Sometimes people will contact Queer Theology looking for resources. They want to find an affirming church near them, or a ministry that is welcoming. They want support groups or LGBTQ social groups or any number of things. Weâ€™ll provide resources where we can, but sometimes what they are looking for doesnâ€™t exist, or at least not in their area.
When that happens I generally go to my second line of advice: Why donâ€™t you consider starting something? Doesnâ€™t have to be anything elaborate: look for a few friends who might want what you want and get together once a week (or even once a month). Put out some feelers on Facebook. Start small.
Immediately the excuses start up: Oh, I canâ€™t do that. I donâ€™t have time to do that. Iâ€™m not a leader. I just want to attend something. Thereâ€™s no one in my area who wants what I want.
At that point I know the conversation is basically over. For whatever reason this person has put up a wall and no amount of conversation on my part will scale it. Every time it makes me sad because I know that this person is missing out on something potentially awesome. And why?
I know that it would be a lot nicer to just be able to show up to something that already exists. I know it can be hard to start something (as someone who has started multiple things, I get it). I know that not everyone is called to be a leader. And yet. If you donâ€™t, who will?
Because the thing you want to attend, the thing that you say you need, doesnâ€™t existâ€¦so what are you gonna do?
You donâ€™t have to be a leader to start something, all you have to do is having a willingness to send out a couple of emails or make a few phone calls. You just have to take a tiny bit of initiative and then figure out a way to keep things going without needing to be a leader, whether thatâ€™s trading off who hosts or who picks the topic or whatever.
My sense, though, is that when someone meets my advice with a lot of excuses that none of the excuses are really the truth. Itâ€™s not really about not being a leader or not having time. Itâ€™s that they simply donâ€™t want it badly enough. Because if they were truly as desperate as they are telling me they are, then nothing could keep them from bringing what they need into fruition.
Now obviously you donâ€™t have to start something. You are under no obligation to do anything. But if you donâ€™t, then youâ€™re going to be in the same position you are now. Feeling the lack in your life. You donâ€™t have to reach out or try to find new friends or make community, but then you will continue to be lonely.
But the bottom line truth? I think that even if the thing they say they want existed, in their town, they still wouldnâ€™t go. Why?
Because itâ€™s easier to complain. Itâ€™s easier to be lonely. Itâ€™s easier to say that things are too hard or not right or any number of other excuses. Itâ€™s easier to do all of those things than it is to show up, to embrace risk, to be vulnerable.
Itâ€™s hard to be in community with people, especially after youâ€™ve been lonely for a really long time. Itâ€™s hard to show up and worry that you still will feel lonely, that you still wonâ€™t have friends, that you still will feel on the outside of things.
â€¨Itâ€™s easier to stay home and complain. Itâ€™s easier to check out because things arenâ€™t â€œjust rightâ€ than it is to work to make them right. Itâ€™s easy to be on the sidelines. Itâ€™s hard to be in the game.
And yet at some point you have to choose healing. You have to choose to move toward the life you want. You have to step up and go after things. Which might mean taking a risk and starting something. It might mean that once a month you drive an hour each way to the only affirming church around in order to have some sense of community. It might mean that you seek out some people to have an online Skype support group. Maybe it means that you fight for what you want.
Because if you really need it, odds are someone else does too. And if you really want it youâ€™ll make it a priority. And if youâ€™re not willing to make it a priorityâ€¦wellâ€¦then we canâ€™t really help you.
So what do you want? And what are you willing to do to make it happen?
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