Before 2014 gets underway…(a 2013 recap of sorts)

As 2013 comes to an end in a matter of hours, I’d like to recall my year…

It has been productive on many levels, the first being another good year in a job that I really love. I have always enjoyed working with others and helping out where I can, and I can honestly say that as much as this job is the most stressful, it is the most rewarding job I have ever had.
I had the privilege to represent my work in a state-wide conference pertaining to a health group that my agency and others run.

I also went on vacation this year! And not just a few days vacation, but 3 weeks off all at the same time! 🙂 I had some personal anxiety, I kind of felt like Sam Gamgee when he got to the point where he traveled the farthest from where he grew up.
I laid off the caffeine during these times as it only added to my anxiety, and when I collected my thoughts and feelings, as well as my camping equipment, I was on my way to Tennessee.
Tennessee was wonderful, but more to the point, the people I met were wonderful. (A shout out to Jimmy, my host my first night in Memphis.) It was also fun to spend time with some of my church peeps who relocated to Nashville, to take it easy and not rush life.

While I didn’t travel even further into TN because I wasn’t prepared for the weather (so much for this former Boy Scout BEing Prepared, eh?) so even though I came back sooner than I would’ve liked…I still had 1o days of vacation on my hands, and they were well spent.

***

There’s also the nature that I finally moved out of the parents house. Good fortune came my way in finding out about an opening in the townhouse my then coworker lives at. The price was right and I have been there and I enjoy my distance from my parents. I can’t say that at this point that it’s making our relationships with one another better, but I will say this, as much shit as my parents have given me they really can’t give it to me anymore; proximity works wonders, especially in unhealthy relationships.

***

While there have been issues surrounding 2013, some big and some small, I still think I come up way ahead. I’m looking forward to another year of living and whatever it entails I hope I’m ready for it to the best of my abilities. I have some goals and aspirations for 2014 (not so much resolutions, but in the same vein) for my life, and they’ll be incorporated in community and with family and friends.

So long 2013, see ya soon 2014! 🙂

~Nathanael~

Recap of the Chicago Pride Parade/I’m Sorry Campaign 2013

This past Sunday marked the 4th time I was involved with the I’m Sorry Campaign and engaged in tangibly coming forward in a posture of I’m Sorry for the way the Christian community has treated the LGBT community.

***

For starters, I got there late, oy do I hate being late. Weaving through the crowds from Wellington to the IHOP off of Halstead took 1.5 hours! It was during my time getting to our spot that that I found out that a bunch of I’m Sorry Campaigners went to where there were protesters, but the ministry of the I’m Sorry Campaign proceeded in both locations (I will write more about this later).

It was during the parade I asked several individuals about what they were sorry about. Some of the responses were about the stereotypes they had drawn up at one time about individuals of the LGBT Community, some of it was expressions of being sorry for the way some Christians treated individuals of the LGBT Community, and some of it was just their opportunity to be fully come out for themselves and some were there in support of their daughter (I love L*’s parents!)

Another blessing of the day was that one of my fellow PFLAGers was out there too! I met some of his family who he already shared with them what the I’m Sorry Campaign was all about. It is a blessing to see people I care for and love with those they also care for and love, it’s one of my favorite parts of aiding to perfect shalom.

It was only after the parade that people were asking me what I was sorry about, and for me I’m truly sorry for the way Christians have treated the LGBT Community inasmuch to say that God doesn’t love them, whether by directly communicating that or by living a life that makes God out to be a heteronormative diety…God’s not, he’s much bigger than labels we affix to him.
I think the one definitive moment of talking to some lesbians and gay men about what I’m sorry about when I was congratulated by a lesbian who said; “I’m an atheist, but thank God for what you’re doing!” Thanks be to God for moments like these, where the person who doesn’t believe in God’s existence gives thanks to God…amazing, truly amazing.

***

I’m glad to have gone, and sadly my mother was going to join me for the I’m Sorry Campaign but got lost in the crowds (found her though! :-)) yet as I’ve heard her perspective she had a good time in her own right and 2 gay men helped her have a good time and they truly took care of my mother in a Christlike way, yay for the kindness of strangers.

In addition to going to Chicago Pride this year it is my intention to go to Memphis Pride; I’ve got some vacation time and I want to use it, and I love Tennesee, and the LGBT Community…why not? 🙂

I will end my recap in this. Love wins, and love covers a multitude of sins. When we love as Christ loved us, when we posture ourselves into making ourselves servants instead of leaders, taking time to BE with others, God is with us no matter where we might be. I can’t say I’ve gotten out of my comfort zone inasmuch as I have expanded my comfort zone. By loving and taking time to BE and listen and talk and share the love of Christ any shred of timidity I might have goes out the window. God truly gives me clarity to seek out after those whose stories need to be heard, I want to be a vessel for God’s kingdom and glory to be and to love.

~Nathanael~