During high school and college, I believed that the only purpose in life was to spread the good news of Jesus Christ. I believed I could heal the world by converting others to Christianity.
I stopped being (that) religious gradually over time, so it's hard to say when I stopped believing that I had a divine mission to preach the gospel. The past few years, I've learned a lot about the pain and suffering in the world, and what the many marginalized people groups face particularly in the United States.
You'd think that would've started when I came out as bisexual, but not really. It really started when I posted a stupid, racist opinion on the Internet and received more grace than I deserved from black people trying to educate me. I had felt so much white guilt up until that point, I was trying to justify it, and I learned that there are more important things than me trying to explain away my own racism.
As I learned more about the oppression that black people face, I also learned that I was facing micro-aggressions and oppression myself as a member of the LGBT community. I really started to think that wait a second, this isn't fair. It's not fair for a lot of people. But when I tried talking about it, I was angry. Combative. I never made any progress with anyone. Weirdly enough, it wasn't nearly as easy as trying to talk to people about Jesus.
I'm still angry, I still pick too many battles that I usually lose. But I've now reached a point where I feel like I did when I had a "divine mission." I feel like there is something I'm meant to be doing, but it's hard to pinpoint exactly what. Fifty years from now, I don't want the next generation to ask me, "Where were you, what were you doing when Nazis took over?" (I of course hope it doesn't actually come to that, but the fear I've felt for others over the past few days is crippling.)
Yesterday, I was sitting in the third pew at church crocheting when my pastor walked in wearing his Black Lives Matter t-shirt, and I called him over and asked him to sit down. I asked him what it is I can be doing, what I should be doing. The first, simplest answer he gave me was to do what he thinks I'm best at: write.
So I'm going to write. I don't know if I'll create an entirely different website, but for now I'll be posting here. I will try not to be combative, to demonstrate a gentleness that I am still learning and working on every damn day.
If you would like to contribute to the conversation, or if you have something you'd like to share anonymously, questions, comments you'd like posted here, you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.