The water heater broke once more last week, water everywhere, much drama. I was able to fix it myself, thank goodness. As a result, the basement has been torn up for a several days. I’ve got it about half way put back. Through the process, I decided to use the opportunity to purge. One of the things I’m getting rid of is shelf after shelf after shelf of old college/grad school text books. Most of them look brand new. I’ve almost gotten rid of them before, but I hate to get rid of books, and they represent thousands and thousands of dollars that I had to pay. Some of the books were nearly two-hundred dollars a piece. Such a racket. However, I’m using a fifth of my storage space in the house to keep these books I barely read when I was in school. Why hold on to them now? The ARC will soon have its own college campus library—full of youth ministry instruction and special education theory.
In addition to college text books, I also came across all the books I had to read during my five years of sexual-orientation reassignment therapy. Most books were published by Focus on the Family and their ilk. There were also a couple workbooks that I had to process through. Those brought back the most memories. I hated doing those. I’ve always hated homework. However, I took them seriously, those and the instruction books. Reading my own words about my acting out behaviors (which were rather funny, all the things small, nearly innocent things) I was so, so guilty about, other parts about all the guilt, so much pain and self-loathing. All from a genuine place. All those wasted years, all that wasted money. It’s like reading about a white man trying to therapy himself into a different race. Not that all the years and money were wasted. I worked through lots of other issues besides trying to be straight. I’m truly thankful to God for not answering that prayer, although the damage done by his ‘followers’ spouting his ‘teachings’ is a different story. I did learn how to look and think critically, how to begin to grow a backbone, how to become a man. Funny, all the things that were supposed to happen when I was straight, brought me to being stronger in my identity and pride as a gay man, giving me a strength I wouldn’t have had before. Talk about learning and grown despite ourselves.
Those books, the ones who were teaching me that I was less than God made me to be, the ones that wanted to destroy God’s child and morph him into their own ‘god’s child,’ will not be given away. Those will be looked at once more, a reminder of where I have been, battles that have been fought, prayers that have been prayed, countless tears that have been shed, a moment of respect for the journey I have been through and the costs that have been paid, and then they will be destroyed—an act of vengeance upon words that cut at my soul, lies that were spoken into my heart, an act of cleansing out deceit and hate. One less copy of each in existence that could poison another as they search for God in this world.
Father, thank you for showing me your love for me, despite my own intent to believe the hate others showed and spoke in your name.
Black Coffee Tables
2 years ago