Hey all…I know it’s been a while. Lots of COVID-related emotional down-ness (I’m a hyer-extrovert) and working on projects when I’m able (I’m scoring a silent film from 1925 at present), so I’m trying to keep busy. I’ll do a full personal update soon.
Someone recently asked me what I would tell my 16 year old self knowing what I know now. Here’s what I answered, edited for clarity (I hope):
- That Jesus loves and LIKES him.
- That at 38, he has more friends than he can imagine
- That his sexuality is a precious gift and is a reason he has so many friends
Someone else asked me to talk more about the first point, so this is what I wrote:
The thing that has helped me a lot with internalizing that Jesus likes me is my friend group. Not just the Christians, though they have a huge role in being the embodiment of Christ to me…but all of them. Honestly, there are people who look more like Jesus but don’t know him than some who claim him…and that’s a real shame.
This isn’t an inner-circle, mutual-admiration-society thing I’m talking about. This is a big group of people I’ve collected who have shown me that I’m lovable and loved.
The importance of knowing one is loved, lovely, and loving cannot be understated. If I am to love my neighbor as myself but have been trained to hate myself, I cannot possibly follow this commandment. I cannot know myself apart from belonging to a group…I am a relational creature by design, so if the group(s) in which I find myself tell me I’m tolerable or barely so, I will believe that God believes the same.
I have some experience with hearing that I’m fundamentally unlikable. I could list off all the people in my life who have tried to sell me that garbage but it wouldn’t be worth it right now. I can tell you I ate up that garbage in high school and prior because it was all I’d ever been served. C. S. Lewis says something here that resonates with me:
It would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.from THE WEIGHT OF GLORY
With me, it wasn’t sex or drink. But I was nonetheless that ignorant child. I couldn’t imagine anything else because nothing else existed for me.
Then, I met folks like Ron Belgau and Stephen Moss and emailed folks like Wes Hill (this was before he’d published his first book). And I found that these folks understood what life was like. Having community both from afar (I’ve still never had coffee with Dr. Hill but would love to sometime) and nearby (I have spent a lot of time with Ron…many meals and conversations, especially when he lived here in St. Louis…and have spent a lot of time with Stephen!) helped me to figure out that Jesus loves me. Not just because the Bible tells me so…but because someone was His hands and feet.