Thursday, December 31, 2015
Queer Christmas Day Seven
Here, as we begin the second half of Christmastide, we're met with the changing of the calendar.
How are you doing with your New Year's resolutions?
Honestly, I don't put much stock in making them, myself. It's a bit of a joke---no one expects anyone to keep them. No one seems to really expect anyone to lose weight, watch less television, eat more vegetables, clean the bathtub . . .
But there is the pull of a new year, it seems to me. At least on me. I want to have something to say about the turning of the year, the fresh start it supposedly presents. I find myself wanting to claim some agency in how the next year will go. Foolishness or determination? (Not that these are mutually exclusive categories . . . )
Earlier today, I went to my oldest journals to see what I might have resolved in years past. I only made it as far a January 1, 1986. (30 years ago!) In one sense, it was disheartening just how little I've changed in 3 decades. There were things in that entry that I could say today (although I'm a better writer with a more subtle understanding of God's place in such things---I cringe at the piety in my earliest journals). I can, and a little bit do, read this entry as a sign of just how little progress I've made in a lifetime.
On the other hand, it's a reminder that there are some core hopes and dreams in my being that remain to this day.
I hesitate to get too specific too publicly. It quickly gets personal. It also can appear naive and easily ridiculed. To me honest, reading that 30 year old journal has left me feeling a little tender and I'm not quite ready to be open and vulnerable about it. (Anyone who knows me or has even noticed my blogs wouldn't me surprised.)
That journal entry was also written about 10 years before I reconciled my faith and sexuality. There are real ways that coming out derailed some of those hopes and dreams. There are ways that, had I been straight or resolved to remain closeted, I wouldn't have set those dreams aside for a time. (There are also ways that redirecting those desires also strengthened my skills---so the God's work of redemption is present even in the derailment.)
Here, in the middle of Christmastide, I'm left to think about the ways I am, myself, certain things incarnate. There are longings that go to the marrow of my bones. They are not completely unfulfilled, either, but they still stir. I have more to do.
I don't know how it is for you. Some of you may be nodding your head along with these words. Some of you may have no earthly idea what I'm on about.
Here are resolutions, however, that I believe will always hold true, will always need repeating, will always be met with failure and will always be worth picking up at any time.
I resolve to be more open, more loving, more gentle, in the imitation of who I understand Christ to be.
I resolve to open my eyes wider, to see and experience the Image of God in the people I meet. Yes, even those people doing those things.
I resolve to be more courageous, to do the difficult thing. (Being gay remains a barrier. Sometimes, so does being a Christian. Somehow, I need to make this be less so.)
I resolve to set more specific goals and follow better priorities.
These all tie in neatly, of course, with the unspoken specifics. It's what I have today.
So long, 2015. Come along, 2016.