I don’t believe in the doctrine of predestination, that God has an absolute plan for every moment of your life down to what necktie you’ll choose to wear today. I’m an artist. I know that God sculpted into me that spark of creativity that is an adventure of exploring possibilities, and I have no doubt, that is a reflection of his own image. She’s not going to tell me someday, “Nope, it was a farce, I was pulling your strings the whole time. And you thought you had free will!”
However, I do believe that God may on occasion call you to a particular task for which you are well-suited, even if you don’t know you have the required skill. God says, “One day, there’s going to be this kid from Wapokeneta who is destined for great things, but he’s going to need a bit of inspiration. Who do I have available, let’s see… Yeah, Jamie, that’s it, and you’re going to convey that inspiration in a graphic novel. Ha, and your teacher thinks you drawing funny pictures is a bad thing…” Read the rest of this entry
An anonymous quote states it well, “Gay Pride was not born of a need to celebrate being gay, but our right to exist without persecution. So instead of wondering why there isn’t a Straight Pride movement, be thankful you don’t need one.” What began as Gay Pride has enlarged to include the LGBT community, and it is almost universally celebrated in June, while occasionally in other communities in other months. But if it’s Pride in June, it’s LGBT Pride.
Except in Canton, Ohio. Canton has a monthly downtown arts festival, as do other arts communities, called First Friday. Each of these monthly First Friday events has a different theme. There was February’s “Frosty Frolic,” April’s “Masquerade,” and coming this month, June’s “Pride.” Wait, that’s not quite right. June’s First Friday theme is “Canton Pride.” Isn’t that nice? Read the rest of this entry
Gilda Shedstecker just closed our production of The Other Place last night. I am so pleased and honored to have received such compliments for my performance of a husband who is losing his wife to the unforgiving nightmare of dementia. It was a role I fell in love with as soon as I read it. I understood the part of Ian, having lived it to some degree. From the comments I heard, I managed to convey real love, frustration, fear, anger, resentment, even humor, and the experience proved cathartic for me, to touch each of those memories in turn and tap them for my use, to make them work for me instead of being at their mercy.
My story is messy. And complicated. And told here, undoubtedly one-sided, but it is as I’ve lived it, as it has impacted me. At this point, no more apologies, no recriminations, no shame. God loves truth, this is my truth, and the lesson is that telling your story frees others to tell theirs, and is part of the cycle of healing. Life is hard, and sometimes in spite of your best, the thorns outnumber the roses.
My situation is not that unusual. I’ve heard it time and again with variations. A small town boy grows up in a Christian environment, full of notions of romance, love, marriage, a family, encouraged and pressured to fit the righteous mold of one man plus one woman equals happily ever after and blessed by God. Nobody wants to be alone, and how is he supposed to know the difference between the attraction he feels and the companionship he discovers in a best friend? The church even approves of the chasteness in the affection he feels for his girlfriend. So it’s a chick flick of a courtship, and how many of us thought that once we started actually having sex on a regular basis, everything would straighten itself out? Read the rest of this entry
After this last month, this last week, today:
Our first baby in the foster-to-adopt program was Tyler. It’s still so vivid, the day we got the call that a newborn boy needed a home. We breathlessly flew to the hospital, and this tiny 3-day-old was delivered to us in the parking deck by his county caseworker. She had assured us of the details, that although the adoption process was not guaranteed, there was no family that was interested in taking him and most likely Tyler would be a permanent placement.
We knew better than to be so hopeful, but we wanted children so much, and had waited so long. So we took him home and fell hopelessly in love. Tyler was my beautiful, happy son for three blissful months. And then the truth came out. Tyler had an aunt and uncle who had already adopted his older sister. But his caseworker just didn’t like them and had taken it upon herself to keep Tyler from them. That was idiotic; blood relatives with no issues always had priority in foster placements, and the time came shortly thereafter when we had to give Tyler up. Willingly handing my son over to a government agent to take away from me was the single hardest thing I’ve ever had to do, and a part of me died that day. Read the rest of this entry