This I Believe

John - Dubuque, Iowa
Entered on April 1, 2007
Age Group: 18 - 30

This I believe

We each have our own story

It has been an amazing life so far. As I approach my thirties, and look back on the past few years I look at amazement at what I have accomplished the people I have met, and the things I have yet to do.

The world is going threw a great deal of social and economic change, and yet we still live in the same place, and know the same people we have always known, until we stop and listen to their stories and hear for the first time all about how this or that world event changed and shaped their life, or how a simple act of sitting with some one opened up a relationship that would have never else come into existence.

Working as a hospital chaplain for the past six months I have encountered many people, and heard just as many stories. Form the woman caught in the cycle of drug addiction, who couldn’t stop telling me her story, to a young family’s silent story, as they stood powerless and watched their infant child die. The stories of families broken, separated, and displaced by hurricanes, to stories of family brought together to bury their father.

Growing up in rural Nebraska my story is one that has many layers, and opens many dimensions into my self. Growing up in the closet about my sexuality, to my self and to my family, left me with feelings of great apprehension, sadness, and regret, but something I had to go through. The people I never knew, the stories I shut my self off from, and the relationships I never had led me to a place where I can now see that value and understand the need to connect and open myself up to the greater good that comes from simply sitting and listening to another person tell their story.

Each story is special and unique; they come from the very fabric of our lives, and illustrate the muck, the orderly, the joy, the grief, the sadness, the absolute happy, and places where we have encountered the divine. If we as a people could stop and hear our neighbor’s story we could accept them for who they really are.

It is by telling my story of being a Chaplin/minister who is gay, that people will not stop listening to the pain and the sorrow of the gay, the lesbian the bisexual, the transgender as see them for who they really are, as some one with another story another understanding waiting to be heard. We can’t stop listening we are a people who desire contact with each other and hearing each others stories provide the very window we need to understand God.