From May 24 – 27th we will be holding our Ontario Generous Space Retreat at Trent University. This year’s theme will be: friendship. Human beings are hard-wired for relationship and to long for deep connection and intimacy. When we experience true friendship we are grateful. When friends wound us the pain goes very deep.
In the months leading up to the retreat, we will be featuring reflections on friendship from those within the Generous Space community. For our first installment, I’m so grateful to Sarah Speer for her brave and vulnerable poem.
I came out of the closet only to step onto a battlefield,
Hadn’t braced myself for the leather-bound weapon some friends would yield.
Thought we loved each other and that would be enough,
Then bullets disguised as “buts” made everything a little more rough.
“We love you, we care about you…BUT we don’t agree,”
With what? My lifestyle, my sexuality, who I am, me?
The battle wounds hurt worse because they came from trusted friends,
Friends who thought the pursuit of biblical truth was more important than a willingness to bend.
Is my personhood not enough for them to consider something new?
These are the questions I asked myself as my rainbow lost its hues.
Started to tiptoe around others to avoid stepping on mines,
Any mention of my sexuality might put me behind enemy lines.
So I was out, but shame still threatened to keep me in,
As people grew more and more concerned with pointing out my sin.
Told me I had no place in the pews, that I didn’t belong,
Tired from the fight, I didn’t have the strength to believe they were wrong.
I came out, I was free, thought I would feel relieved,
Didn’t realize I’d have so many relationships to be grieved.
My faith shrunk in size and my safe zone did too,
Constantly clad in armour to stop their good-intentioned bullets from going through.
Instead of a friend I became an issue, something to be worked out,
The love I once felt from some I now began to doubt.
On the battlefield I did find allies, it took a while but there were a few,
People whose hearts and homes are welcoming for me and my queerness too.
Spaces to express myself, where I could start to find my voice,
Where friendship and freedom weren’t mutually exclusive, I didn’t have to make that choice.
For these havens I am grateful, there is nothing better than to feel affirmed,
But sometimes I still feel like something’s missing, still something that I yearn.
I continue to find myself splitting my friends into two,
Those who support my faith but talking about my crush just wouldn’t do.
And those who would wave a flag but with whom I wouldn’t pray,
I just want someone who understands I’m a Christian…AND I’m gay.
These things are intricately overlapped, I cannot tease them apart,
Every time I feel like I must, it’s another bullet to my heart.
So I stand on the battlefield as casualties continue to fall,
Waiting for a brave friend who just might join me at the intersection of it all.