So lots of things happened today...
First, a bit of background. I identify as pansexual, but I have had a long history of being bullied because of rumors that I was a lesbian. Luckily for me, I have a lovely family, wonderful friends, and an amazing church community that has always supported me.
I grew up attending a Presbyterian Church near my hometown. Presbyterians are Christians, a Protestant sect derived from the teachings of Calvin and started by Scotsman John Knox. The church is what is known as a “More Light” church, which means they accept all people regardless of race, gender (and gender identity), and sexual orientation.
When I was being bullied, the love I recieved from the members of my church was amazing. It kept me going, kept me from committing suicide, and made me strong. After going through confirmation class, I realized I didn’t believe in Jesus as the savior. In fact, I wasn’t quite sure what I believed but I believed in something.
So fast forward to this weekend. This weekend our church hosted a man named Patrick Evans. Patrick is currently the interim director of More Light Presbyterians, which is an organization of more light churches. Patrick talked about marriage and the Presbyterian church at a supper last night, and again today in the adult ed class.
That wasn’t what got me. What got me was Patrick’s sermon. He talked about God’s love for all people: the bullied LGBT youth, the kids on the streets, the elderly LGBT people who have been out all their lives and must be in the closet in their retirement homes. And during this sermon, I realized two things.
The first was that no matter what I believe, or where I am, I will always have First United (the church I grew up at). They will always be supportive, and I will always be safe there. And let me tell you, as a high school senior going off to college, that is an amazing realization.
The other thing I realized is that, while people have bullied me and beaten me, I am loved. Every single person in that congregation loves me, my parents and family love me, my friends love me, and, even though I don’t believe, God and Jesus love me too. And that made me cry, right in the middle of church in the pew next to my mom.
So that was my day. I’m never going to forget that, and that’s enough for me to never ever commit suicide. Because I am safe in the knowledge that I am loved, and that is more powerful than any hateful and hurtful words.