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Careers

Neil Patrick Harris Covers ‘Out’ With His Love Story

Lifted from: DanNation.Org

“There’s something kinetic about him and his being. He’s classically sexy, yet he’s very much a boy in his energy. It’s a great dynamic. When I see people who are equally attractive, they tend to seem more quiet and kind of Marlboro Man-y, and David’s the antithesis of that. He’s more like Tigger. I’m, in turn, very introspective — the thinker, rather than the doer. I tend to weigh options before making decisions, and David is the polar opposite of that. We’re hyper similar and also incredibly opposite. We share a wardrobe. We have the same shoe size, body size, height, and weight. We’re both Gemini. We both like the idea of family — not a nuclear family, but a social family. Yet, we’re incredibly opposite in the way we process information.”

Neil Patrick Harris on partner David Burtka, in Out magazine.

I love this piece. Hubby and I are very similar. I will have to get a copy of this.


Hiding Place

There is a crawl space underneath the house where I have stored newspapers and books and I find myself wiggling myself into that space to get away from it all. I am surrounded with old news print and old musty volumes of books I haven’t read in ages, yet I need to have my library around me.

There are people around that have been trying to gain access to my hiding place, trying to coax me out of hiding, and yet I persist in my desire not to be found. It is a comfy place to be, where I can sit and listen to my heart beat, the papers drown out all sound from the outside, which is a distraction to my meditations.

I have been having nightmares as of late and I find myself retreating into my cubby hole for safety, the emotional roller coaster is speeding down the track and it is all I can do to hold on and stay in my seat.

******

“Chase dreams often stem from feelings of anxiety in your walking life. The way we respond to anxiety and pressure in real life is typically manifested as a chase dream. Running is an instinctive response to physical threats in our environment. Often in these dream scenarios, you are being pursued by some attacker, who wants to hurt or possibly kill you.

You are running away, hiding, or trying to outwit your pursuer. Chase dreams may represent your way of coping with fears, stress or various situations in your waking life. Instead of confronting the situation, you are running away and avoiding it.�Ask yourself who is the one chasing you and you may gain some understanding and insight on the source of your fears and pressure.”

******

I don’t feel like I am running from anything, but I’ve been feeling terribly hormonal as of late, I spent the evening yesterday searching information on adoptions – just a look see. I’ve received some good feedback from friends I have spoken to about my desire to have children.

I know we are in no way or shape economically or logistically ready to bring another life under our roof at this time, and that this desire is going to be a long term goal, but I must admit that with my medical history, I am not a very good candidate, although we shall see.

******
I am a jumbled mess of emotions and I am unsettled and my brain in running in ten different directions at once, and for the life of me I cannot figure out what has triggered this reaction in me.

I mean, seriously, do you know that they are playing Christmas music in stores here in the city! The weather is miserably cold and rainy and once again, there is snow in the forecast for Friday, let us pray.

I’ve been working on my meditations, well,  I don’t call working, “working” but I spend ample time each day trying to still my soul and remember to breathe. I have to repeat the stay in my day mantra:

roof over my head – food in the fridge – bed to sleep in – all is well
roof over my head – food in the fridge – bed to seep in – all is well

Breathe in – and exhale, Breathe in – and exhale …

******
I can feel a change coming on, life is about to make a sharp shift in some way, I am searching out the possibilities, new opportunities, and places to live. I am wanting to uproot myself from where I am and move to somewhere I think I need to be, and that is not a usual feeling for me. I am having that “the grass is greener in another pasture” feeling… and I know I should pay attention to it and I don’t have to entertain it perse, but it is there.

Along with my chase dreams, they also include death and this is what my dictionary says about that:

“To dream of your own death, indicates a transitional phase in your life. You are becoming more enlightened or spiritual. Alternatively, you are trying desperately to escape the demands of your daily life.

To dream that you die in your dream, symbolizes inner changes, transformation, self-discovery and positive development that is happening within you or in your life. Although such a dreams may bring about feelings of fear and anxiety, it is no cause for alarm and is often considered a positive symbol.

******

Dreams of experiencing your own death usually means that big changes are ahead for you. You are moving on to new beginnings and leaving the past behind. These changes does not necessarily imply a negative turn of events. Metaphorically, dying can be seen as an end or a termination to your old ways and habits. So, dying does not always mean a physical death, but an ending of something.”

So I am correct in saying that I feel a transition is on the horizon, I even threw down my cards to try and figure out what was going on and they spoke the same as well. I know that listening to that psychic voice inside of me is very useful, because it usually is never wrong.

I think I am bored of school, and I am longing for an adventure in a new location, a change of scenery, I think it boils down to the fact that as of late I have been entertaining the thought of

“What about me???”

It is a very selfish thought in some cases, and it is something that helped define for me what it meant to become a man, I had to put the needs of another before my own and stop asking “what about me.” As of late, I am tired of putting everybody first in my life and doing the next right thing. I want to sit in “what about me” for as long as I like, but I am not sure that that is really the right thing to do.

The holidays are coming quickly here in our city. The hustle and bustle has begun, and November has not even ended yet. God help us all.

The good thing about this holiday is that I will be working on Christmas night and new years night, which will be sweet. That is a change I am looking forward to. School is winding down and in a few weeks it will all be over for this semester. Thank God for small miracles.

That’s where I am today…

Sometimes I think it is good to be unsettled because I can feel the myriad of emotions that are coursing through my veins, and I know that

“This too shall pass…”


My Daddy told me …

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“That once you speak your words, you cannot take them back…”

I guess I grew up because I find myself thinking about my father and I have adopted many of his sayings, because he was right. Not that I, for the most part, ignored what he told me or my brother. Even if we are estranged, I must admit that I find myself standing in his shoes on the odd occasion, and I find myself looking at the world through his eyes.

I want to talk about Responsibility.

When we are children, we are not really responsible for much. We have to do our chores, keep our rooms clean and help with the dishes and yard work, if you were like me. The older I got the more responsibility I attained. I had to grow up faster than I had ever expected. All of those stories are already written.

I was talking to a friend earlier, and he said that because of depression, he takes things personally for the most part. This thought has been running through my head all afternoon while I was doing my house work, while watching Oprah. Yes, I know, I am such a housewife! UGH!!

Many years ago, I was in massive therapy. I had a shrink, and I had a therapist. I was on medication after medication. I ran the list of pills through the P.D.R. [physicians desk reference] it was not pretty. I wanted off the wheel of massive depression. For many years I used the excuse of depression to justify my actions and my decisions. I used my illness to legitimate everything that I did not want to do, and also to legitimate the way I was acting.

Living with AIDS, brought with it certain disabilities. Those that were pronounced and those that were not so easy to detect. It took me a long time to work out of my depression and start to live again. I have to say that for the first five years, i was running on auto-pilot because others believed for me, that there was life after death.

Then there is addiction, alcoholism, the abusive things I did to myself, and others, because I was in a bad way. I am hurting so – I am going to hurt me! insane, but it happened. Even through the darkest times of depression and sickness, Todd always made me accountable for my actions, accountable for my partnership, accountable to my Will to Live.

I could no longer hide behind my illness. I could no longer use my depression to limit the things I could do. The longer I live with AIDS the more I learn about myself, and what I can and cannot do. There are things that I must pat heed to. I must pay attention to my body – all the time, every day that goes by.

I have moved from being utterly unable to get out of bed for days at a time. For some strange reasons that I cannot explain, I have never revisited the utter and abject sickness that framed my life for the first five years after my diagnosis. I have had bad times over the last 6 years. AIDS is funny that way.

It doesn’t matter what day it is, or what is going on in my life, but there are days when I reach bottom physically, mentally or emotionally. It takes a lot of work to stay “UP” all the time. Maintaining this UP life is not a cakewalk. My friends all agree that if you didn’t know – the [unknown – unknown] that I Had AIDS or specifically told you that I was gay, you would never know.

My doctors still say that they cannot scientifically explain why I am still alive, and why I continue to defy the odds. They do not even speculate or discuss the inner work that I have done over the last 14 plus years. I am not as strong as a normal forty year old man who can do things normally. But what is considered normal?

I am not going to kill myself working 60 to 70 hour weeks. I am not going to kill myself, trying to rush myself through University to get some looser job here in Quebec and put up with the language bullshit. I was in the grocery store earlier today, and I had a cart full of food when I approached the cash. There were two carts empty in front of the cashier bay, and so I got them and pushed them through the cash so that they could be brought to the cart area instead of causing a traffic jam, I am just like that. I always have been.

So this cute Quebec boy starts to comment that “maybe he should give me a job, and he’s quickly chattering to the cashier as he bagged my groceries.” I got the most of the conversation that I could make out, but he asked me a question that threw me linguistically, and I said “huh?” They all know I am an Anglophone, and still to this day, there are those who refuse to speak English to me, which only fuels my disdain for all things Quebecois!!

When I began to work on my issues within the milieu of depression, I became responsible for my side of the street. Now that I am sober some 24 hours, I know that I am responsible for my side of the street. There is just so much hiding I can do behind my “Diseases.” If I have a bad day, and I miss class or I get sick, or I am feeling physically sick that all I want to do is sleep, I must pay attention to that, because if I don’t I am going to end up in worse shape for fighting my body’s response to whatever … Living with AIDS is just a crap shoot at times.

I have my good days and my bad days emotionally. I just cannot take pills that up my mood or help moderate the roller coaster, and not do the work required of me to maintain the shiny exterior you see here in my writing and in real life – if you are part of my living circle of friends and family. I can’t use the excuse that “Oh, I am depressed, so I can act or react in this manner, and blame my attitude on my state of depression.” This was not an easy lesson to learn. In the beginning I had no self worth and I didn’t know what it meant to ‘know’ how to be strong for myself.

Putting up with asshole social service workers, shitty case managers, fucked up government secretaries and managers and ‘care-LESS” health care workers forced me to learn how to use my negatives as fuel for the positives. Many people lost jobs and many ignorant and arrogant people faced me on a bad day and I showed no mercy. AIDS is not merciful. AIDS doesn’t grant one courtesy or privilege. I will never be cured of a disease that wreaks havoc with my insides and if you are supposed to be accountable, and you fail me, there is no forgiveness or mercy, especially when my life is on the table.

I have been told that I am cold, arrogant and short with people. I have been told by some that I have an ego that needs to be destroyed. it is true that I ignore dissension on this blog, that if you send me a comment and I don’t like it, I just hit delete. I don’t usually ignore comments as they come in, except of course if you are an evangelical Christian, or an ignorant fuck who thinks they know more than I do about myself or my life or my responsibilities as an Alumni, a Student or a human being living with AIDS.

Depression causes unmentionable suffering. Unless you know from depression in its worst form, you will never be able to identify just how utterly debilitating depression can be. For me, I went from being a free spirit to become an agoraphobic and learning to trust people again after my massive relapse trip to hell and back, and my eventual recovery. Depression is a bitch. But it doesn’t rule my life.

I have become Master over my illnesses to a point.

Just when I think that I have them conquered, for a few days, I am reminded in one way or another that illness owns my ass until I am dead. I get maybe 7 good days in a row, still to this day, prior to the battery needing serious time in a regeneration alcove! I cannot go full steam all the time, every day, 24-7 every week.

When hubby had his nervous breakdown and was diagnosed with Bi-Polar disorder, I knew what that was. Yet Bi-Polar was a known-unknown. I had a relationship with a bi-polar lunatic who tried to kill me, so I knew what bi-polar was. What I did not know was the return trip to sanity for my husband. We did not know how long it would take to get the medications right. I was in the dark for ten months. TEN MONTHS. Thank God for men of faith and late night radio and my blog. I walked this journey with my husband with the help of truly gifted people who are family today.

We began to Master the Depression. Every day we worked. Every day we prayed. Hubby did a lot of sleeping in those ten months he was down and I did everything that needed to be done for both of us. There is no ego when you are feeding, cleaning and caring for a sick significant other, there is no ego when you are alone in the dark sobbing because the pain and grief of sickness is so deep that you cannot see the way out. There is no ego when all you have is your faith and your wherewith all.

I have a sincere respect for illness. I have a sincere fear of AIDS, My Alcoholism and for Pain. I can tell you that caring for sick people is a fine art. It is not something I take lightly. And its not something I invite into my life without thinking through my abilities. Walk a day in our shoes and see if your ego is not broken, destroyed and obliterated. Then you must also consider how [WE] who are sick are broken, destroyed and obliterated dealing with our respective illnesses. How hard it is to rebuild from brokenness. How long that rebuilding process takes.

I remember after ten months of drug treatment, trial and error dosing and pill after pill, I did not know if my hubby would survive another round of testing another medication, because he was pretty catatonic for so long – he had been down for so long, I did not know if he had the will or the energy to fight back. So everything I had emotionally, physically and mentally, I had to pour into him, basing everything I knew on what I had been through dealing with my AIDS diagnosis and situation over the last twelve years and my coming back from the pit of despair in my depression, at that point in our lives.

I remember that night, in September of 2004, when after ten months of waiting, crying, sobbing and praying my despair was brought to an end. Miraculously, as if God himself stepped out of heaven and came into our home, and lifted hubby off the sofa, softly and gently, took him by the hand and said, “Rise, Let us be on our way!”

There was much jubilation and celebration in my support team. I, myself was so tired that it took everything I had to take it all in. It was just an unbelievable sight. With hubby being absent for so many months, life went on without him. I just did not stop living because he was down. I kept going, I kept learning, going to school, I was hitting meeting after meeting, I was being fed spiritually and emotionally. The rebuilding of my hubby’s life began in earnest.

He had much ground to make up. And there arose a resentment in his mind that I was doing all these things keeping myself busy during all the down time. I had filled my life with things to do while he was out of sight and mind. Depression does that to people. Depression can destroy relationships – it can destroy families.

Those who lived through an absent spouse, father, husband, wife or partner. While you were busy suffering from depression as you may have done, the rest of us had to keep living. We rebuilt lives inside the empty spaces you created in our lives by your absence. So now you must respect the boundaries we set up and now [You] who are now back from the dead, must navigate your way back into our lives. Sometimes that does not happen as we want it to happen or as quick as you’d like, and we may not get fully re-assimilated, and we have to either deal with reality or ignore it to the point that it wrecks a relationship.

It is a good thing we had medical and support teams at the ready to take over as hubby began to rebuild his life after being gone for so long. I had to have strength for both of us. I had to be guide for both of us, along side the professionals who helped us both rebuild lost time and hurt feelings, resentments were worked out in the meetings. I had to be above ego and self concern and self centeredness.

By the time [that day] came around, I was so broken emotionally that I had to rebuild my life as well. I had to rework my husband into my life. I had to find the balance between school, life, my own illness and my own issues and our home life. I could not hide behind my diseases. I could not hide behind AIDS, or even for a moment blame my inability to cope on depression or ignorance.

There was no time to hide. There was no time for ego, I had to step up because I committed to my relationship before we ever spoke a vow to each other. Vows would come two months later – the greatest celebration in our lives, in the lives of our friends who carried me for months on end, and still do to this day, and our family.

To this day, none of our family members know the depth of sickness that occurred prior to our wedding day. We chose not to tell them because it would have been too much on top of their dealing with their son being gay and getting married. We still had to contend with people’s insecurities about us kissing at our own wedding. We still had to contend with family that did not have regular daily contact with homosexuals.

You see, our problems did not stop at depression and Aids, it went much further because of ignorance, stupidity and arrogance. In the end we choreographed our wedding down to the placement of steps on the floor and where people were seated specifically, and we orchestrated a fine dance of positions as to lessen the impact of a homosexual kiss on the tender sensibilities of our family and guests…

There was a lot riding on our wedding day.

As we grew back together, there were no excuses to be made. No hiding to be done. No shame to be assessed, no blame to be pointed, and no resentments to be levied. Life picked up speed and continued to pick up speed as hubby worked his way back to full steam, which took another nine months.

He could not hide behind his illness, he had hidden for long enough. We were going to face this head on and grow up and learn to be accountable, responsible and maintain some semblance of normalcy. Hubby had to relearn what it meant to be responsible. He had to relearn how to shop, pay bills, and live in normal society living with [massive amounts] of bi-polar medication that he was on the manage his manic depression.

Then it was the [roller coaster] from hell as we began to manage the high-highs and the low-lows. We had to chart the cycles you see hubby was not only bi-polar but additionally they told us [rapid cycling] what the hell was that? Well, we found that out soon enough.

In sobriety, we learn to live in the moment, and to stay in our days, and to pray and ask God’s help in the dark spots. We did a lot of that. There was no hiding. And I did not allow hiding. I was here through the darkness, so you are awake now, so stay awake.

I had to be sure of myself. I needed the answers before the questions were asked. I had to know what was coming next – I had to know as much as I could before everyone else. It was a good thing that people were there to help educate me, people who listened and assisted when they could.

Depression, like AIDS is a disability. At least they are here in Canada. Four years on we can never predict the precise cycle and how long it will last. We cannot predict with precision, when my body is going to revolt, as it does on the odd occasion. And we have learned that you cannot hide behind an illness. That only goes so far. You can’t use the trump card, during all poker games.

Once you decide that you are going to live, to your highest degree with integrity and authenticity, there is no going back. One cannot fall back on old behavior. One cannot return to the past, but the past becomes a stepping stone into the future. You cannot hide in the here and now. God is watching you. You keep the trump card in your back pocket, and use it sparingly and only in emergencies or at times when it is most useful to yourself or to someone else who might need a good dose of “fucking reality!!!”

We have learned that Bi-polar people can be brilliant and they can be very self destructive as well. If one allows a cycle to get out of control, destruction and total meltdown, is never far away. It is unethical to hide inside sickness, unless of course you are terminally ill and one is marked for death. No one knows when the appointed day will come, so we must live with integrity, life and strength, even when we are tired, because if you don’t live for the now, it may not be here later. You might miss something along the way you were supposed to see, learn or experience.

When you are dead, there will be time to sleep.

Battling disease is really hard, battling AIDS is a fight, even if you don’t see it, I see it. Even if I look good on the outside, you really don’t know the work that goes into my ability to present to you a calm, cool, and collected man. It is easier these days and in the same breath is is more difficult, because the older I get, I fixate on the ‘when!’ I am always cognizant of the fact that at any moment AIDS could rear its ugly head, like it did to all of my friends who are long since dead, and take me too…

We cannot hide from disease or depression and we should never allow it to Master us as humans, we always have to be ahead of the eight ball and that takes years of conscious work. Good people you trust and learning how to behave your way to success. The more you do it, the easier it becomes. This job is not for the feint of heart or the weak, only the strong survive. Do not be overtaken by the tidal wave of depression or illness.

I know there are cases that are unimaginable. I know there are illnesses that people will never recover from. I know there are illnesses that will kill us. Will kill me in the end. You cannot cheat death, ignore death or remain apathetic about death.

What I have learned in as many years is this, you must live, and live well, to the best of your ability, because there are people like us out here who have conquered disease and we can show you the way as well. All you have to do is ask. And we will gratefully help you. You cannot keep the gift unless you give it away. I have said a lot of words tonight, and there is nothing I want to take back here.

For those who do not know sickness from a hole in the wall, the next time you desire to call us out or point a finger remember,

“Once you speak your words, you can never take them back!”

He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.

Micah 6:8


Report: Anglican Head To Meet ‘In Secret’ With Gays

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THIS is NEWS!!! 

by 365Gay.com Newscenter Staff

(London) The leader of the world’s Anglicans reportedly with conduct a “secret” communion service in London for gay clergy and their partners.

The Times newspaper in an article to be published on Tuesday says that Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams will hold the service at St Peter’s, Eaton Square. The parish is home to many of the country’s liberal and wealthy Anglican elite.

The paper said the service will take place on November 29 and include an address by the Archbishop that is titled “Present realities and future possibilities for lesbians and gay men in the Church.”

Those attending will be there by invitation only, the Times notes, adding that they have been warned not to disclose any of the events or discussions which take place.

A list of those attending has been vetted by the Archbishop’s staff and and will be shredded.

Disclosure of the service will likely acerbate the already deep wounds between Anglican liberals and conservatives as the church appears to be inching closer to schism.

This week Williams will attend the Episcopal House of Bishops meeting in New Orleans. 

The meeting comes  just ten days before a deadline imposed by conservative Anglican factions around the world for the Episcopal Church to guarantee it will not appoint any more openly gay bishops.

Tensions between liberals and conservatives in the worldwide Anglican Church have been increasing since the Episcopal Church consecrated its first openly gay bishop, V. Gene Robinson of New Hampshire, in 2003.

Anglicanism’s national churches, called provinces. are loosely bound to one another in the Anglican Communion with the Archbishop of Canterbury its titular head.  Appointed by the Queen on the advice of the British government, the Archbishop is little more than a figurehead.

Rowan William’s tenure has been marked by growing differences between right and left in the Church – seen mainly as a struggle between those provinces in the Developing World and those in Industrialized Nations.

Conservatives, led by Nigerian Archbishop Peter Akinola, oppose gays and females in the clergy, and believe in the literal interpretation of the Bible. Nigeria has the highest number of Anglican’s outside of the UK and about half of the Church’s members are in the Third World.

When he meets in New Orleans this month with American bishops Williams will attempt to work out a statement that will be acceptable to both liberals and conservatives – something most church observers say is impossible.

Earlier this month the challenge in avoiding a schism became more difficult. 

Uganda’s Anglican Archbishop Henry Luke Orombi consecrated Virginia-based conservative John Guernsey as a bishop of a breakaway Episcopal group of 33 congregations in the United States that will recognize the Church of Uganda’s authority.

In Kenya two American priests were consecrated as bishops in the US as African conservative churches continued to poach dioceses in the United States. 

 A string of conservative parishes in America have broken from the Episcopal Church and aligned themselves to the African Anglican provinces.

Last month the Episcopal diocese of Chicago included an openly lesbian priest among five nominees for bishop. 

Next year bishops from around the world are scheduled to meet in London for their once-a-decade meeting called the Lambeth Conference.

In July the steering committee for the Global South Primates, made up of churches mainly in the developing world and the most conservative in the worldwide Anglican Communion, said its bishops will boycott the meeting.  

©365Gay.com 2007


Report: Anglican Head To Meet 'In Secret' With Gays

gene_robinson.jpg

THIS is NEWS!!! 

by 365Gay.com Newscenter Staff

(London) The leader of the world’s Anglicans reportedly with conduct a “secret” communion service in London for gay clergy and their partners.

The Times newspaper in an article to be published on Tuesday says that Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams will hold the service at St Peter’s, Eaton Square. The parish is home to many of the country’s liberal and wealthy Anglican elite.

The paper said the service will take place on November 29 and include an address by the Archbishop that is titled “Present realities and future possibilities for lesbians and gay men in the Church.”

Those attending will be there by invitation only, the Times notes, adding that they have been warned not to disclose any of the events or discussions which take place.

A list of those attending has been vetted by the Archbishop’s staff and and will be shredded.

Disclosure of the service will likely acerbate the already deep wounds between Anglican liberals and conservatives as the church appears to be inching closer to schism.

This week Williams will attend the Episcopal House of Bishops meeting in New Orleans. 

The meeting comes  just ten days before a deadline imposed by conservative Anglican factions around the world for the Episcopal Church to guarantee it will not appoint any more openly gay bishops.

Tensions between liberals and conservatives in the worldwide Anglican Church have been increasing since the Episcopal Church consecrated its first openly gay bishop, V. Gene Robinson of New Hampshire, in 2003.

Anglicanism’s national churches, called provinces. are loosely bound to one another in the Anglican Communion with the Archbishop of Canterbury its titular head.  Appointed by the Queen on the advice of the British government, the Archbishop is little more than a figurehead.

Rowan William’s tenure has been marked by growing differences between right and left in the Church – seen mainly as a struggle between those provinces in the Developing World and those in Industrialized Nations.

Conservatives, led by Nigerian Archbishop Peter Akinola, oppose gays and females in the clergy, and believe in the literal interpretation of the Bible. Nigeria has the highest number of Anglican’s outside of the UK and about half of the Church’s members are in the Third World.

When he meets in New Orleans this month with American bishops Williams will attempt to work out a statement that will be acceptable to both liberals and conservatives – something most church observers say is impossible.

Earlier this month the challenge in avoiding a schism became more difficult. 

Uganda’s Anglican Archbishop Henry Luke Orombi consecrated Virginia-based conservative John Guernsey as a bishop of a breakaway Episcopal group of 33 congregations in the United States that will recognize the Church of Uganda’s authority.

In Kenya two American priests were consecrated as bishops in the US as African conservative churches continued to poach dioceses in the United States. 

 A string of conservative parishes in America have broken from the Episcopal Church and aligned themselves to the African Anglican provinces.

Last month the Episcopal diocese of Chicago included an openly lesbian priest among five nominees for bishop. 

Next year bishops from around the world are scheduled to meet in London for their once-a-decade meeting called the Lambeth Conference.

In July the steering committee for the Global South Primates, made up of churches mainly in the developing world and the most conservative in the worldwide Anglican Communion, said its bishops will boycott the meeting.  

©365Gay.com 2007


All is Right in the World

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I slept in today, UGH! But I did get to my evening class with Sara, my Celtic Christianity class, which I totally enjoyed. Sara’s classes are comfy and warm and cozy that you come in and you sit and allow the feeling to wash over you that “all is well in the world.”

That doesn’t speak of an easy ride mind you, but one of conscious thought and work. I have been reading the course pack and through tonight’s discussion we have learned a few things. That there is more to Celtic life than we may have known. That each reading in the book is set in its place for a reason.

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Imagine standing before a forest, you boys out West can better understand this than I can paint a picture, but Sara used the forest imagery tonight. And I remarked how each reading, if laid upon the one prior paints a picture in successive layers of reading, and information. And the readings tease you to walk into the forest and turn leaves over looking for further clues to the real truth of the Celtic.

We are invited to start exploring the forest for clues to our study for this term. It is not all so easy, and reading about the past – we must use our lenses of hermeneutic suspicion, to read each text and article with a critical eye. I used that term tonight, and Sara giggled to the rest of the class, “oh Jeremy, you are so clever, aren’t you!” I had to explain this strategy with my fellows.

It’s all good…

And my young warrior from the West came to visit! You can check out his blog, The Life of Robert Wesley, he is a very special friend that I have known for some time.  Joy of joys he has decided to continue writing!! YAY!!

On the way home I hit “Came to Believe” in time for the second speaker, just so I had some time to sit with myself and be quiet and listen to another speak about his trials and tribulations about recovery. I just wanted to sit and listen, which is always a good thing to do when possible.

Over all is was a great night. Now I am gonna hit some dinner and chill out…

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A photograph from the Portfolio of Robert Wesley from B.C.


Baghdad Burning … (Is Safe)

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Baghdad Burning… 

Leaving Home…


Two months ago, the suitcases were packed. My lone, large suitcase sat in my bedroom for nearly six weeks, so full of clothes and personal items, that it took me, E. and our six year old neighbor to zip it closed.

Packing that suitcase was one of the more difficult things I’ve had to do. It was Mission Impossible: Your mission, R., should you choose to accept it is to go through the items you’ve accumulated over nearly three decades and decide which ones you cannot do without. The difficulty of your mission, R., is that you must contain these items in a space totaling 1 m by 0.7 m by 0.4 m. This, of course, includes the clothes you will be wearing for the next months, as well as any personal memorabilia- photos, diaries, stuffed animals, CDs and the like.

I packed and unpacked it four times. Each time I unpacked it, I swore I’d eliminate some of the items that were not absolutely necessary. Each time I packed it again, I would add more ‘stuff’ than the time before. E. finally came in a month and a half later and insisted we zip up the bag so I wouldn’t be tempted to update its contents constantly.

The decision that we would each take one suitcase was made by my father. He took one look at the box of assorted memories we were beginning to prepare and it was final: Four large identical suitcases were purchased- one for each member of the family and a fifth smaller one was dug out of a closet for the documentation we’d collectively need- graduation certificates, personal identification papers, etc.

We waited… and waited… and waited. It was decided we would leave mid to late June- examinations would be over and as we were planning to leave with my aunt and her two children- that was the time considered most convenient for all involved. The day we finally appointed as THE DAY, we woke up to an explosion not 2 km away and a curfew. The trip was postponed a week. The night before we were scheduled to travel, the driver who owned the GMC that would take us to the border excused himself from the trip- his brother had been killed in a shooting. Once again, it was postponed.

There was one point, during the final days of June, where I simply sat on my packed suitcase and cried. By early July, I was convinced we would never leave. I was sure the Iraqi border was as far away, for me, as the borders of Alaska. It had taken us well over two months to decide to leave by car instead of by plane. It had taken us yet another month to settle on Syria as opposed to Jordan. How long would it take us to reschedule leaving?

It happened almost overnight. My aunt called with the exciting news that one of her neighbors was going to leave for Syria in 48 hours because their son was being threatened and they wanted another family on the road with them in another car- like gazelles in the jungle, it’s safer to travel in groups. It was a flurry of activity for two days. We checked to make sure everything we could possibly need was prepared and packed. We arranged for a distant cousin of my moms who was to stay in our house with his family to come the night before we left (we can’t leave the house empty because someone might take it).

It was a tearful farewell as we left the house. One of my other aunts and an uncle came to say goodbye the morning of the trip. It was a solemn morning and I’d been preparing myself for the last two days not to cry. You won’t cry, I kept saying, because you’re coming back. You won’t cry because it’s just a little trip like the ones you used to take to Mosul or Basrah before the war. In spite of my assurances to myself of a safe and happy return, I spent several hours before leaving with a huge lump lodged firmly in my throat. My eyes burned and my nose ran in spite of me. I told myself it was an allergy.

We didn’t sleep the night before we had to leave because there seemed to be so many little things to do… It helped that there was no electricity at all- the area generator wasn’t working and ‘national electricity’ was hopeless. There just wasn’t time to sleep.

The last few hours in the house were a blur. It was time to go and I went from room to room saying goodbye to everything. I said goodbye to my desk- the one I’d used all through high school and college. I said goodbye to the curtains and the bed and the couch. I said goodbye to the armchair E. and I broke when we were younger. I said goodbye to the big table over which we’d gathered for meals and to do homework. I said goodbye to the ghosts of the framed pictures that once hung on the walls, because the pictures have long since been taken down and stored away- but I knew just what hung where. I said goodbye to the silly board games we inevitably fought over- the Arabic Monopoly with the missing cards and money that no one had the heart to throw away.

I knew then as I know now that these were all just items- people are so much more important. Still, a house is like a museum in that it tells a certain history. You look at a cup or stuffed toy and a chapter of memories opens up before your very eyes. It suddenly hit me that I wanted to leave so much less than I thought I did.

Six AM finally came. The GMC waited outside while we gathered the necessities- a thermos of hot tea, biscuits, juice, olives (olives?!) which my dad insisted we take with us in the car, etc. My aunt and uncle watched us sorrowfully. There’s no other word to describe it. It was the same look I got in my eyes when I watched other relatives and friends prepare to leave. It was a feeling of helplessness and hopelessness, tinged with anger. Why did the good people have to go?

I cried as we left- in spite of promises not to. The aunt cried… the uncle cried. My parents tried to be stoic but there were tears in their voices as they said their goodbyes. The worst part is saying goodbye and wondering if you’re ever going to see these people again. My uncle tightened the shawl I’d thrown over my hair and advised me firmly to ‘keep it on until you get to the border’. The aunt rushed out behind us as the car pulled out of the garage and dumped a bowl of water on the ground, which is a tradition- its to wish the travelers a safe return… eventually.

The trip was long and uneventful, other than two checkpoints being run by masked men. They asked to see identification, took a cursory glance at the passports and asked where we were going. The same was done for the car behind us. Those checkpoints are terrifying but I’ve learned that the best technique is to avoid eye-contact, answer questions politely and pray under your breath. My mother and I had been careful not to wear any apparent jewelry, just in case, and we were both in long skirts and head scarves.

The trip was long and uneventful, other than two checkpoints being run by masked men. They asked to see identification, took a cursory glance at the passports and asked where we were going. The same was done for the car behind us. Those checkpoints are terrifying but I’ve learned that the best technique is to avoid eye-contact, answer questions politely and pray under your breath. My mother and I had been careful not to wear any apparent jewelry, just in case, and we were both in long skirts and head scarves.

Syria is the only country, other than Jordan, that was allowing people in without a visa. The Jordanians are being horrible with refugees. Families risk being turned back at the Jordanian border, or denied entry at Amman Airport. It’s too high a risk for most families.

We waited for hours, in spite of the fact that the driver we were with had ‘connections’, which meant he’d been to Syria and back so many times, he knew all the right people to bribe for a safe passage through the borders. I sat nervously at the border. The tears had stopped about an hour after we’d left Baghdad. Just seeing the dirty streets, the ruins of buildings and houses, the smoke-filled horizon all helped me realize how fortunate I was to have a chance for something safer.

By the time we were out of Baghdad, my heart was no longer aching as it had been while we were still leaving it. The cars around us on the border were making me nervous. I hated being in the middle of so many possibly explosive vehicles. A part of me wanted to study the faces of the people around me, mostly families, and the other part of me, the one that’s been trained to stay out of trouble the last four years, told me to keep my eyes to myself- it was almost over.

It was finally our turn. I sat stiffly in the car and waited as money passed hands; our passports were looked over and finally stamped. We were ushered along and the driver smiled with satisfaction, “It’s been an easy trip, Alhamdulillah,” he said cheerfully.

As we crossed the border and saw the last of the Iraqi flags, the tears began again. The car was silent except for the prattling of the driver who was telling us stories of escapades he had while crossing the border. I sneaked a look at my mother sitting beside me and her tears were flowing as well. There was simply nothing to say as we left Iraq. I wanted to sob, but I didn’t want to seem like a baby. I didn’t want the driver to think I was ungrateful for the chance to leave what had become a hellish place over the last four and a half years.

The Syrian border was almost equally packed, but the environment was more relaxed. People were getting out of their cars and stretching. Some of them recognized each other and waved or shared woeful stories or comments through the windows of the cars. Most importantly, we were all equal. Sunnis and Shia, Arabs and Kurds… we were all equal in front of the Syrian border personnel.

We were all refugees- rich or poor. And refugees all look the same- there’s a unique expression you’ll find on their faces- relief, mixed with sorrow, tinged with apprehension. The faces almost all look the same.

The first minutes after passing the border were overwhelming. Overwhelming relief and overwhelming sadness… How is it that only a stretch of several kilometers and maybe twenty minutes, so firmly segregates life from death?

How is it that a border no one can see or touch stands between car bombs, militias, death squads and… peace, safety? It’s difficult to believe- even now. I sit here and write this and wonder why I can’t hear the explosions.

I wonder at how the windows don’t rattle as the planes pass overhead. I’m trying to rid myself of the expectation that armed people in black will break through the door and into our lives. I’m trying to let my eyes grow accustomed to streets free of road blocks, hummers and pictures of Muqtada and the rest…

How is it that all of this lies a short car ride away?


Connected…

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A little “Inspiration!”

This post has been running through my head for a couple of days, and I have put up some thoughts here, only to take them down, for fear that they would be read by particular readers. I feel like a school boy as of late, because I put my hand out and invited a new friend into my life, and there is a ritual to introducing new people into my circle.

Coming Out is still a daunting experience, at age 40. Every time I sit to write this post I get tongue tied and skiddish. Classes start and you try to find commonality with your peers and eventually one or two people step out of the fray and it is like God saying, “here you go, you wanted to meet new friends, well here they are!”

Over the next few days one gravitates in the direction of said people in class and you start with pleasantries and speaking to each other after class, and eventually something clicks and a friendship is summarily born. But for me, in religion and now theology circles, I am still an outsider.

Having to “Come out” to new friends is always daunting because you never know how people are going to react to your interest in them. Why would someone like me make a concerted effort to get to know someone – I can answer that question simply by stating that in listening and participating in class, “commonality” is usually my first connection to any one new that I want to get to know.

So I invite new friends to come here and read. Over the last few days many of my historical posts have been accessed from the memory banks – someone is reading about my history. My stories about being diagnosed, my life story and my AA story and as well, my parental sins page. Someone is interested in who I am by way of what has happened to me over the last fifteen years.

I proposed the “getting to know you” in the form of an invitation to my blog to break new friends in, so that they have a full understanding of where I am coming from and possibly begin dialogue and further discussions. I also invite my friends to break bread. Sharing a meal with someone is, in my book, a very important part of friendship. Many of my present friends also feel that sharing a meal is an integral part of our relationships. Going for coffee or having a meal together is a logical step in “Christian community.”

Silence is deafening.

The weekend is upon us and I haven’t heard back from my fellows and I can’t help but wonder that I have freaked them out by assuming that someone would want to engage me because of certain differences in out respective lives. Maybe I have hit a sore nerve or maybe the fact that I am observant of people and situations and I listen to what things are shared in class and outside of class.

I’ve stayed away from posting to allow my fellows to have time to read and sit with what they have read, following the traffic patterns, it seems today that the past has not been accessed in over 24 hours. I wonder what will happen if the weekend goes by and those people I have invited into my community decide not to engage. Life goes on and we must accept what people decide to do with information they have been given.

I am powerless over people, places and things…

Knowing that we are all adults and it is 2007, I was sure that we could make friends with people without having to worry about judgments or moral issues. I can’t change what has already happened and who I am today. I guess the topics of Gay, AIDS and Homosexuality will make good fodder for discussion in my Christian Ethics course, seeing we all attend this class. Maybe this will be a learning situation for everyone involved.

We all want for people to like us for who we are and not be put off by factors of our lives that they might not find acceptable. I am making assumptions here, but ant good man with HIV knows how to read signs, body language and signs. It is a gift that we were given long ago by the creator so that by peoples actions and reactions, we could judge their character and know whether to cut them loose or bring them closer.

I don’t know…

I did not expect to be emotionally caught up in this new friendship. But I am only human. They say never assume, and maybe I did assume that commonality would outweigh difference, that as adults we could find commonality and discuss what may bother us or what is bothering us already. God puts people in our paths for a reason, I guess I will have to wait and see what transpires in the coming days.

Like I said the other night,
I will be heartbroken if my fellows do not rise to the mark.


Final Thought of the Night …

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“He has told, O man, what is good, and what the LORD requires of you – to do justice, to love steadfastly, and to walk humbly with your God.” – Micah 6:8



Canadian Same-Sex Marriages Growing At 5 Times Rate Of Opposite-Sex Unions

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And WE are TWO of those 45,300 people…

by The Canadian Press

(Ottawa) Same-sex unions are growing at five times the rate of opposite-sex ones according to census numbers that also reveal, for the first time, the number of gay marriages in Canada.

Some 45,300 couples, both common law and married, reported as same-sex in the 2006 census, up from 34,200. Those numbers represent a 33 per cent surge since 2001, while heterosexual couples grew by just six per cent in the same time period.

The historic Statistics Canada query on same-sex marriage, coming in the wake of Parliament legalizing such unions in 2005, revealed 7,465 gay and lesbian marriages.

That’s considerably lower than numbers reported by the now-defunct advocacy group Canadians For Equal Marriage. The group, based on its own research of municipal records, reported last November that 12,438 marriage licenses had been granted to same-sex couples since provincial courts began recognizing such unions in 2003.

The census relegated same-sex marriages to a write-in category under the questionnaire’s ‘other’ box _ a move that raised the ire of Egale Canada. The national advocacy group responded by urging its membership to list their relationships as husband and wife.

“One box for everybody,” is how executive director Helen Kennedy described the group’s position.

“People are people and people just want the same things out of life. Your sexual orientation should not matter.”

Anne Milan, a senior analyst at Statistics Canada, stands by the accuracy of the census data but concedes the limitations of relying on the answers people provide.

“It’s the first time that we’ve asked same sex marriage so it’s really a benchmark number,” said Milan, who added it’s “difficult to say” what effect Egale’s dissent had on the numbers.

“Future census releases will allow us to compare the count and see what’s happening.”

The fact that the question was being asked at all shows that “people are getting on with their lives, which was fundamentally what the whole debate was about,” said Michael Leshner, a lawyer and one of Canada’s first legally married gay men.

“It’s really a debate that hopefully has run its course… We’re just part of the boring middle class now,” Leshner said.

According to the census, same-sex couples accounted for 0.6 per cent of all couples in Canada. That falls in line with numbers reported in the United States, New Zealand and Australia. More than half, or 54 per cent, of same-sex married Canadian spouses were men.

Some nine per cent of same-sex couples had children, more commonly in female unions (16 per cent) than male ones (three per cent). Children were present more in same-sex married couples (16 per cent) than common-law ones (eight per cent).

Clarence Lochhead of the Vanier Institute for the Family says the gay community’s successful fight for marriage reflects the desire to be accepted in the larger community.

“To the extent that you can think of the homosexual community feeling that they’re marginalized populations, I don’t think it’s all that surprising that they would want access to those forms of unions that are recognized in a much wider social community sense,” he said.

Ontario became the first province to legally recognize same-sex marriage following a 2003 decision from the Ontario Court of Appeal. Similar decisions followed in British Columbia, Quebec, Manitoba, Nova Scotia, Saskatchewan, Newfoundland and Labrador, Yukon, and New Brunswick.

On July 20, 2005, Canada became the third country in the world to legalize same-sex marriage, after the Netherlands and Belgium. Spain and South Africa have since legalized gay marriage as well.

“As my spouse Mike Starkel always says, we won. There’s nothing they can do, we won,” said Leshner.

©365Gay.com 2007


Wednesday – Week 1

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Let’s get on shall we…

Gula speaks on Moral Theology as “Reason Informed by Faith.” What are the implications of faith for the way we live, the moral choices we make, the moral persons we become.

Ethics: Theoretical Foundations for Moral Action, based on the understanding of:

  • The “Nature of the Good” – Value
  • The Human Person as “Moral Agent” – Person
  • Criteria for “Moral Judgments ” – Action
  • Ethics of “Being”: What kind of person should I become, because I believe in/follow Christ?
  • Ethics of “Doing”: WWJD to “What is God enabling and requiring me to do here and now?
  • Reason Informed by Faith
  • “Morals” – Practical Implications for Human Behavior, shaped b:
  • Fundamental convictions / religious beliefs
  • Character of the moral agent – “virtues – characteristics “Be-Attitudes”
  • Situational analysis drawing on interplay between experience and relevant norms
  • Moral norms as fruit of communal discernment, past and present

The Task of Moral Reflection: Essential Requirements

  • Sensitivity – heart
  • Reflection – mind
  • Method – integration of the two above

They say that “The Love of God and the Love of Neighbor are two facets of the same coin. When we speak about the Golden Commandment.

“Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?”He said to him,”You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and the first commandment. The second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. The whole law and the prophets depend on these two commandments.” Mt. 22:37-40
And Socrates said: “The unexamined life, is not worth living.”

Gula speaks about the Transcendental Method:

  • Experiencing: Input the Data: Be attentive
  • Understanding: What is it? Be intelligent
  • Judging: Is it so? Be reasonable
  • Deciding: What should I do? Is it the right thing to do? Be responsible
  • Acting: Will I do it? Be loving
  • “Seeing is more than looking”
  • A Need for communal reflection

With these ideas in mind we can approach certain moral topics and entertain discussion, I will not argue a point because there is enough material on this blog for you to read.

So a question is asked:

I recognize that there is something not right within me, but I do good in the community. I teach, I minister and I live rightly! Yet, I act on goodness but yet there is something not quite right within me, Do I need to stop ‘doing’ until I change internally? And should I stop until I have changed?

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I take this spiritual approach to change: Awareness is the first step for evolution to take place.

In Order to BE you must DO, but also, In Order to DO you must BE!

I believe that if you recognize that there is something not quite right, and you are aware of that ‘not just right’ then you can begin the process of personal transformation. The behave your way to success model always works for me. The more you ‘do it’ the better ‘it’ feels and eventually that ‘not quite right’ will become ‘right.’

Everyone has personal truth and we are imperfect beings, and everyone struggles, even Jesus struggled. But Jesus, in the book of Matthew says:

“Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

One must walk the journey. No one can walk it for you. And in our life we know that you can step off the path that God has set for you, but eventually the voice beckons and speaks softly to us, “I am still here, Waiting on You!” And I will wait patiently for you, You are not alone.

We all know the way into the Seminary. How we discerned the call, by prayer, work and proper guidance from our spiritual directors. And we also are aware of the many reasons that one would leave the seminary. But as long as we stay connected to God and we work on the art of Doing and Being, discernment usually follows. Nothing would surprise me, and You’re not alone…

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I pray for my friends and my peers. I had a meeting with my Graduate Adviser this afternoon and he set me straight on my mandate for the next year. He said that I should focus on my studies and find a project to work on in the meantime. There will be a meet and greet in the Theology department in the coming days – because I told him I was feeling a little disconnected. He told me that the ‘Certificates’ are usually lost through the cracks and he will do what he can to help connect us to the department at large, which is focused on Graduate and Masters students. I am hoping my new friends will join us and we can talk again. Or you can always contact me through my blog.

I’ve added another course to my academic schedule, Celtic Christianity with Sara Terreault, I took her Spirituality course over the Summer, we chatted this evening and I got a space in her class which is on Monday nights. So I am back to 9 credits which still meets my full time requirements. I am excited about this addition to my schedule. So that’s all I have to say for tonight. I am off for the rest of the week now!

Yay !!!


Rosh Hashanah

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In the seventh month, on the first of the month, there shall be a sabbath for you, a remembrance with shofar blasts, a holy convocation. –Leviticus 16:24

Rosh Hashanah begins at sundown on September 12, the first of Tishri. L’shanah tovah tikatev v’taihatem — May you be inscribed and sealed for a good year.

I also learned that there is more than one “New Year’s Day” in the Jewish calendar — sort of like we have a new fiscal year and a new school year in ours: “In Judaism, Nissan 1 is the new year for the purpose of counting the reign of kings and months on the calendar, Elul 1 (in August) is the new year for the tithing of animals, Shevat 15 (in February) is the new year for trees (determining when first fruits can be eaten, etc.), and Tishri 1 (Rosh Hashanah) is the new year for years (when we increase the year number. Sabbatical and Jubilee years begin at this time).” [From Judaism 101 website on the holiday]

Thanks Michael…


Andy’s memory of September 11th

The Last Debate: Andy’s story …  

What I remember most is the silence.

Tuesday, September 11, 2001, began like every other day.

I was running a little bit late for work at my temp job on the Upper East Side, but it was a casual environment so despite the time I went ahead and walked across Central Park instead of catching the M79 bus to 5th Avenue because the weather was spectacular. It was warm but not especially humid, and the sky was a royal blue. There wasn’t a cloud to be seen.

It was about quarter to nine.

I had my Discman with me (no iPods yet) and was listening to the second act of Parsifal (the Karajan, with Vejzovic and Hofmann) as I took my usual loop around the top of the Great Lawn, with its famous panoramic view of the wall of midtown skyscrapers rising from the tree-lined perimeter of the park. I was just approaching the lawn when a distraught-looking man tried to get my attention as he pointed southward to the sky. I figured he was just another looney, so I ignored him.

But a few steps later, I glanced out toward the city and noticed a small, black cloud over the tops of the towers, which like an inkblot began to spread ominously over the skyline.

At that time of day, the park is filled with unleashed dogs and their owners. At the top of the oval path, a few of us gathered to speculate: obviously a building was on fire somewhere. “Hope everyone’s all right,” someone said.

Then a park worker drove up in his big green pickup. “Do you know what’s going on?” we asked him. “They say a plane flew into the World Trade Center,” he replied.

We looked at the crystalline sky. What? How, on a day like today, could someone possibly fly into a building? I don’t think any of us were thinking airliner. And we were certainly thinking accident. The guy turned up the volume on the truck’s radio.

“Okay, ladies and gentlemen…we’re…we’re getting an unconfirmed report that a second plane has struck the second tower,” the incredulous voice on the radio said.

Among the small group that had gathered to watch, there were various responses of “Nah, no way,” “Someone’s confused,” “Couldn’t be,” “Just a rumor,” and things to that effect.

Then the voice spoke again: “Yes, ladies and gentlemen, I can confirm it now, a second airliner has struck the second tower. Both World Trade Center towers are on fire.

Silence.

You know that phrase, “weak in the knees”? In that awful moment, it became clear, without anyone having to say it, that the city was under attack. People were dead. A lot of people were dead. As I turned again to see the expanding plume of smoke speeding toward Brooklyn, my stomach clutched and my head reeled as I steadied myself on the fence surrounding the lawn.

Our small group dispersed quickly and silently.

As I headed toward my job on 75th Street, I passed a playground on the south side of the Metropolitan Museum of Art; toddlers were running and swinging and chasing each other and squealing with joy, while Caribbean nannies and stay-at-home moms sat peacefully on benches in the shade. I envied them their collective innocence, short-lived as it was about to be.

By the time I reached the job, the Pentagon had been struck, as well, and the media were warning of hundreds of airliners still in the sky. As the company was housed in a national historic landmark, we soon received a phonecall from the police ordering us to evacuate.

The subways were closed and the buses were mobbed, so there was nothing for it but to begin the seven-and-a-half mile walk home, and I headed across Central Park once again. The noxious plume from the catastrophe, like the darkness that wends its way out of Mordor before the final siege of Minas Tirith, hung like a banner of death over the city: the funeral pyre of nearly 3,000 innocents.

No one was walking their dog in the park now. No children were playing.

At the corner of 86th and Central Park West, an elderly man was standing in front of the building, tears running down his face. “It fell down,” he said to me, his voice quaking and cracking with anguish.

“What?” I asked, unsure of what I’d heard.

“The tower…it fell down.” My mind could not wrap itself around the imagined vision of a 110-story skyscraper, a global icon, falling down. I simply could not picture it; could not accept it as belonging to the realm of the possible.

When I reached Broadway, the owners of a bodega had set a television set on folding chair on the sidewalk so passersby could see the news. I had missed the collapse of the second tower by seconds; all that was visible was that awful, boiling grey cloud of debris where there ought to have been gleaming silver buildings.

The city had been sealed off; the bridges and tunnels were closed, and there was nothing for anyone to do but go home (if you could). There was hardly any traffic at all on Broadway, save the occasional loaded cab or jam-packed bus. Now and then there would be an ambulance, sirens wailing.

What was remarkable was the silence. No one spoke. There was no music playing anywhere. Only sirens.

Two and a half hours later I reached my apartment. I called my parents to let them know I was okay, and then spent the rest of the afternoon in stunned, silent grief, nauseous and scared, as I wondered what was next, and tried to come to terms with the discovery that there were people in the world who wanted to kill me.

I would spend nearly six years wondering what was next. From that moment on, I never once set foot on a bus or a subway or a plane or stepped inside a theater or any other public place and didn’t worry about a bomb or other atrocity. Though I had been, thankfully, far from the World Trade Center at the time and never in any danger, I began to have nightmares and panic attacks. On the subway, my chest would constrict, my heart would begin to ache and I’d have to get off at the next stop and walk around above ground until the nausea went away. I was often late for work.

Some days I called in sick, because I just couldn’t get on the train.

Once I fled a performance at the Metropolitan Opera, mid-aria. The sweat began pouring down my brow and the familiar, tight-chested “I think I want to puke” sensation overtook me, and I headed for the exit.

I think it’s no coincidence that I lost my voice in 2002.

I don’t speak often of these things. It hurts to remember; it hurts to remember a day when strangers came among us, into the heart of my beautiful, beloved city, to hurt us. To kill people, to incinerate them in a blinding red-orange flash, or to strand them with the options of leaping to their deaths or waiting for 100 ceilings to come crashing down on top of them. It hurts to remember how this tragedy was appropriated to justify a war of utter insanity. It hurts to remember the previously unknown anxiety that began to haunt me daily, manifested in a physical disorder which, slowly, night by night as I suffered through recurring nightmares of being blown apart on the subway, dismantled my dreams and a decade of hard work, literally eating away my career aspirations in baths of stomach acid.

Now, 3000 miles and six years later, I realize that in many ways, I’m still fleeing the attack.

Eternal Rest Grant them, and may Perpetual Light shine upon them…
Thank you Andy


Andy's memory of September 11th

The Last Debate: Andy’s story …  

What I remember most is the silence.

Tuesday, September 11, 2001, began like every other day.

I was running a little bit late for work at my temp job on the Upper East Side, but it was a casual environment so despite the time I went ahead and walked across Central Park instead of catching the M79 bus to 5th Avenue because the weather was spectacular. It was warm but not especially humid, and the sky was a royal blue. There wasn’t a cloud to be seen.

It was about quarter to nine.

I had my Discman with me (no iPods yet) and was listening to the second act of Parsifal (the Karajan, with Vejzovic and Hofmann) as I took my usual loop around the top of the Great Lawn, with its famous panoramic view of the wall of midtown skyscrapers rising from the tree-lined perimeter of the park. I was just approaching the lawn when a distraught-looking man tried to get my attention as he pointed southward to the sky. I figured he was just another looney, so I ignored him.

But a few steps later, I glanced out toward the city and noticed a small, black cloud over the tops of the towers, which like an inkblot began to spread ominously over the skyline.

At that time of day, the park is filled with unleashed dogs and their owners. At the top of the oval path, a few of us gathered to speculate: obviously a building was on fire somewhere. “Hope everyone’s all right,” someone said.

Then a park worker drove up in his big green pickup. “Do you know what’s going on?” we asked him. “They say a plane flew into the World Trade Center,” he replied.

We looked at the crystalline sky. What? How, on a day like today, could someone possibly fly into a building? I don’t think any of us were thinking airliner. And we were certainly thinking accident. The guy turned up the volume on the truck’s radio.

“Okay, ladies and gentlemen…we’re…we’re getting an unconfirmed report that a second plane has struck the second tower,” the incredulous voice on the radio said.

Among the small group that had gathered to watch, there were various responses of “Nah, no way,” “Someone’s confused,” “Couldn’t be,” “Just a rumor,” and things to that effect.

Then the voice spoke again: “Yes, ladies and gentlemen, I can confirm it now, a second airliner has struck the second tower. Both World Trade Center towers are on fire.

Silence.

You know that phrase, “weak in the knees”? In that awful moment, it became clear, without anyone having to say it, that the city was under attack. People were dead. A lot of people were dead. As I turned again to see the expanding plume of smoke speeding toward Brooklyn, my stomach clutched and my head reeled as I steadied myself on the fence surrounding the lawn.

Our small group dispersed quickly and silently.

As I headed toward my job on 75th Street, I passed a playground on the south side of the Metropolitan Museum of Art; toddlers were running and swinging and chasing each other and squealing with joy, while Caribbean nannies and stay-at-home moms sat peacefully on benches in the shade. I envied them their collective innocence, short-lived as it was about to be.

By the time I reached the job, the Pentagon had been struck, as well, and the media were warning of hundreds of airliners still in the sky. As the company was housed in a national historic landmark, we soon received a phonecall from the police ordering us to evacuate.

The subways were closed and the buses were mobbed, so there was nothing for it but to begin the seven-and-a-half mile walk home, and I headed across Central Park once again. The noxious plume from the catastrophe, like the darkness that wends its way out of Mordor before the final siege of Minas Tirith, hung like a banner of death over the city: the funeral pyre of nearly 3,000 innocents.

No one was walking their dog in the park now. No children were playing.

At the corner of 86th and Central Park West, an elderly man was standing in front of the building, tears running down his face. “It fell down,” he said to me, his voice quaking and cracking with anguish.

“What?” I asked, unsure of what I’d heard.

“The tower…it fell down.” My mind could not wrap itself around the imagined vision of a 110-story skyscraper, a global icon, falling down. I simply could not picture it; could not accept it as belonging to the realm of the possible.

When I reached Broadway, the owners of a bodega had set a television set on folding chair on the sidewalk so passersby could see the news. I had missed the collapse of the second tower by seconds; all that was visible was that awful, boiling grey cloud of debris where there ought to have been gleaming silver buildings.

The city had been sealed off; the bridges and tunnels were closed, and there was nothing for anyone to do but go home (if you could). There was hardly any traffic at all on Broadway, save the occasional loaded cab or jam-packed bus. Now and then there would be an ambulance, sirens wailing.

What was remarkable was the silence. No one spoke. There was no music playing anywhere. Only sirens.

Two and a half hours later I reached my apartment. I called my parents to let them know I was okay, and then spent the rest of the afternoon in stunned, silent grief, nauseous and scared, as I wondered what was next, and tried to come to terms with the discovery that there were people in the world who wanted to kill me.

I would spend nearly six years wondering what was next. From that moment on, I never once set foot on a bus or a subway or a plane or stepped inside a theater or any other public place and didn’t worry about a bomb or other atrocity. Though I had been, thankfully, far from the World Trade Center at the time and never in any danger, I began to have nightmares and panic attacks. On the subway, my chest would constrict, my heart would begin to ache and I’d have to get off at the next stop and walk around above ground until the nausea went away. I was often late for work.

Some days I called in sick, because I just couldn’t get on the train.

Once I fled a performance at the Metropolitan Opera, mid-aria. The sweat began pouring down my brow and the familiar, tight-chested “I think I want to puke” sensation overtook me, and I headed for the exit.

I think it’s no coincidence that I lost my voice in 2002.

I don’t speak often of these things. It hurts to remember; it hurts to remember a day when strangers came among us, into the heart of my beautiful, beloved city, to hurt us. To kill people, to incinerate them in a blinding red-orange flash, or to strand them with the options of leaping to their deaths or waiting for 100 ceilings to come crashing down on top of them. It hurts to remember how this tragedy was appropriated to justify a war of utter insanity. It hurts to remember the previously unknown anxiety that began to haunt me daily, manifested in a physical disorder which, slowly, night by night as I suffered through recurring nightmares of being blown apart on the subway, dismantled my dreams and a decade of hard work, literally eating away my career aspirations in baths of stomach acid.

Now, 3000 miles and six years later, I realize that in many ways, I’m still fleeing the attack.

Eternal Rest Grant them, and may Perpetual Light shine upon them…
Thank you Andy


Monday Night …

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I got some mail from London today and in it was a really wonderful gift from my Big Sis, needless to say I was amazed and overjoyed. I have really great family and friends, all over the world. It is far easier to love one another than to criticize or be hateful. So this little note starts off my gratitude list for tonight. Thanks Sis…

  • I didn’t drink today
  • I hit a meeting
  • I had a great day in class this morning
  • I saw some new friends
  • I did some writing earlier
  • I have great friends
  • I have a great life
  • Tomorrow is my Home Group
  • And I am right, and I am happy!!

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 “Oh to be this young and beautiful – again…”

So I was trolling my reads today and I ran across this picture over on DAN NATION, it seems he’s got a new job in the valley and I spied me some Chad Fox, isn’t he a cutie? Kinda makes me want to move out to the coast and join the Sunday Brunch Crowd! I even got an invitation from Dan the man himself!! I love me some CHAD FOX!!

What could be better than a room full of beautiful men on a Sunday morning? I don’t know about you but we don’t have that many good looking men here in our fair city! OMG!!

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The Forest, I love the forest. If you get a chance go over and take a look see at COOPER’S CORRIDOR, he has some beautiful writing and photos of his family from an outing this past weekend. Cooper is another fantastic read, no one should go without every day. He breathes such joy and wonder into my day, because he is such a gifted writer. I think this weekend we shall take a meander out to the green space and take some photos of our forest in the middle of the city (we call it Mount Royal). The real forest is far, far away from here up North.

From Cooper’s Blog: one of his favorite words, Forest:
“Because it is full of promise … because it is wild … because it is fragile … because it is strong … because it sings of simply being … because it is part of my bones and blood … The forest is in my heart”

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You can go read my friends and show them some love. First we have Steve, we call him Dr. McCoy, because he’s a Trekkie! I wrote a piece earlier for Arkano, he lives in South America and he is new to our little “Bubble of Love.” My read list, over on the Blog Roll is getting ‘closer’ by the day, as I noticed that many of my friends here, read over there and they comment as well. So please, if you like to look at beautiful men, and you are interested in fantastic reads, check out my read list. I have updated all the links and I am sure everyone will appreciate your visit.

Fall is on it’s way, it is 19c here and rain is in the forecast for the next couple of days! AS is the custom here in Montreal, the weather cools off, the rain comes, then we have our fist cold snap “in the city” then the leaves start turning in earnest. This photo above is a wishful prayer for Montreal in the coming weeks.

Tonight’s meeting was an experience. I heard what I needed to hear. I spent an hour doing nothing but be present and to live in the moment. My Monday night commitment to support “Came to Believe” persists. Things I heard tonight:

  • It’s all Good
  • Live in the Moment
  • Stay in the Now
  • At any time of the journey, you are right where you are supposed to be at any given location and at any moment on the time line
  • There are no mistakes in God’s time
  • Live and Let Live
  • Easy Does It
  • But for the Grace of God
  • Think, Think, Think
  • First things First

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I took a resentment to a meeting, and I left her there. But I will close with this little blurb on the Blog Nazi!! If you have a complaint about anything you see, read or perceive on this blog, please, by all means, let me know. If I have misrepresented Concordia University in any way, I haven’t heard that from any one. My disability and my student status is between my doctor, myself, my husband, my department, the government and the University and NO ONE ELSE! What I do with my education is my business. If you don’t like something on this blog, there are certainly other blogs for you to read. I am not changing my presentation or writing for anyone, even YOU Rebbecca.

They say in AA that acceptance is the KEY to all of my problems, and if someone has a problem with you, that – that is a direct signal that someone has a problem with themselves. And what YOU think of me is none of my business. If I have a problem with you then I need to look at me and find out what’s wrong with me. So you got a problem, first ask yourself what that problem is, and then fuck off…

I’ve never EVER had anyone complain about something I have shared on this blog, nor posted to this, my personal web log. AND I am not going to take horse shit from some chick who has an axe to grind with me so get the fuck off my blog! Oh, that felt good!

DO YOU GET THE PICTURE???