Will you love the “you” you hide if I but call your name?
Will you quell the fear inside and never be the same?
from Will You Come & Follow Me (hymn)
Three and a half years ago I confessed before friends and family a secret that had been eating away at me since early boyhood. There followed perhaps the biggest sense of relief I have ever felt. The shame, anxiety and sheer terror that kept me bound for years was gone in a moment when I found the courage – after much umming and ahhing – to say the words “Mom, I’m gay.”
And then it didn’t seem to matter who knew. I didn’t care if the pastor who told me I was going through a “phase” knew. I didn’t care if the friends who prayed, studied and lived with me at Bible college knew. I didn’t care if the people I passed every day in the street knew. I just loved the feeling of not caring what people thought of me. I loved not living in constant fear of exposure. I loved being honest and just being me.
Today is National Coming Out Day. Congratulations to those who have found somewhere deep within themselves the will and strength to be who they are without shame. To those of you still scared and defeated: Come out. You will not regret the decision to stop hiding.