17 May 2009

A Little Thank You Note

I talk endlessly about stuff I'm passionate about and am hopelessly addicted to big picture extrapolations and philosophizing. It's dangerous because I don't want to monopolize conversations or bore people either. So I mostly try to hold it in. No doubt this amazes those who know me and still wish I'd shut up. Imagine how insufferable I'd be without self-policing. So I'll take a page from Scott's latest post and try to be pithy for once. [cue sound clip of cheering]. I've been so busy with work lately that my posts have slowed a bit, but after last night I really have to say this.

My patriarchal blessing is curiously specific on one point: I was instructed to associate with those who believe as I do and to whom I could give strength, and if I did this, I would have many friends and wouldn't want for assistance when I needed it. I never got the strength bit, seriously I'm nothing special, but I always had friends so thought "Eh, of course, self-evident, NBD, sounds kind of like filler to me."

Since I came out this passage has taken on a whole new meaning, and a main reason I'm so much happier than before is the boatload of new friends that now bless my life. Friends all over the place in terms of geography, age, experience, background. Doesn't matter. They are all wonderful and I can scarcely believe my luck to associate with them. Obviously I am still associating with those who believe as I do, though perhaps not in a way the patriarch envisioned! Still, his words do seem even more inspired as a result, no?

As any guy who's raised in a traditional Mormon family and follows The Traditional Mormon Boy's Map will attest, that Map often leaves little if any time for things not demanded by work, family or church--things like just hanging out with friends and building priceless relationships which give unmatched purpose and poetry to life.

No more of that for me, however. Yesterday I politely declined an invitation to attend a probably predictably routine stake picnic and instead hung out with AAT&T. Kids joined us for part of the time and were pampered and coddled (so I know gay guys can make great parents). Effervescent conversation that whirled and fizzed and and amazed me with its quick wit and imagination (the others, not me), a preview of a new hit musical played live, pizza with 2 hour delivery time, war stories about families and friends and coping with coming out and Prop 8 and how to deal with it all, a video with everything from Shakespeare to classic show tunes, laughter and smiles and hugs all around. How did I get so lucky to be part of this? To share all of that with others around whom I can be completely open and honest about myself still seems miraculous. AAT&T I don't think you realize the impact of yesterday for me. Blogging is great of course, but actually being together with you all, seeing the sparkles in your eyes and the warmth in your smiles, warms my heart like few things can. I fought the conflict inside myself for long enough that I never dreamed I would actually be able to experience things like yesterday.

So to AAT&T and all of you whom I've been privileged to meet and get to know, and to those of you whom I know on line and still look forward to meeting, "thank you" seems so pitifully inadequate but you get the concept. I wish I could give each one of you a big bone-crushing rugby scrum hug. Thanks for showing me that I can be an internally consistent integrated self and still be welcomed and accepted. Thanks for your warmth, your caring, your support, your laughter and your enthusiasm and your talents and your joie de vivre. You all inspire me in ways you know not of. "Behold, I cannot say the smallest part which I feel."


Grégoire said...

Should you disappear in an hour, I'll know that I am a thousandfold advantaged for having known you...

Austin said...

Oh Alan! It was so good to see you too. Todd and I had so much fun! We'll keep in touch with you... perhaps get you a CD for "These Days" when you come to see an opera with us :)

Ezra said...

Wait, WHAT? Who is AAT&T? Austin and Todd? Who else?

Were they in San Diego or where you in Phoenix?