For the One

Hello dear readers, I think that before jumping into this post, I should acknowledge that I have not posted in a very long time.  The reasons for this are many and complex, but I can say that it has been a very difficult and dark season of life.  If you would like to hear more specific reasons, I'd encourage you to email me privately, after all : ) I do love making a connection with my readership.  Thank you so much for caring to keep reading and helping me find a voice in writing, tonight I will be praying for you, even if I don't yet know you.  

Dear Readers,

Since I last posted I have become the Executive Director of OneGeorgeFox! This is the LGBTQ and Allied alumni association of my alma mater, and the first event that I am organizing for it (and really the first event with logistical needs that I've ever tried to organize on my own) is the school's first annual Lavender Graduation ceremony.  We just concluded a remarkably successful GoFundMe campaign that has been so encouraging for me to watch.  I'm moved to tears by all the people who donated their hard earned money to some idea that started so small in my head.  I've even found a venue with a ballroom! A freaking ballroom!?! Are you kidding me??! EEEEKKKKK!!!!!

Ok...calming down again, sorry about that! I am truly excited to celebrate a group of students who mean so much to me : ) the donations have been closed but check out the link anyway just to read:

Something that I have been very conscious of though, is that as I work to prepare this thing, and come up with meaningful remarks to say, that I am having to revisit some memories in detail that I haven't before.  An illusion that I think kind of works is that it feels like exploring the Titanic wreck.  I'm diving down into the deep of my memory, to reach a place where, while the pain of the moment is over, the knowledge of what happened at what was felt is with me at every look.  Every room that I force my way into has an echo of what happened.  To be honest dear reader, I'm having a hard time sleeping tonight because I am stuck in the memory of one room in particular.  I am hopeful that writing it down will feel therapeutic, but I want to acknowledge in advance that before telling this story, that it is a hard one.

Here it is, another story that has not been told before, but that must be told.

It is the Fall of 2012, and I am making my way across familiar streets that are covered in red and brown leaves.  I am on the way to a place where I have spent countless hours in my two and a half years at GFU, it is a very small prayer chapel that overlooks a canyon.  

I slide my student ID to unlock the door and step in, and as so often was the case, I was thankfully alone.  The Ceiling is vaulted, and the one side of the building that faces the canyon is dominated by large windows and a giant cross that is bolted to the wall.  I walk to the bottom left corner of the cross, find the one tree branch that hangs just at my eye level, with buds and leaves and bare branches that I have seen move in the wind and rain so many times. I start to think.

I get most of my good thinking done at this spot.  The stillness and the loneliness doesn't necessarily feel good, but it does feel like a relief from the rest of the campus, always.  I've been seeing a counselor for a little while at this point, and I am beginning to start to want to live again, but there is a new question that I am being presented with.  The question is not whether to live or to die, but do I stay or do I go.

Most of me is screaming to get the hell out of Newberg, but there is one whisper in the back that won't stop. 

"Please God...I don't want to be that one."

I knew that if I was going to stay, that not one more second of one more day would be the same as it was before. I would refuse to stay silent, refuse to be closeted, I would use every skill and strength that I possessed to make it different.  

The author of lies finds us even in places of deep conviction, and if I was to personify the discussion that I wrestled with in my head, it would have gone something like this:

Oh A.J. .... do you even hear yourself now?  You are tiny, weak, can barely feel comfortable in group settings, and you think that you're going to transform into some sort of LGBTQ hero at GFU?  You are completely alone.  You do realize this right?

Well yeah right now I am... but maybe there will be others who will join me? Maybe there are much more capable people who just need someone else to be the first to come out.

And you're that one right? Destined to be the first out student at GFU? Give me a break.  You are alone.  You know damn good and well that 90% of the student population will want you to leave the university when you start making a scene right? You ready to be hated? You really want to be that one? 

Maybe there won't be many...

There won't be ONE! You will come out, make things nice and extra hellish for yourself, and nothing will change, and you will leave! You must be some kind of stupid if you really think you have even the slightest chance of success.  There will be no one to help you, no one will be thankful for what you do.  You're not supposed to be that one, quit indulging this foolish delusion of grandeur.
But that isn't what its about! This isn't a delusion!

Oh really? What is it then! You know ZERO people who accept that they are queer at this place.  You think the people who are struggling with same sex attraction will thank you? HA! You are out of your mind.

True I don't know any...but there must be one.

One? Ok, so for a COMPLETELY hypothetical one you are willing to be torn apart? 

What if that hypothetical one is here now, and the hypothetical one kills themselves?  

Well that obviously isn't your fault!

I KNOW its not my fault!...but I also know I can't just not do anything.

So what is the SOMETHING that you will do?

...I don't know.

You don't know...brilliant plan.

I might make a fool of myself, I might make life more miserable than it needs to be, I might be choosing to charge headfirst into a hornets nest....but if ONE avoids the same situation that I just got through, then it is worth it.

And its worth it for one? 


I lift my hands to wipe the tears that are streaming down my face.  This is a question I have kept returning to think about, even though I always arrived at the same answer.  

"God...please let there be at least one...please let there be at least one who I will meet along the way."

I wipe away more tears, and turn to leave through the door into the fall breeze. 

Dear readers, my hypothetical one turned into a real person sooner then I imagined it would, and then the one became five, and then it was 10, and every face of every person in Common Ground that I look at I think.  

"Hello dear one, I'm glad that we've finally met, because I've thought about you and prayed for you for so long."

As I plan Lavender Graduation, I keep remembering that each face was worth it...I don't know quite how that equation calculates out, and it doesn't take away the pain, but I know it is true.

Dear reader if there is a thing that you know in your soul that you must do for the one...even a hypothetical one, do it.  I know I was the "one" who many many people's work have made the way for, and I am grateful to them, the ones I know and do not know.

Somehow the work that all of us are doing for the one, somehow it touches us all.


  1. Thank you for sharing this, and for your courage and love. I see you.

    1. Thanks Darleen, this one was definitely one that needed to just be put out there, it helps knowing that others can carry the memory with me.



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