Do you know what you were doing 10 years ago today? Ten years ago I was caring for my one year old son and was a few weeks away from delivering my daughter. I was exhausted and isolated and not particularly aware of world events. But I do remember hearing about Matthew Shepherd. I do remember grieving for the horrific pain this young man endured and aching for his family. Thank you to BTB for respectfully reminding us of the grievous injustices that glbtq people have endured through the remembrance of Matthew Shepherd’s story.
Ten years ago as I wept for Matthew and his family I had no idea that I would be called to a particular focus and engagement with gay and lesbian people.
Ten years ago I had no idea of the ways my heart and mind would be challenged and stretched as I took on the assignment of seeking to identify with and advocate for gay people. I didn’t know what it would be like to seek to listen to every sermon, read every book and article, filter every conversation in the Christian sub-culture in which I live, through the eyes of my brothers and sisters who experience same-gender attraction.
What an assignment it has been. All my comfort zones trashed. All my pat answers shredded. All my competencies tested.
And it is a good thing. A hard thing. But a good thing.
As I prepare to celebrate Thanksgiving with my family – my son now eleven years old, my daughter excited to celebrate her tenth birthday soon, and my ‘baby’ already making birthday lists for when she turns 8 – I am again humbled and grateful to be called to seek to build bridges. There is much brokenness, injustice and pain in our world, as the story of Matthew Shepherd reminds us. And yet …..
“I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. The creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed. For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God. We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what he already has? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.” Romans 8: 18 – 25
Blessed Thanksgiving friends …… may we all grow in learning to wait patiently.