It’s finally time for me to come out! I admit and take ownership. No longer will I be embarrassed by who I am.
Am I gay? Nope. Though, I do have many good friends who are gay.
Have I left the Mormon church? Nope. Yes, I do have many good friends who have made the choice to leave.
How often have friends regaled with their exotic exploits. Marathons & mountain climbing, fishing & flying, travel & triathlons, biking & backpacking, golf & guns. Some hobbies are pursued with wealth. But, mine was always pursued in stealth.
Here Goes . . .
For the past several years, I’ve taken ballroom dance lessons. It’s challenging, fun and a great diversion. I love the music and the movement. Frustration, when I don’t understand and can’t get it. Exhilaration, when comprehension and competence finally come. Last year, I entered my first dance competition. Kind of scary. Dancing in approximately 60 entries, I was a bit overwhelmed. Waltz, foxtrot, Viennese waltz, quickstep and tango. Emotions all over the place. From, embarrassment, I’m going to quit, I hate my teacher . . to . . electrifying thrill! A level of euphoria that I have not felt since my teenage years.
Last Saturday was competition #2. This time, my better judgment, now colored with experience, kept me to a modest 20 entries. Emotions only ran on the side of, “Oh man, this is so fun.” Here’s a video of 2 heats, a waltz and foxtrot.
I just read the paragraph above to my daughter and she asked, “What does that mean? It sounds like you are in love with her.” I’m not. She is 30 years my younger and a good friend to my wife and kids. In fact, my daughters question reveals just one type of judgment I’ve sought to avoid by not openly discussing my sport of choice.
But, what does it mean that she is a prophetess?
Well, in my church there are 15 men we sustain as prophets. We look to them for direction on many/most of life’s matters. When they speak, we listen. Not only listen, but we obey. “It’s not mine to reason why, mine is but to do and . . . ” We are to follow the prophet, even if he is wrong. And . . . no criticism allowed.
Ok. I recognize that the comparison of my teacher to the prophets is not completely parallel. But, last Saturday, something happened that caused me to spot a similarity. My 20 heats were about to start. For the next couple of hours, I would be totally occupied with the competition. Anticipation, electricity, excitement swirled in my mind. My teacher brought all of my wondering awe to an abrupt halt with 2 clear commands, “Sam, how long has it been since you went to the bathroom?” Methinks, ‘What kind of a question is that to ask a 63 year old adult.’ Me-speaks, “I’m not sure.” Teacher, “I want you to go the bathroom. While you’re there, blow your nose.” Obediently, Sam immediately complied. For good measure, I even washed my hands.
It’s true that I have had concerns about openly discussing my ballroom dance adventure. Mostly, because it seemed wimpy in comparison to Iron Man exploits. Plus, it opens me to a judgmental society.
I have personally seen the struggles of gay people and non-believing Mormons coming out to the world. For many/most/all, it’s excruciatingly painful. Fraught with judgment, confusion, anger, sadness, depression, loss and shunning.
Oh, how I wish it didn’t have to be this way. Things are changing. Changing for the better. The time will come when all Comings-Out will be as benign as that of a Ballroom Dancer.