As a member of our parish’s Sharing the Blessing Ministry, I am invited to tell of a conversation I had a few months back.
The context is a recent addition that frequently appears in literature and conversation about the designation “LGBTQ”. For some time LGBT has stood for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender. The “Q” stands for “Questioning”, a recognition that many, especially young people, are not sure about their developing sexuality.
As one who grew up in an earlier generation, and in a pretty straight-laced culture, I confess that raising such questions, and defining such categories, has seemed pretty strange, and I wouldn’t be surprised if some who read this share such bewilderment!
Anyway, it relates to a conversation I had last November with an elderly priest of our church. Sue and I attended an alumnae/i occasion at our seminary in New York City. Sue walked ahead while I waited for the elevator, and to her surprise I emerged in deep conversation with this gentleman, of the Class of 1953, who seemed to have appeared from nowhere. He was telling of his ministry, which has been quite varied, and much in motion, over better than 60 years. He has served 54 parishes!
He drew me instantly into his “circle,” and before I knew it, he was telling of a conversation he recently had with a young man, not known to him, who was in despair because he could not “find” himself in the emerging gay man he seemed to be. He was struggling particularly with his friends and family, and with himself.
Suddenly a phrase leapt into our dialogue: he said to the young man, “DON’T YOU DARE let anyone take away from you the beautiful person that you are, and don’t deny the gift God has given you, and don’t deprive us of that gift that is you!”
DON’T YOU DARE … like a leap of faith! Like an angel delivering God’s plan (Gabriel to Mary, or Joseph?) he said it, and was gone, onto another elevator!
Sue and I just looked at each other. What just happened? Questioning is good… another blessing shared!
– Bruce Lederhouse