Monday night’s event of Coming Out Spiritually really hit home run for me when it comes to my understanding of my values and beliefs of being both openly gay and also a devote Roman Catholic. I am an active member of both LAMBDA and the Nazareth College Catholic Community, so it was fitting for me to participate in the service. I helped by setting up and performing. Going over and over my choreographed solo allowed me to realize how lucky I am of a person when it comes to the love and support from both sides of the community. Though both sides have opposing viewpoints to sensitive topics such as marriage, I chose to take a positive route by just looking at the good in people in both sides of the community. I am well aware of the negative aspects, however the positive seems to make more sense to me. As I write this reflection; I think of not only the Catholic community that was present in that event, but also the different religions that tell their beliefs of love and the underlying theme of love and compassion that was encompassed on the Linehan stage.
The overall theme of Coming Out Spiritually was the sense of compassion within the community. We began the event with a sign of peace by greeting one another through a handshake or a hug to send positive energy and peace to one another.Each of the readings given out were readings about compassion and love for one another. Sarah from the Jewish community talked about the undermining texts of Leviticus and how extremists look at it word by word and it would be ridiculous if we were not allowed to wear mixed cloths or eat shrimp anymore. Erin from the Catholic community read the reading from Corinthians about how love is kind and how it’s not boastful – the typical reading for any wedding. Jamie, our Catholic chaplain on campus, spoke about what it means to be both an ally for the LGBT community and a minister to the Catholic community. He apologized for any hurt that the Catholic community has caused the LGBT community and from that moment I teared up. Lynne represented the Buddhist tradition by giving us a meditation reflection exercise which revolved around Love and Kindness. Just like how the Dalai Lama talks about meditation in An Open Heart, Lynne told us for every breath we take we give our love, patience, and energy to our acquaintances, our family, our friends, the world, and even our enemies.
My involvement in the event was to dance, something that was out of the norm in past events but was something fresh and new. My piece was called The Promise and it revolved around my coming out story, a love story, and my struggles on being what I am today. I the arts give me a lot of energy – whether it is playing the piano, singing, or dancing – and I love passing on the energy to others. Finally, at the end of it all, Call4Backup and Fermata Thin Air, our on campus a capella groups, teamed up and sang “One Voice” to show unity in our community no matter who you are. There was a lot of love going on in one event and it opened my eyes that it’s not only for the LGBT community to come out of the closet but it can also be for those who support the LGBT community to come out and voice their opinions.
Though this event was not specific towards one religion, it still represented religions supporting a common goal of love and compassion towards everyone. Though it was a small intimate space and event, it still felt that the whole Nazareth College community was represented. It was an honor and a privilege to have been part of it. This event has opened my eyes to who I am as a person; it was a great reflection.