Friday, November 21, 2008

A Providential Friendship-To Tony On Your 38th Birthday

We were just 18 and introduced ourselves in that torturous but always thought provoking college writing class....and I felt then, in the deepest part of my soul, that I already knew you- it was a sixth sense, if you will, and from then on, life as I knew it would never be the same. You became an appendage of my spirit that I dare not live without, a person whom I trusted with my deepest secrets, my most protected pain, my greatest joys, my dreams....and because of you, because of your courageous love, I learned more about life than five years in college could ever have taught me. I acquired lenses with which to view the world that allowed me to see the layers of humanity in their truest form. I saw the struggles and pain of your awakening as a gay man, first hand, and discovered that the complexities of our lives were more unifying than dividing. I learned the value of civil rights by traveling your path and experienced the hatred of our frightened and mislead society in ways that my caucasion/heterosexual journey could not have revealed. I absorbed the magnitude of grief in the air surrounding the AIDS crisis, laying in your arms at the base of the quilt on the Elipse, failing to comprehend a God who would allow such substantial suffering amongst his people, then finding a God who embraced these people when no one else would. I uncovered a passion within my own soul for the cause of equal rights, in every facet of our culture, knowing I could never support politicians or politics which allowed for the discrimination against some human beings that would be unacceptable for the rest of us. I walked away from the evangelical church and found solace with brothers and sisters who worship a Lord who created a people of difference but of love. But most of all, I became a parent of children who will be loved unconditionally, because I loved you. And for those reasons, and so many more, I am grateful that you found a place in this world thirty-eight years ago, and that you've reappeared on my path to see me, and my family, into the next phase of our lives. Happy Birthday Tony.

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Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States
Forty-three year-old, mother and staunch advocate of four young children, passionate warrior of truth and self, finding the soul in each day, sharing my struggles and triumphs as I live them. Mostly I do this for me, so my thoughts don't race as much at night as they used to. But I also give this to those of you who need to know, in any or every way, that you are not alone.

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