Thanksgiving in March
I used to hate March. It was usually a gloomy gray-skied month in Ohio; either filled with rain, snow, slush and cold temperatures. Seldom were there blue skies. In addition, my sister who I still miss tremendously died on the Ides of March (the fifteenth.) Every end of February, I would go from celebrating my birthday to March madness and gloom.
But this year it’s different. On the first day of March, the skies were blue and the sun was shining. It seemed warmer than the temperature stated. It has been an exciting and scary year. I have been vulnerable, continue to grow and continue to surrender at the cross asking God to “take care of it.” It doesn’t mean that I become complacent and lazy. It means, I do my part and trust Him to do His part in being there, guiding me, loving me and protecting me, that no matter what happens… even if it’s bad news, “All thinks work to the good for those who love the Lord.” It’s trusting in Him fully as I have written in previous posts.
I see God working in my life. I see him working in the lives of others. I see truth, and experience authentic love and hope in deeper levels than I have ever experienced. I know he loves me and all of us. Bad things happen but he has given us free will. He also can use all the bad and turn it into good. My sister’s death was one of the most painful experiences in my life, if not the most painful. As I reflect on this, He used this horrible situation to call me to Him. He comforted me in my sorrow and gave me brief moments in which I felt that. If it wasn’t for this terrible time and moments of consolation in times of immense pain, I don’t know if I would still be here today. I was on a path of destruction, seeking to fill a void in my heart. I didn’t know that void was there because God wasn’t put there by me. Instead, I tried to fill it with other things which only made me more miserable.
Darlene’s death was the start of seriously beginning my journey to God. It was a long one and I’m still on it. The mountain is big and the valleys that I fall in are low. But, my God picks me up and leads me when I ask for His help, His guidance and His comfort.
March is usually a time of gloom. But this March is filled with excitement, change, fear, hope and authentic love as I go forward in His truth. On March twenty second, my book with Our Sunday Visitor is being released, “Accompanying Those with Same-sex Attractions: A Guide for Catholics.” And yesterday, on the first of March when the skies were a deep blue and the sun was shining, my self-published booklet was posted on Amazon. (My Journey to Truth, Authentic Love and Hope: One Man’s Story of Transformation and Chastity in Christ.) In this book I share more deeply than I have in previous talks and am more vulnerable. Why? So that others can see the hope that we all have in Christ on this journey, no matter what our struggles are.
As I reflect on this new perspective of March, with its glimmer of hope and opportunities for authentic love and truth to be heard, I am humbled and extremely grateful. To me this march isn’t March Madness, as often said in regard to basketball and also those going through difficult times like I had in the past. Instead, to me I choose to focus on the beautiful gifts from God and His hope. And with that for the first time, I see March differently. In fact, this March to me is another celebration of Thanksgiving. But not of pilgrims and Indians and turkeys and football and family. No, this one is one full of thanks to God for His goodness, His love, His mercy and for always being there even when we don’t see Him.