Saturday, October 22, 2011

Same Place, Different Time

Catching a vision for life was the focus of my day.  In a strange sequence of events (for me, it seems that strange is my new normal),  I found myself being forced to wait and think about my desires.  I won't kill you with my rambling words from my original draft where I hunt down a thought and then beat it to a bloody pulp once I capture it.  I will say though, I thought about what a man named, Brooks, who is near 60 shared with me, "There are two types of people in this world.  Those that sell their bodies and those that use their minds."  Having a job is selling your body, using your mind, is knowing people and building relationships that are in agreement to produce a desired outcome.  Now, this doesn't really seem so profound, but the thoughts that followed led me to go out for a day with just myself.  I felt drawn to see places where I used to go and to reflect on the passage of 23 years to see the changes that have happened here in my hometown and to share glimpses of my home.  I think it was the first time I had felt like and acted like a tourist in my own city.  I took out my camera and became the observer.

In looking at the here and now, I am fortunate to be here.  Minneapolis is a beautiful city, kind, and in different ways, it's thriving.  I shot pictures of places I looked at growing up.  I noticed places that had changed, the cityscape had been altered and retouched.  Once place I was drawn to was the State Theater.  In my youth, it was my church, the former Jesus People's Church, where ironically I had performed with their youth group.  I had been on that very stage for our congregation.  Over 23 years ago, I watched that church fall under its own weight of multiple scandals that included embezzlement, sexual affairs, and statutory rape.  I don't know why I stayed as long as I did, almost to the point of the actual doors finally closing.  It seemed like as I became an adult, I saw my innocence die with my church.  I choose to think that it was my ignorance instead of my innocence, but that may be wishful thinking. I saw the conflict of teaching and the reality of living life. 

Today, as I looked at the State Theater, and see the image of 'La Cage Aux Folles', I remembered a night that changed my life.  It was on Hennepin Avenue, at this very spot I had made my first openly gay friend.  At the time he was suicidal over his orientation and had been openly condemned by a youth pastor.  I found him crying, and instead of walking away, we walked up and down Hennepin Avenue together, holding hands as I listened to his confessions.  It was the first time in my life where I began to realize that the practice of condemning people, or more accurately, hating people, was anything but 'Christian'.  I didn't talk him out of suicide.  I listened. He was the one that chose life. Too often people think they have to save people or change people when we don't possess that kind of power or control over others. All I did was to just accept him as he was.  I chose love over judgement, even though my belief 'system' conflicted. 

It's 23 years later and the State Theater's marquee was a reminder that change is very much a part of life and that sometimes all you really need to do for someone else is just accept them as they are.  Love always wins, though not always in the way that you might think. Maybe that is why I smile so much, after all, it's the best way to take on the world.

No comments: