Three Years Later – Processing Grief

Last weekend, August 20, was the anniversary of Carleton Cannon‘s death. The last three years have passed exceptionally quick. Perhaps that is where the balance is with Grief. On one hand, when Grief visits, she brings excruciating painful loss while on the other hand, as time passes, those moment by moment times when you are completely overwhelmed, become mercifully manageable hourly, then daily, weekly, monthly, and longer.

Quietly and unannounced, Mercy, the sister of Grief, quietly enters your life. She does not make the grand entrance her sister, Grief, does. Yet, she begins the task of tempering Grief, admonishing moments of peace, and gradually persuades Grief to allow for longer times of peace between Grief’s unchained outbursts.

Yet, it is Time, Himself, that makes this passage nearly bearable. It is at this recognition on Friday, August 19, that I acknowledge it has been three years since Carleton passed from this physical plane. I credit Father Time with magically merging the moments of intolerable loss and modifying those feelings of absolute, overwhelm pain of loss, intimacy, and hope.

Time takes the immensely explosive emotional chaos of a terrible moment and begins to stretch that moment through a day, a week, a month, a year. Time works daily to mitigate the pain, reduce the excruciating, turning it first into tolerance, then into an ability to hope, and ultimately into a “new normal” that for me has taken nearly three years. So, it is with only a few tears today that I am so thankful and remember.

It is good to know that when Grief visits, whether expected or suddenly, that her Sisters – Mercy, Peace and Hope – are certain to arrive. You can rest assured that Father Time, or as I see Him – God – has a purpose in Grief’s visit. Her visits are never without loss, regret or pain. Yet, Grief creates a common ground between people who she visits. And, it is there, when others have visits with Grief, when I can share, as well as appreciate, the visits of Mercy, Peace and Hope who are sure to come.

Ultimately, this entire experience reminds me of one truth. Grief’s visit can never match the experience or value of pursuing God’s greatest gift – Love. Thank you, Carleton. Rest in God’s Arms.

To the Vandals of the San Diego MCC Church, Come Out, We are.

Dear Vandals,

If you need to spray paint what your heart is feeling, perhaps you should consider a different form of self expression. May I suggest that as the feelings surrounding your fears of inadequacy and self-loathing come from learned behavior as you have been growing up? Our society is very confusing about how we all fit within it. Rather than deface public or private buildings with your personal cries of self-revelation and self loathing, I would urge you to turn from art therapy towards a personal therapy with a licensed counselor.

Years of hiding who you are inside clearly have jumped out beyond your ability to maintain decorum. Tagging a Church is a clear sign of a jealousy to belong. I appreciate that you likely do not have a loving family which you fear will reject you as you continue this perilous battle between self-loathing and your desire to connect more intimately with those you outwardly and passionately resent. Do not harbor such resentment simply because you are cowardly and secretive while they are brave and willing to face life head on.

Clearly you have a stunted emotional inner self. It’s like when we all were in 3rd grade and someone hits you to express that they like you. It really is childish. I would encourage you to consider a different way of announcing to your friends, the community, and especially the police that you want to be identified with the gay community. Lot’s of gays express themselves through how they dress, how they kiss, and how they entertain others. Not to mention, they likely have ripped abs, can cook better than you, oh, and treat women waaaaay better than you might.

Rather than demonstrate how much loathing you have yourself, I would suggest you consider reaching out to a counselor and working through your not so well hidden concerns about your masculinity, your fears of loving men, and learn to embrace your fears. That way, it will be easier for others to love you, and easier for you to love yourself.

Take care of yourself. Just remember, what you do in the dark usually comes to light when you least expect it. Tagging a building with derogatory (do you know what that word means?) words might cost the MCC Church congregants some money. Yet, I am glad you were able to finally and not so bravely spray paint the fears about yourself into the public domain.  I know they have already forgiven you.  And, that might frustrate you all the more.

I hope you are feeling better today and will take the necessary steps to grow bravely as you explore this new facet of your being.

Best Wishes as you explore your conflicted emotional feelings toward members of the same sex.  It can be hard work.  Thank you for taking that next step in self-expression.

Best Regards…

Correct the Course of Police Militarization

“When communities experience fear, harassment and brutality simply because of who they are or how they look, we are failing as a nation. In light of the recent events in Missouri, it is clearer than ever that there is something profoundly wrong in our country.”  These are the first words from Human Rights Campaign and 58 others organizations within the LGBT Community in response to the tragic killing of Michael Brown, a black man headed to college by a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri.

Enough is enough. All Americans must stand up and demand that the police departments of our nation stand down. We do not require the police to be come further militarized. They must be vigilant, but should not leap to shoot and kill, but to pacify and arrest.  They must remember they are in place to protect and serve both the person perceived under attack as well as the attacker.  They are to be an organization where victims can run and where victimizers can be contained until Justice can be engaged.  The organization must be a place of safety not the perpetrators of death and destruction.

For the sake of our freedom we must demand that police end their evolution toward military tactics, racial profiling and executing without due process.  For if we do not, America will become not a land of freedom, but a police state where freedoms are crushed.

America’s LGBT community supports family of Michael Brown, with 58 groups joining letter