Monday, July 16, 2012
I first visited Unity North Church in Marietta, GA about a few months ago for a funeral of a dear friend who I hadn't seen in several years. The tears in my eyes made everything seemed blurry on that day. Once my tears dried, I looked at the beautiful cloths hanging from the ceiling over the stage, which were symbols of all the recognized religions.
When I picked up one of the song booklets and flipped through the pages, I recognized several songs by Rickie Byars Beckwith. Excitement filled my body; it became a matter of time before I returned for my first visit. Keep in mind, I haven't been in a church building for several years.
I walked in the doors ten minutes late after getting somewhat lost. Surprised that I had a wide selection of where I could sit, I sat closer to the back of the sanctuary, at first. Normally, I would have sat there careful not to stand out among the congregation. No, I moved closer to the front. Why not? I wanted to see and feel everything during my first visit of being with like-minded, soul-like, beautiful people!
The light and spaciousness of the sanctuary helped me to feel relaxed, and I looked around at the faces that had once walked in the doors of Unity North for their first time. Were they, too, ready to come out and just be? Did they, too, ask how can they be of service? I sat there feeling love and gratitude because I knew the time had come for me to live out loud.
To my amazement, the message: “Coming Out – Authen-City vs. False City,” by Rev. Jeanie Ward, hit me like the sun hovering over Mother Earth. She told her story of how she lived a life of different faces making sure to use them when she needed to cover up that she was gay, unhappy, and terrified of life. I could identify that same pain in Rev. Ward that had drove me to deep depression.
After years of uncertainty, sickness, and dealing with obesity, she came out. She said, “I am unique and so is everyone else.” Rev. Ward’s coming out was not only about her sexuality, it was about living up to her true potentiality—her unique expression of God. I sat in my chair, closed my eyes, breathed deeply, and said, “Yes” – Yes, to living out loud – Yes, to living my true potentiality. “Where do I start?” I asked. I heard Rev. Michael Bernard Beckwith’s words, “Right where you are.”
Unity North Church seems to be somewhat reserved in terms of movement and dance during service, unlike what I’m use to growing up in a Penecostal church or what I’m used to seeing at Agape Spiritual Center. So, as I listened, I said out loud, “Yes!” during Rev. Ward’s message several times; my words echoed toward the cathedral ceiling, alone. When the awesome duo, kRi & hettie, sang, I felt the need to stand, sing, and sway with them. I love their music, their voices, and their message! The words, “Everyday is an opportunity to forgive myself, re-invent myself, and fall in love with myself,” touched my heart. I am the only one who stood in the entire sanctuary. Normally, I would feel embarrassed, and I would wonder what people thought or even asked after service, “Do you think it was OK that I stood when no one else stood?” Not this day; I AM coming out!
The old will leave to make space for the new. Thoughts and feelings of insecurity, self-doubt, fear, and lack of worthiness had crippled my potentiality. I know I’m evolving each day; like an onion, I continue to peel back layers of deep, negative thought patterns. I’m ready. I accept. I’m available. I can do it. I will do it, and I give deep thanks. Use me, Lord.
How about you? Are you ready to come out about something, anything? Come on and join me. Peace and Blessings!