Everybody wants to slap your back
wants to shake your hand
when you're up on top of that mountain
But let one of those rocks give way then you slide back down look up
and see who's around then
This ain't where the road comes to an end
This ain't where the bandwagon stops
This is just one of those times when
A lot of folks jump off
When the water's high
When the weather's not so fair
When the well runs dry
Who's gonna be there?
You find out who your friends are
Going through something like this naturally brings one into a lot of unusual situations, but what's not unusual about it is that it can let you see a side of a lot of folks you might never have otherwise seen. Including yourself.
Looking inward, I find that the possibility of a future alone is very painful to contemplate and something which is, so I am told, very easy to avoid. All I have to do is deny myself and behave as others expect me to - which certainly applies an appropriate amount of gravity to the decision. You really learn what you are made of when you are given the choice to submit or suffer for your integrity. Most of us wonder at some point in time "what would I do if I had to make such a choice?" I fear that soon I'll find out.
But that's not what this one is about - this is about looking outward.
One of the joys of this difficult journey has been a few new friends I have acquired, and some old friends I have re-connected with in a much deeper way. There are about ten people out there who have gone beyond being accepting (which is all I ask of anyone) to being actively affirming and supportive. That's not to say that they are taking some stand on the "rightness" of transsexualism, I'll leave that for them to speak for themselves. It's just that they understand that "love thy neighbor" actually means something. They are people who understand that such things are not done on a whim and that people don't chose to be what I am. I won't repeat here any of the kind things they have said as that would seem self serving, but I treasure their kindness.
Many others have of course been very kind and gracious, whatever their private thoughts and opinions might or might not have been. I definitely do not want to seem to be overlooking them. This situation would have been much harder without you people.
But I really really want to say that wherever the road takes me, I'll have infinitely more strength for the journey because of those - the cream of the crop - who encouraged me to stay strong.
Of course, while I really don't want to go negative on this post, I wouldn't be telling the whole story if I didn't acknowledge that there are those out there who once called me friend who consider it bad news that anyone would encourage me in my "perversion."
It's just as much a bracing and ultimately strengthening revelation to find out who your friends AREN'T. People who can't bring themselves to consider the possibility that their cultural prejudices (usually disguised in the robes of religion) could possibly be in error even when faced with a messy fallen world that doesn't fall into their neat categories.
Consider this - every one of you, of whatever denomination, know that there is something in your belief system that those in another denomination believe differently about. If you are a Baptist, for instance, you are firmly convinced that salvation once gained cannot be lost - but others sincerely and just as fervently disagree. But here's the thing about that - ONE OF YOU MUST BE WRONG. And yet both of you believe they are right in all sincerity and good faith.
What's the point? The point is a sincerely and fervently held point of view, taught by a serious and credible religious organization as a true understanding of God's word for hundreds of years CAN BE WRONG.
It's not for me to say who's right and wrong on that point of disagreement, or any other. But what I AM trying to say is that while you sit there reading this and grumbling to yourself about my perversion, are you willing to even consider for the briefest second that what you have always believed is wrong? Honestly, for most of you I sincerely doubt it.
What's funny (not funny ha-ha, funny strange) is what happens when two of these absolutes come into conflict. I'll wager that a lot of you folks who think I'm just making some selfish sick choice here for the fun of it (and could I ever write again at length on how insane it is to think anyone would go through 1/10th of this mess for fun but another time for that) and that I am "bound in sin" are also of the opinion that my wife should divorce me post haste.
One wonders what your opinion of divorce normally is. The Bible, after all, is very specific about the grounds for divorce (if you read it in the most rigorous interpretation as you have to in order to judge me) and I nave neither abandoned or committed adultery on my wife. But of course, those who are very strict about divorce will have no trouble contorting what they believe about THAT in order to give her leave, nay encouragement, to seek divorce - yet there will be no contouring to show compassion to a person who doesn't fit into the approved mold.
One wonders if they would be encouraging her to divorce me if I was schizophrenic or bi-polar or depressed? Can these people be certain that, even if I am doing something "wrong" that it is not a mental illness? does it matter? I don't meet their standards, thus the rules will just have to be fudged a bit in my case.
Now, let me be clear -I absolutely DO think she has the right to divorce me. It would pain me beyond words for her to do so, but I would never suggest she has no right to. She might yet. Hell, I might yet assume the illusion of the man she married because I can't bear to see her in such pain (though she and I and all of you would know it was a hollow man unworthy of respect who shared her home).
So I'm not suggesting these people are wrong who might think she should or advise her to (albeit I'll bet none of them have given a moments thought to the logistics of it) rather, I'm pointing out how very sad it is that the rules about divorce can be compassionately bent in a hard case - but that other, less well laid out and more questionable rules must be held firm even if it means they become a weapon against a person you once professed to call a friend.
As for me, I find it almost invigorating to know where people stand. Rest assured, if you called me friend before and have no compassion for me now, I'm forced to assume you were no more than an acquaintance (at best) and I'm VERY glad to find out where you are when "the well runs dry."
It might be petty of me, but I'll certainly keep that in mind in the future.
Boy, so much for not going negative, eh? Oh well, at least there is this - how amazing is it that the 10 or 12 folks who have REALLY shown God's love and compassion towards me (Yes indeed, each and every one of them is a serious and committed Christian) are almost all people who were casual acquaintances at best until the last couple of months, while some of those who have been quite the opposite are those who've been important in my life for many many years.
It is all the more remarkable, and praiseworthy, that these people - mostly women by the way - stepped up and showed compassion in a situation where it would have been VERY easy to point and laugh and judge and shame. And the fact that there doing so casts an unflattering light on those of you who wish they hadn't is all the more pleasing to me. Maybe the light will illuminate some things that need examination.
Like I said, call me petty. I've been called worse lately I'm sure.
I'm willing to wager that in time I'll have more compassion for those who judge me than they will have for me in return. Eventually. Maybe not quite yet though.