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Gift of Life

She and I had just enough room to sit and talk. We were in the nook of the stairway of the coffee shop, the spot where the stairs go up mid-level and then switchback-like the trails I hiked back home in Oregon during the summer. A few days ago, she emailed me about some research and needed some friends’ influence for her social work, and ironically, sharing my story excites the once fearful child inside me. She pressed the record button on her iPhone, and our conversation rolled.

“When did you first know?”

“Why did you decide to come out?”

“What has changed since then?”

These were fundamental questions which, to my surprise, rarely come my direction, causing the answers I spouted out to be insufficient. Consequently, our conversation neared an end, but she made one last request, “So tell me about the most recent date you’ve been on…” the interest and eagerness in her voice booming.

“Well, I haven’t really been on a date,” I responded, “… but here’s the closest thing I’ve had…” She stops the recording, and I began describing my day with that I-definitely-wouldn’t-hate-bringing-you-home-to-momma-Lewis-but-let’s-be-real-I-have-no-idea-what’s-going-on friend, who strikes my fancy just a little too much.

“Do you like him?” she playfully interrupts.

Pausing, “I think so…” I said reluctantly, fearful of the truth I was admitting to her yet more importantly myself.

She peered into the chapters of my life – both past and present – that passed like a freight train blowing through a railroad crossing, leaving one oblivious as to what was just seen. The barriers go up, and we cross the tracks to continue down the road.

Her questions brought me back to that train, where I noticed that the blur of a passing train was composed of countless carts with different colors and signs of graffiti, along with that one with the transient sleeping in that open door.

Moreover, the most important change since coming out became evident moments after our conversation: the newfound affirmation that never existed in my life. My life is my life. What shame do I have for my life and all the authentic beauty that accompanies it?

Up until a few months ago, I rummaged around for someone that I believed could bear the weight of my story, and to muffle my actual story, I filled conversations with heavy words dancing around spirituality – never giving my old friendships justice. I turned our moments together into a test of having them prove themselves worthy in my eyes. We deem individuals unworthy by holding onto presuppositions based upon the few who treated us poorly.

Girls, not all guys are the same.

Gays, not all Christians are the same.

Friends, not all people are the same.

Truthfully, most people aren’t like those few who made us think otherwise. While the words and actions of the few are crippling, the general community understands your uniqueness with some of the best gifts to offer, questions and listening ears.

Our lives, whole lives, are like that brook – as the Creator inspired from the beginning – in enriching relationship with the creation, with the Creator, and with one another. If we continue to withhold the areas of our lives where God’s grace is necessary, how can we be a testament to God’s grace? The words of our lives are those waters that which sink deep into the soil and give life and beauty to the forest around us. Friends, each life is a gift of life to the other. Share It.

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