Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Chapter 10: Freak

Jesus answered them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick
--From the Gospel of Luke

Chapter 10: Freak

The next morning I woke up bleary eyed. I threw on a polo, a pair of khakis and made my way to my Bible Exposition Class. I couldn’t help but connecting to the internet and downloading my email—multi-tasking keeps me awake. I received a message from Don. I smirked to myself when I looked at the time stamp.

Tue 11/13/2007 12:55 AM
Chris, thanks for a lively evening. Nothing like sharing coffee with a schizophrenic homeless guy and two relatively cool Christians and a clean/sober drug addict, gay ex-hustler (who is old enough to be your father). What the hell? It was cool and surreal. I hope the generalized, more sterile answers to your inquiries don’t stop you from sharing yours beliefs, I enjoyed the group. The amount of people was unnerving just as the Tuesday night group is. I’m not comfortable with the crowd and to be honest it’s scary to feel alone or like a freak.
That’s kind of how I felt tonight, talking with “ya’ll.” You had prayed for an opening to the gay community, and here I am. How obvious is that?  My life irritated you, if you want to be around us you need to be able to accept where we come from. It may be graphic, but I cut out all intimate information. I’ve listened to straight guys be graphic all my life I don’t back away and go, “Ewwww stop.” You still both grimaced.
 I knew I was not one of you, I knew whatever I said I could NEVER FIT IN. All I have ever wanted was acceptance. I won’t get graphic, but there are some things in my life that are not vanilla, most of my life isn’t vanilla and it would shock most regular gay guys so am I a freak? I don’t know. I never intended to bring up my sexuality, I never thought it was a motive in my quest, I still don’t, but now that the Pandora’s box has been opened—I can’t close the lid.
I will still maintain my privacy until you can handle more info, I’ll answer any question honestly, but I didn’t know how to share my experiences in a way that wouldn’t make you think I was a freak, I don’t know if I want to be a freak. I just want to watch and learn from you guys about how your life is working. You have sex issues—everyone does. It’s no big deal. I realize you never met anyone like me, but I am not special within my peers. I never want to say things just for the shock value—although I definitely could.
 My past is just that—a past. It’s what made me the person I am today. I think, to know someone, you need to understand the road they took to arrive where they are. I’m willing to know as much of your life as you are comfortable with, I ask only the same of you. I WAS AMUSED/DISMAYED THAT YOU HARD CORE MILITARY TYPES, WOULD BE SQUEMISH ABOUT TWO GUYS HAVING SEX.  I respect you. I would like to earn your respect.

For a moment I was worried someone in class might see that I had an email from a gay man talking about having sex, but all listened to the professor, played solitaire, or a combination of both. I contemplated my next move with Don. He showed interest, and I wondered if I could push him toward the Gospel—hard. I smiled at that. God was working in Don’s life and there was no escape for Don. A part of me felt sorry for Don as I realized all that was about to change and the emotional strain God might have in store for him. Another part of me tingled with excitement about another front row seat into the mystery that is the Lord changing lives.
I wrote Don back briefly and told him I wanted to talk and that I would definitely see him tonight for the final James Bible Study at Fellowship Church. I then tried to focus on Dr. Bramer for the remainder of the lesson. In between classes I walked outside as a breeze blew red, yellow, and brown leaves into a small whirlwind around me. I called Don.
“This is Don.”
“Don, this is Chris.”
“Well, great to hear from you. I received your email.”
“Great, what did you think?”
“I don’t know that I am a route to my gay brothers. Chris, I won’t put them in emotional danger. You have no idea what we have endured at the hands of you Christians over the years. But if I begin to trust you, I’ll be comfortable with you and that would make you a friend—I don’t mind introducing a friend to other friends—but not a preacher.”
“That’s fair, Don. I just want to be your friend.”
“Well, I’ll be honest, I did feel like the circus freak show after I left. It was too much. I haven’t been in a vulnerable setting in decades—probably should be more often.”
“Yeah, me too.”
“I was in the hot seat. But you didn’t know that, I mean, how could you? The only familiar things there last night were the knives and fork, dishes, and the building. Both of your backgrounds, goals, and conversation—it was all foreign. Although, that homeless guy may have been familiar to you, not personally, just the type.”
“Don, last night was definitely different. You’ve got to remember, I have never met anyone like you with your history. I mean most guys I know talk about how we want wives and kids and to make it. Sn’M doesn’t even factor into conversation,” I said.
“You’ll be a good family man, Chris, one day soon,” Don said and paused. “You reacted differently to my talk of sex. I’ve listened to straight guy’s big tit talk, and various other things. I just accepted them as normal, but when I brought up sex with men, you both freaked.”
“Don, that’s slightly different. But I’ll be frank and candid with you. It’s only fair I guess. Is it normal in the gay community to just start talking about sex like that?”
“I admit my life isn’t normal, even within the gay community. Sn’M scares a lot of people. I’m pretty mellowed to it all after being around 30 years. There’s not much I haven’t participated in. Voyeurism has always bored me.”
“I need to participate,” Don reiterated.
“Well, I think God has something he wants you to participate in. I think he wants your soul and whatever God wants, he gets. I don’t think it is a coincidence that you want to talk to Christians all of a sudden. I think God is wooing you somehow. And once God starts working in your life, He is kind of like a freight train that can’t be stopped. He is going to get a hold of you.”
Don laughed out loud. “You think that I may become like one of you?”
“It’s possible, God can do anything.”
“Oh ****! Chris that’s funny. That I might become one of you and start telling people about Jesus! That my friend—will never happen. I will never be as assertive as you. But then who the hell could be?”
“Then why all the God talk?”
“I’m not saying I can’t change or I wouldn’t be taking your time and mine with this quest. But there is one thing I do know; I will never be spiritually obnoxious. It will always be a private matter.”
“Am I spiritually obnoxious?”
“Well you did have to use a wheelbarrow to bring in that huge family bible of yours into Starbucks.”
“It’s not that big, Don.”
“Bull****. That was the biggest Bible I’ve ever seen. It might as well have been a stretch hummer. You are a crazy Christian. I’ve talked with you. I like you. I’m okay being myself around you. But you are so off the wall, I can’t describe you.”
“Dammit, you’re overwhelming and overbearing, generous and friendly and a good communicator. You have integrity, at least so far. You listen and watch and your enthusiasm for life is infectious. I see an insecurity about something, but your cockiness is covering something.”
“Oh yeah, what’s that?” I said smiling into the phone.
“I’m not an archeologist, you can do your own digging, but you are real, and I enjoy that. But I will say there is something about you that drives me stark raving mad.”
“Um, thanks.”
“Hey Chris, I need to get back to the shop, I look forward to seeing you tonight. I thought I was more a sadist than a masochist, but I guess it all equals out in the end.”
“Okay Don, I look forward to seeing you too.”
We hung up the phone and I realized that I had walked half a block down the street totally engaged in the conversation. I looked at my watch and realized I only had a minute before I had to be seated in class for Dr. Hoehner’s Romans’ lecture.

That night during the James class, I wondered if McGregor might get upset at the two kids that wouldn’t shut up and were disruptive. I started to write notes to Don so that he wouldn’t whisper in my ear his questions.
Don scribbled on a piece of paper, All this class is, is just treating people right, why do I need a God for that?
I wrote back, Then why are you here?
Don scratched back, **** if I know.
I then wrote, Don, I want to tell you to run away from this place as fast as you can. You have your happy little life in the gay ghetto where everything runs like clockwork and everything is peaceful. You can avoid us Christians pretty easily except for the weirdos who scream at you and tell you that you are going to hell on Saturday nights. Sorry about that by the way, my brothers in Christ mean well, they just suck at communicating—anyway God has got you. There is nothing you can do. He is like a freight train and you either get on board or get run over. There really is no other choice. He has chosen you.
I knew when I wrote that I was on the verge of speaking for God and may have been a bit heretical. But as someone who really believes that once God reveals himself to you, your only decision is to follow him, and seeing the evidence of God in his life, I knew it to be only a matter of time, before Don came to the striking realization that everything he knew was about to change. I wondered if Don knew that to, as the note he passed back to me was written in extremely large letters.
* * * *  Y O U !
It was almost poetic.

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