Life …

Life! Sometimes it simply sucks itself right out of you. In a flash, a simple combination of words, conveyed in a short message, the kind of message we get in a text message, a Facebook comment, an e-mail; and all the breath that is your hope, your dreams, your purpose, it all evaporates. And I ask, “Why did that happen?” Why didn’t I see that coming? The reason we don’t … the reason I didn’t see that coming, was that it came from sources I would have never suspected. The worst part is that it must be born alone.

The words to Gilbert O’Sullivan’s “Alone again … Naturally!” come to mind. “… reality came around, and without so much as mere touch broke me into little pieces, leaving me to doubt, talk about God and His mercy, who if He really does exist, why did He desert me? In my hour of need, I truly am indeed, Alone again … Naturally!” The words are probably out of order but the feeling remains, and there are so many ways to describe it.

I’ve spent more hours alone than I care to remember; all nighters alone on a tractor going back and forth with nothing to do but think; late nights on lonely highways trying to get home before exhaustion gained the upper hand. The lonely nights haven’t all been on the road. I’ve lost count of the lonely nights at the office preparing proposals for clients. For years, the nights on the road and the office were usually spent with a bottle of liquor to dull the sense of loneliness.

Loneliness at this point in my life is different though. In years past there was always an end to the loneliness in sight. There was someone at the end of the loneliness to share the day’s successes … and especially the disappointments with. Those times didn’t always require conversation. As often as not, the simplicity of the touch of a hand did more than a book of words.

There were many times when being alone was welcomed. As you might suspect, those times were often times when the thoughts were not something other people would understand. They were times when the two halves of this soul were engaged in a tug-of-war over how to make this dual nature work in a way that satisfied both and the thought of another human being understanding what was going on was incomprehensible. All in all, loneliness has had certain advantages, but the disadvantages have begun to accumulate.

The years learning to live alone before I met Marilyn were tough, but there was an end to those. The five years it took to research, write and publish “Dear Mom and Dad” were spent mostly alone but I felt there was a purpose to it. Maybe there is a purpose to the current loneliness but I don’t see it yet.

I feel as though I’m probably just being a whiner, but I sense a huge change coming in my life and frankly it’s unnerving as all get out. One of the greatest parts, if not the greatest part, of my life is withering and it’s breaking my heart. I find myself complaining to just about anyone who’ll listen, but that’s not what I should be doing and I’m not certain what, if anything, I should do. I have for the last five years found in my church family a certain sense of security which has camouflaged the real need. The fact is that I miss the security of un-loneliness.

At times I want to scream at God so I do. “What did I do to deserve this? Are you ever going to forgive me for those years of ignoring you except when I was desperate? Why did you make me this way?” And in that last question is the real crux of the problem.

I realize that for a “tranny” (dual natured-tranny if you will) I’m extremely fortunate that God gave me a body and other characteristics that work quite well to make my life far more pleasant than many others in the same circumstance, but … Like so many others in the same situation I’m caught between the devil and the deep blue sea; be who I am and suffer the slings and arrows or be who the world thinks I should be and be miserable.

Straight people just simply don’t care for us all that much, most gay men are nice to us but don’t want to get too close and the lesbian community while far more accepting is, for the most part, just not interested in anymore than a hug, maybe a little kiss and conversation, but that’s it, because after all … we’re not the real McCoy. Pinocchio had it better. In the end he got to become what he longed to be … real. True, he had to go through the long nose bit, and the donkey’s ears and tail, but in the end those “unpleasant parts” vanished and he was accepted as … real, with a heart and soul.

And that’s the point … It shouldn’t matter what’s under my skirt and no one but my doctor knows for sure, and the one person who’s not going to care what’s there will know for sure, because it’s my heart and soul that count. Until that happens, I will suffer with bouts of temporary long nose, donkey’s ears and tail … loneliness … its part of life.

More thoughts on Faith?

The first thing remembered, when I reflect on my earliest memories of church, is not the message in any sermons. In fact, I have no memories of any message until I was in high school, and there are only two of those memories. One of them is not even so much about details of the message itself, but of Mom’s indignation toward the message. It was about the need for Christian sex education for the youth of the congregation. Her righteous ire was further exacerbated by the fact that it was her eldest child, me, who was asked to deliver the message in my portion of the Youth Sunday Sermon. The other message I remember, is the sermon by Mark Henry Miller and the title of his sermon, delivered on August 18th, 1963, “Walking on Water”. It was a message about faith. Forty-seven years later, after having abandoned even remote association with any church within two years of hearing that sermon, I discovered the church bulletin from the morning that sermon was delivered; the only bulletin ever saved from all those Sundays of sitting just five rows back from the front row and directly in front of the pulpit.

Mom saw to it that we were in church every single solitary Sunday, come rain or shine. No mailman was ever more dedicated to his appointed rounds than Mom was to the fifth row back on Sunday morning. As a result, you would think that at least some of the specifics in the messages would have would have stuck, but they didn’t; not then and if the truth were told, not now. The closest I can come to the memory of a message, other than those just mentioned, was a song we learned in vacation bible school one summer. It was, “Jesus loves me this I know, for the bible tells me so”. I remember wondering who the bible was. Was he like a preacher of some sort? Whatever it was that I thought, I know I had the distinct impression that The Bible was a person of authority, not an object.

What is remembered most are the persons who delivered those messages and the people those messages were intended for; not all the people of course, but many of the people. It doesn’t matter what point in time I recall, its people I remember, beginning with Dr. Jorn, the minister at the First Methodist Church in Okmulgee, Oklahoma. What my memory serves up of Dr. Jorn is of a tall, white haired, distinguished man in a black robe, peering down from above and in front of the congregation, keeping a close eye on his grandson and me seated on the very front pew.

I realize at this point in my life that the real message of all those sermons and Sunday school lessons was really about relationships; relationships with people and with God, and that maybe, just possibly, I did actually get the message after all. I don’t remember getting it, with the exception of Mark Miller’s sermon of August 18th 1963, but then I don’t remember learning to walk or talk either. I certainly don’t remeber any other discussions of faith, i.e. “trust”.

Sometimes when I stop long enough to consider the real implications of walking on water, that is, the level of faith required to overcome the very laws of nature which make walking on water impossible for mere human beings I think, “what’s the use of trying? I will never be able to manage that feat … ever!” But then again, maybe by exercising my faith muscle enough I will be able to accomplish other “impossible” things along the way. In other words maybe the unintended consequence of the effort might be of some real value.

In reality it’s quite like developing the muscles in my body, which I’m loathe to do at this age. After all, that requires exercise; a regular daily routine of sustained physical exertion of the muscles of the body in order to make them fit for performing great feats power. Unfortunately my periodic efforts at developing my faith muscle are about as consistent as my efforts to develop my body muscle.

Forget New Year’s resolutions … how about New Week resolutions or even New Day resolutions? In the course of creating and completing this bit of masterful insight I realized that it’s been a genuine self lecture, which is not what I intended. I set out to regale my readers on the requirements and characteristics of faith but what I’ve accomplished is to rattle my own cage, so to speak.

I have a friend whose ability to write is a constant inspiration. She told me once, and I paraphrase, that most of the time she was just thinking on paper; that it helped her deal with life and work out the knots, so to speak. Maybe that’s what I’ve done here; work out some of the knots in my faith muscle. I certainly hope so, because like so much of what I write it seems to have taken on a life of its own before I’ve finished.