All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them.
Since I was little, I have felt a calling to go into ministry: to go to seminary and get ordained as a United Methodist minister. My dream was to show people how awesome I knew the church to be and that in being a part of such a community one could have support through all life’s most challenging and most glorious moments. A fact I felt I knew well. The church had given me a heart for music and service. The church had built me up when middle school bullies tore me down. The church gave me new friends when I moved in high school and the church even showed me love and support when I most recently came out as gay. An experience I know, sadly, many of my LGBT brethren fail to ever witness. However fortunate I may be, I quickly learned of the world’s hypocrisy. It claims to admire dreams but still seems to find great pleasure in crushing them unless we have the strength to fight.
However accepting my local church may have been about my realization that I liked men, in one fell swoop I felt I had just screwed my chances of having the future I always dreamed about. The world seemed to overwhelming say I could not be a gay pastor, I could not even be a gay Christian without admitting I was living a life of sin. I was hearing a loud “NO”… until I stopped to really listen to those that mattered. To listen to those many leaders, past and present, I greatly admired rather than the random bigots of cyber-space and proof-texting street preachers. It was in the words of friends and mentors that I finally found hope.
A good reverend friend of mine reminded me to always focus on what I had going for me, rather than what I lacked. Optimism over pessimism. I could not change my attraction but I could change my attitude about it. Authors Justin Lee and Matthew Vines in their books “Torn” and “God and the Gay Christian” helped me further reconcile the dueling aspects of my identity. Through their words and prayer I began to believe that I could indeed be a faithful homosexual, and probably didn’t even have to commit myself over to celibacy. When I reached out to an openly gay minister and friend of mine, asking him how he did it, he said he just persevered and focused on what he knew to be true. He peacefully protested by being the most authentic version of himself and working his hardest to overcome. He kindly reminded me of the words of Dr. King when he said “an unjust law is no law at all.” Plainly put, my friends told me I could be a pastor if God could work through me!
Martin Luther King Jr. was a man who heard a lot of “no’s” in his lifetime. No, you cannot vote. No, you cannot drink from this water fountain or take this seat. His dreams were also for a world of inclusion not exclusion, so he worked his hardest, and he too overcame. Some might have said a woman would never sit in a justice chair or senate seat or even have the opportunity to vote. Yet woman like Sandra Day O’Connor, Hattie Caraway, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony, and Lucy Stone sure proved them wrong. They inspire me because they persevered in the midst of “no’s” and they make me think my dream is still possible. Yes, it might take some more work to achieve, but then again that probably means it is just another good dream.
This world is going to tell you “no” a lot of the time, but you must have the courage to say yes! Yes, I can do this and I don’t care what you think! To quote Taylor Swift, “the haters gonna hate,” but I want you to know your dreams are always possible! Prove the world wrong! Go out and overcome!