I treasure someone’s Coming Out. I know how hard it is and how life-changing it is and as a Christian, I see it as a deeply spiritual act. I see images of Jesus broken before a tomb, crying in a voice of delusional grief for Lazarus to just Come out! I see the blind man- Jesus rubs mud and spit on his eyes, and fails (remember this? What do you see? and then, I see people, Lord, but they look like trees!) And then Jesus has to take another crack at it before this desperate man can actually see. But I think Jesus did this on purpose… I think he wanted to teach the man how to really see the world, how to see people and see himself- adjust the optics out from distortion to grungy to crystal clear and perfect, from one degree of light to the next.
The heart of our stories is in the moments of transition from point A of Absolute Hell to point B of Grace and God. I love to write about what a blessing being gay is, but I only know this because I have climbed out of the great deep. I can only meet those that need my story by telling the whole hard thing, and that means speaking about the days I spent drowning and reaching and feeling nothing. Waiting an eternity for something I never thought would come.
True vulnerability is remembering the rough road that toughened up our feet. Sharing our stories of the seasons so bleak that we barely made it out. And then, our way back to wellness. To acceptance. To bravery and strength. These are the stitches that connect us to those with no one to stitch themselves to. Who feel utterly alone. Who need to know there is not an end to this, there is beginning. An emergence out of the tomb, fresh eyes to the world. A heart beating, finally.
Glennon Melton recently wrote about a poem taped to her computer and it talks about “dropping keys to rowdy prisoners” and that seems to fit here. These kind of keys cannot be dropped by those who have never felt the cold of the cell, the weight of shame and isolation; they cannot be given from someone who doesn’t own, doesn’t cherish, doesn’t share that slow emergence into the daylight of freedom.
Ellen Page is a key dropper.
When I watched Ellen Page’s speech, I cried big droppy tears. She told the full arc of her story, the pain, the struggle, the fear and though I do not know when she came out in her personal life, she doesn’t seem too far removed from it. She speaks shakily. Her feet shift and her hands are fiddling and you know the words were on the tip of her tongue.
And then she said it.
And she smiled in relief.
And happy tears fell down like keys.
Thank you, Ellen.
“When we honestly ask ourselves which person in our lives mean the most to us, we often find that it is those who, instead of giving advice, solutions, or cures, have chosen rather to share our pain and touch our wounds with a warm and tender hand.”
“I’m tired of hiding. And I’m tired of lying by omission. I suffered for years because I was scared to be out. My spirit suffered, my mental health suffered, and my relationships suffered. And I’m standing here today, with all of you, on the other side of that pain.”