Anonymous 1’s Story

. . . As I read what I’ve written, my life sounds grim and my outlook bleak. But know that my life has been very good; indeed, I’ve lived richly. .  .When I see one of my paintings on display or read parts of the novel I’ve written I even amaze myself at times. I’ve been very blessed. I love life!

I was born onto a Nebraska sand hills cattle ranch—a fifth generation descendant from pioneers—into a close family of great grandparents and all the way to fifth cousins. I was the oldest of nineteen grandchildren in our immediate family and the rest were stair steps down from me—the last being eighteen years younger. . . I am very thankful for the time, place, and the salt of the earth people I was born into which were mainly of Irish, German, and Welch extraction.

Yet very early I knew I was different from the others. As adolescents will, my cousins, friends, and I experimented. But when the time came, they put it away and I didn’t. Although I had heard the word ‘queer,’ bandied about from fifth grade on, I had never heard the word, ‘homosexual,’ until I was a sophomore; or ‘gay,’ used in that sense until I was in college. I knew I was all of that though, just as I knew the word ‘queer’ applied to me in fifth grade. And I was surprised to learn I wasn’t the only one in the world because I had never met another. I thought of myself as some unique perverse freak.

But I knew what I was just as a boy knows he’s a boy and a girl knows she is a girl. I thought maybe I’d out grow it when the time came to marry and that worried me. As a friend I enjoyed the girl with whom I went steady for two years in high school until she became more insistent and we broke up. Various college dates were disasters too and I just wanted to spend my life in a desert lime shack I’d seen in a movie. There I could live with a couple of sun bleached cats and a flea-bitten dog and not ever have to deal with the opposite sex. The girl I thought about marrying in my early career has become a life-long friend; but the thought of having sex with any of them was repulsive. Even the act of kissing was a trial.

So the thought I might all of a sudden change and start caring for women sexually scared me because I wanted to stay the same even if it meant the Nevada desert. Liking women in that way just wasn’t me. At the same time I thought, ~this is me—the pervert; and I’ve chosen a career that involves working closely with young men. No one must ever find out. And so I turned off physically and I hid for forty years.

 

Abby’s Story https://wordpress.com/post/lovejudgenot.wordpress.com/606

Anonymous 1’s Story

Coming out and Signs of Hope in Our Lives

My story of Sacred Worth is about my JOURNEY of COMING OUT by becoming a Reconciling United Methodist in 1996. It was just before General Conference in 1996. Nancy McMurtry, a good friend, asked me to sign a card saying I would be a “Reconciling United Methodist” and I decided to sign it realizing it was time for me to “come out” as an ally. I had no idea where this JOURNEY would take me at that time but I knew it was a commitment to COME OUT as an ally and to COME OUT personally to be more visible as a person supporting persons of all sexual orientations and gender identities. I also knew I would have a lot to learn along the way with many challenges and struggles as most journeys are!

I knew what “coming out” meant as I had come out to myself about being sexually abused as a child in the years just ahead of this. I have come to realize that this very simple task of signing this card, (or signing on at the new website http://www.Rmnetwork.org) became the starting point for me to mentally & spiritually take the risk to start this journey of listening to other stories and being more aware of those around me who were searching for any SIGN OF HOPE in our churches and

communities to be SAFE.

Through the past eleven years I have become more aware of how important small SIGNS OF HOPE are to all of us and especially to folks who are looking for any shred of HOPE in our churches.  Once when my husband was called to a home to meet with an older couple in the church he had no idea what they were wanting to share. He arrived to find them wanting to share about the HOPE they had found in a simple church newsletter article about an upcoming Telling Our Stories” program planned by RUMOLA at Cornerstone in Lincoln. They had used a yellow marker to HIGHLIGHT it in the church newsletter. Then they told him about their daughter and her partner and how they wanted to come to this gathering. This simple newsletter article became a way of sharing a SIGN OF HOPE for them and in return they gave all of us a SIGN OF HOPE back when they came to this gathering!

Another time recently a mother emailed us to tell us how glad she was we had a Reconciling Community in our church as one of her children had just come out to them over the holidays. She was so relieved to know there was an OPEN HEARTS group in the church so she could come and find strength for this new journey. She had read about it in our church newsletter as her SIGN OF HOPE!

Newsletter articles don’t seem very important but another person came to our last meeting from another town because of seeing an article about our meeting in a local church newsletter. So these simple SIGNS OF HOPE are so important as we have many people looking for anyway to feel accepted and affirmed by the church. Parents, families and friends in our local churches are looking for people they can trust and safely talk to about having children who are gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender.

When I think of all the SIGNS OF HOPE in my life through new experiences, new friends, & new faith understandings about sexuality that have GRACED my life through signing this card eleven years ago, I rejoice in all the ways spring is COMING OUT now in our lives; and I think of all the ways we need to show SIGNS OF HOPE to each other through our church newsletters, our conversations, our rainbows, our groups, our emails, and our new ways of making our churches SAFE to ALL persons!

We can keep COMING OUT like spring, like newsletter articles, like sharing our STORIES OF SACRED WORTh, like the rainbow, like Jesus CAME OUT with his message of LOVE to those around him who were marginalized and shared his compassion with all persons! Signs of HOPE!

Maureen Vetter, Grand Island, NE

PS:- I rejoice every time I come out to myself or someone else comes out to me-

 

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Coming out and Signs of Hope in Our Lives

Foreword to Stories of Sacred Worth

Stories of Sacred Worth

Foreword

By Phyllis Burrows

I am very proud to have been chosen to put this book together.  I am straight but I do have a story that explains why I care so much for all diverse people, especially the gays and lesbians that we lovingly accept in our church family.

When I was about eight years old, we had a neighbor who was a woman, but she always had her hair cut like a man’s and wore men’s suits and ties, etc.  She was a really nice person, but I couldn’t understand why she dressed as she did.  One day I asked my mother if she knew the answer.

Mama took me into the living room and had me sit down on the sofa.  She told me she wanted me to listen carefully to what she said, and to remember it all my life.

She told me that Jeanette was a very nice woman, but she was different in some ways.  She explained that she was attracted to women just as Mama was attracted to my father who was a man.  She said that was a God Given attraction, and that there were also men who were attracted to men, and that they were living as they were supposed to live.  She told me to continue to like Jeanette, and to respect her and anyone else I would meet whose life was the same.

That was a very long time ago, but I have remembered my mother’s kind words regarding our neighbor, and have always respected any GLBTs I have met.  FUMC is a truly outstanding church family, and I am proud to be a member.  This booklet is a tribute to everyone who has the courage to live their God-Given Attraction.

 

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Foreword to Stories of Sacred Worth