I’m proud of you.

We’ve spent most of our lives together, nearly every great memory I have involves him. We have an adorable picture of us, being forced to dance as kids…he a small-for-his-age four-year-old, me a near giant two-year-old, my head hovering approximately two inches above his. We could make a really moving wedding slideshow with all of our shared memories and the growth that we’ve gone through while remaining friends, some years closer than others. My best friend came out of the closet last year, and recently I’ve been struck with how proud I am of him. 

I’m proud that he had the courage to pursue an authentic life, that he chose love when all he was shown was hate, that he no longer has to live a double life, that he continues to seek God, even though most people of his faith think it foolish. 

But more than all that, I’m proud that he didn’t shut people out. I admire this so much because I’m struggling with being open about my calling to those who struggle with whether or not, as a woman, I should even use such language or feel called to ministry. It’s easier to shut people out. Under the mask of trying to prevent them from dealing with the issue, we’re really just saving ourselves from pain. Pain causes growth, though, and shielding ourselves or those we love from pain doesn’t do anyone good. When we refuse to let people into our lives because we fear their reaction, we are selling them short; we aren’t giving them the opportunity to love us back, to work through the challenging issue, 

I so intensely admire my friend, because without his example, I might not be willing to share this vital part of my life with those I love for fear that it might cause to much damage. Perhaps it will cause damage  but I know it will be worth it because I know that I’m not the only one who’s proud of him.  

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