Moving On

Moving On

I have written so many posts this week. Parts of each might eventually find their way onto my blog, but none in its entirety. This is what remains.  It has not come easily. I had a dream the night before I first began therapy many years ago. I dreamed I was in a hospital bed, giving birth. There were a few faceless people around, but mostly I was alone. The pain was great. The dream has stayed with me for 30 years, more like a memory than a dream, really. Writing this post has felt like that dream.

Last week, after the election, I traveled to Newark to speak to the Gender East Conference, a gathering of transgender children, their families and caregivers. I spoke on Friday to physicians, therapists and clergy.  Saturday was for families.  On the way to my Saturday morning workshop I peeked through an open door into a large room of hundreds of children, playing with abandon. These were normal boys and girls who just happen to be transgender.

I entered the venue for my workshop and was greeted by the anxious parents of those love-drenched children. Their eyes were brimming with tears. Anxiety was etched on their White, African-American and Asian faces. I was in tears before I began. These caring parents had been blindsided by the gender identity of their children. Four days earlier they had been blindsided again by an electoral majority that made a decision that puts the lives of those same children at risk. The images of both rooms will be etched on my mind for the remainder of my days.

From Tuesday evening through Friday morning I was frightened for my own life. The rejection and prejudice I have experienced all came back to me.  But Saturday morning I got out of my box of self-pity and entered the world of the truly wounded, people without the resources available to me. Since then I cannot focus on any bigger picture. All I can see are those frightened parents and their precious children.  Of course, they are the bigger picture.

I am frightened for our nation. I do not understand the decision of the 81 percent of Evangelicals who voted for Donald Trump so they could protect the lives of unborn children, while ignoring the dreadfully real needs of children who have already been born.

How could this have happened? Was it the right-wing social media and its conspiracy theories? Was it the refusal of the left to see those rural White Americans who have been left behind? Was it the millions who didn’t care enough to vote? Was it the lack of charisma of a qualified candidate? I am sure all those were factors. The historians will some day sort it out, maybe as they write the epitaph for what was once a great nation. I hope that is not the case, but I am no longer confident about America’s future.

For me, the needs are more urgent. I am part of a vibrant congregation, Highlands Church, and a dynamic network of churches that are angry and potent. Today I cast the full force of my being behind those churches and the changes they will bring. I leave behind my evangelical life, because I cannot bear the weight of the irrational fears, hateful rhetoric and lack of compassion exhibited by many within the tribe.

I know many of you, my dear evangelical readers, have kept the door cracked open as you try to understand my transition. I am grateful for your efforts. But there is too much healing to be brought to the broken-hearted for me to stick around on the fringes of a world that, as time goes on, feels more and more foreign to me. There is too much love that needs to be spread over the lost and rejected, too much anger that must be channeled into the kind of change that will bring hope to the precious souls I met in New Jersey.

I wanted to stand in the gap between evangelicals and progressive evangelicals. I realize now that gap is too wide for even my long legs. I’ve tried, but I believe it is time to focus my energy elsewhere. There is work to be done. The coming night will be long, cold and dark. But I am confident we can move all the way through to dawn if we will trust love, pursue justice, act with mercy and walk humbly with God.

And so it goes.