At the moment, and for the last 30 minutes or so, I’ve been overwhelmed by emotions. I’ve laughed, cried and felt so full with Love and Light, I could burst. It’s been a challenging few days. Work is busy and I stumbled into bed on Friday night painful and exhausted, just sure I’d have to lay low all weekend to regroup. I prayed as the night wound to a close that I was grateful for the energy I do have. Living this new life of positivity is so much better than being cynical and expecting defeat. We’ve had another rash of challenges with our teenager about being dishonest about homework, not completing work, blah blah blah. It’s frustrating for him and us and it’s only 5 days until his next therapy appointment where we can talk as a family and get some ideas. In the meantime, we have dialed back some privileges and I’m supervising the homework. While I’m supervising the homework, I’ve cruised FB to keep myself entertained.
Over the past few weeks, I’ve seen the same event post from my dear friend, Leo, show up on my news feed. Leo is one of the truest, most genuine people I have ever known. We’ve known each other a long time. If I recall correctly, my mom encouraged to get to know Leo. (At that time, Leo was living as a woman, following the gender of his body parts, rather than his own identity.) I remember being 19 and very isolated from many of my friends because I was pregnant with Preston. This did not stop Leo from getting close to me. Leo has ALWAYS championed the cause of the lost, lonely and down-trodden. Before we knew if Preston was a boy or girl, we decided rather than call my unborn baby, it, we called the baby, Peabo. This still cracks me up. Unfortunately, many of the other people in my church community were unable to see past the pregnant teenager and see a lonely young woman who needed support. My family did a great job of rallying around me, and my mom has let me know that every unmarried, pregnant young woman who came after me, has been outwardly loved and supported. I’m sure it was the trail my parents would have chosen for me to blaze, but I was strong enough to do it and it was part of my journey. Leo has remained part of the church I attended as a young person and they have done an amazing job of accepting his transition from female to male. I am SO proud of the whole church. My parents still worship there. These two people that taught me to love anyone, no matter what, walk that walk, literally. When some people reach the age of 70, they begin to slow down. Not my mom and dad. One of the photos of my parents that evoke the most emotion from me, is the one that shows them walking in the Portland Pride Event, with Leo and other church members. To be able to show THAT photo to my bisexual teenage son and remind him that those are HIS grandparents, made me so proud of them. There may be some things growing up that they did that I didn’t like, but their teaching me to love everyone, prepared me for Preston’s coming out. I can’t even put into words how much it meant to me that Leo was still part of Preston’s village after all of these years. I couldn’t ask for a better role model for him. To Love God and share that Love is an incredible thing to be known for. Despite only seeing each other at church when I’ve gone home for major holidays, we’ve not seen each other, except for our connections FB. Today, Leo posted an AMAZING picture of him, radiating joy and love, at the Portland Pride Event. He also shared the Event Invite for a special service at my old church in Beaverton, tomorrow night. It is a service that outwardly acknowledges and welcomes, all members of the LGBT community. I’ve seen the invite before but just couldn’t figure out how I would make it work to drive 400 miles roundtrip and likely not be home before 12:30 am, before needing to work that day. However, this time, when I saw the invite I was struck with the feeling that I couldn’t NOT go. I was overwhelmed with KNOWING we were meant to be there. So, tomorrow, Preston and I will go back to the church where he was baptized, and worship and celebrate with old and new faces.
We even plan to be there early to sing in the pick up choir. I’ve watched the song we are going to sing, “For All The Children,” on a YouTube video, several times today. I’ve cried every single time. My favorite part of this song written by David Lohman are these lyrics; “Oh, we pray for all the young lives cut short by fear and shame, so afraid of who they are and whom they love. May the message now be banished that Your love in for the few, may their faith in You, renew.”
I don’t know how to get through to Preston about homework and lying and all that crap. I do know how to show up for him, and stand beside him and share God’s Love and Light with him. Tomorrow night it will be in one of those familiar pews, in a place from my past, with people who share the joy of the hope with a future together, hand in hand in hand in hand and hand.
My favorite Bible verse in this “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, ” plans to prosper and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11.
With love and more love, Rebecca