Dips and Turns and Twists, Oh My!
From my apartment in Denver, my run south along the Platte River takes me past Twister II, the 10-story rollercoaster at Elitch Gardens. On summer afternoons I hear delighted screams as I jog along the busy South Platte Trail. I have not ridden on Twister II. I do not like rollercoasters. I live on one.
My life includes a daily dose of extremes. I preached this past weekend at Denver Community Church and received the warmest of welcomes. Later today, Colorado Public Radio will play portions of my DCC sermon on their Colorado Matters program. A few months ago the senior pastor and I were interviewed on CPR. They wanted to do a follow-up to the story. I am honored.
Since the Denver Post and New York Times articles were published last month, I have received a steady stream of encouraging cards, notes, emails and Facebook messages from all over the world. Unfortunately, thanks to the efforts of more than a dozen right wing media outlets, the same articles brought an equal number of attacks.
Shortly after the articles were published, the national convention of my former denomination took place. From the response I received, it was obvious a number of people had seen the articles. Some felt the need to write and offer variations on the theme, “Shame on you!” Others wrote to apologize for not having been in touch sooner.
A couple of weeks ago I received a scathing letter from a former co-worker, yet last week I was invited to dinner by another former co-worker who served at the same church. Back in January one old friend said he was going to come and see me, but I haven’t heard a peep from him in six months. On the other hand, another old friend just showed up unannounced at a church in Cincinnati where I was speaking. She had her grandson in tow.
As I said, my life is a rollercoaster. It is not unusual to be attacked by one person and encouraged by another, all within the same hour.
If you are transgender, America is a place of extremes. All too often it is the land of the brave, but it is not the land of the free. We are not free to use whatever restroom we like. We are not free to attend whatever church we desire. We are not free to keep our jobs and find good employment. We are not free to keep our evangelical friends. We are not free to live wherever we like.
Yet, I am free. I am free to be me. I am free to run along the South Platte Trail. I am free to spend time with some of the closest friends I have ever had. I am free to plant a church with co-workers I adore for their courage and faith and passion and honesty. I am free to serve with the leaders of Highlands Church who have brought me back from the brink of leaving the church for good. I am free to hug my children and grandchildren and former spouse who have warmly embraced me through their pain.
My high school classmate, Junior Huffman, always used to say, “Life is what you make of it.” I rode my bike for 2.5 hours today, and somehow ended up with a leak in the water bottle attached to my bike frame. By the time I stopped for a drink, almost half the water was gone. But you know what? What remained was more than enough to get me home.
And so it goes.
4 thoughts on “Dips and Turns and Twists, Oh My!”
I see all is good or good enough. I am happy for you. I told you once as my father said The Clock Goes around Once. Make sure you are happy
How well I remember Elitch Gardens from my many years in the Denver-Englewood-Golden-Commerce City area!!! I hated to leave that whole mountain area for flatland Indiana! 🙂
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I am part of your former “non-denominational” denomination, Paula. In fact, I do believe we met years ago when the Orchard group was helping to plant a church in the Tampa Bay area. I was a candidate for the worship pastor position. Even before that meeting, and ever since, I have held you in high regard. If only I could go running with you down the South Platte trail. You’d probably kick my butt. 🙂 Still, it would be such a joy and privilege to “do life” with someone who has the courage to live so authentically. I feel as though all of life is like that roller coaster,. The unrelenting twists and turns, thrills and chills, and ups and downs disorient me and, quite often, nearly defeat me. I’m glad you’re hanging on, through the painful times as well as the good, and delighting in rich and rewarding community along the way. Ever in Phoenix? It would be an honor to meet you again and share snapshots of the ride of our lives.
Thank you so much Adam. Actually, I do get to Phoenix fairly often. email me at the email address on the “about Paula” page and I can let you know when my next trip is.
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