15 some years ago, as I was walking into a cathedral in my home country of România, praying for my new adventure at college and afraid to leave my family something happens, I looked up at the beautiful mural on the wall and notice someting I didn't notice before. I have been coming here all my life, 3 times a week....
You see this painting was illustrating the capital sins, and one of them was new to my closed up mind, maybe I notice it before and pushed it back in fear. There were two naked man burning in that river of fire. Next to me was one of my closest friends, I looked at him and someting happend, someting changed, I saw pain and fear in him. After all this silence he asked me, do you think I will burn in hell? He broke down in tears and told me how he had prayed for so long for this to go away, for God to make him "normal" .
I was socked, afraid maybe, and scared. All the ortodox teachings run through my head. Plus all the shit society told me about homosexuality. I felt like I didn't know anything anymore. Should I pray with him? Maybe this will go away... What can I do for this boy I loved and admire so much, that is hurting but scares me in the same time. And through the divine love or maybe the humanity in my heart my mouth opened and I spoke my truth, " let's go, this is no different then the comunism our parents fought against, this is not divine love, and if I am wrong and making God angry I will burn in hell with you".
The moment we walked out the cathedral was the last time I allowed organized religion to tell me how to treat people. That day we both stopped praying to a man made God and we reached high to what God is, love, kindness and acceptance of each other.
Years later, here in the US I went to my first pride, and sent my dear friend a message, thanking him for saving my soul and teaching me what love is and how love comes in so many colors and shapes. That day of my first pride was a day of finally becoming a ally.
The day in Romania in that summer heat we both realized we weren’t going to be able to pray the gay away, there was nothing to be prayed away, the hell that was so scary was only here on earth, created by humans . What we both did was understanding that we are all made different, maybe born in the wrong country, wrong time, but born with a purpose and a journey. Today my dear friend embraced everything that he is, still living in a closed-minded society and still trying to change it, but he knows that he is loved.
My journey brought me here and I have created a safe space for all. All colors of the rainbow, all the people, because love is love.
This month I honor you, for embracing who you are. I know it was hard and I know you are still struggling some days, but remember you are not alone. You are loved and you deserve to be happy.
Chalange for this month!
Let's stop letting fear and diversity scare us, and maybe this month we can stop saying (forever) I don't care who you love or how you look like as long as you are a good human. That is wrong and hurtful so keys replace it with "I care and honor who you love and I would like to know more about you and your loved ones" , that will open conversation and we will build bridges.
I am proud of you, and I am here holding space always.