My nephew was born on Fat Tuesday. I hope that when he is a young man I am still around to remind him of that. And I hope that I still remember that.
Not having been raised a catholic or ever having lived in the south before I have never been very aware of the significance of these days. For me Mardi Gras was something that happened way down in New Orleans. Seemed like a nice parade but that was about it.
But as a LBG (Late Breaking Gay) these two days have taken on a lot of significance. These are the days of loss and renewed life, of a life of self that gets redeemed. It still seems backwards to me – all that decadence on Tuesday and all that repentance on Wednesday. But yet it is the sense of death and the assurance of rebirth associated with the start of lent that really touches my heart.
When I came out it was with the full knowledge that it would cost me everything. My old life was going to be gone and I had no idea what, if any, kind of life I would have afterwards. But my old life was dead so I had no choice.
The world loves a good come back story: Phoenix rising, Chicago burning and the destruction of New Orleans by Katrina, Rocky. We want the underdog to come back and win. It is the story of the butterfly emerging from the cocoon.
Like so many other LBG (Late Breaking Gay) men, I had married, settled in the burbs and raised the kids. All along I had denied, even buried my own desires. But the day came when the math no longer made any sense. I was giving more than I was giving and if I stayed on that hetro road I would loose myself completely. I had to escape. At first I tried to hide it but I am not that kind of person. I could not lie.
I could be gay, but I could not lie any more.
All he lights went out - life stopped - no breathing - no pulse.
And then something miraculous happened.
I was reborn as a gay man.
And even more miraculous than that was that there was more than just life on the other side.
There was love.
The last line of the pastor’s Ash Wednesday sermon was a redo of the traditional “You are dust and to dust you will return.” She said “You are loved and to love you will return.”
As a LBG (Late Breaking Gay) I get that. Oh yea, I get that!.
Yes – I am a butterfly – now that’s gay!