of us.
But let us keep breaking down those barriers and opening our eyes! I am reminded of this passage: "For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light." Ephesians 5:8
June is Pride Month, a time celebrate LGBTQ+ authenticity. We all are children of God and can walk in the light together.