By Rev. David Weekley
It has only been a month of Sundays since I attended Reconciling Ministries' Convocation,"Justice and Joy". It was an inspirational and literal mountain-top experience. I am thankful to every person who made this event possible. Just to be there, in community, was more than enough. To be honored by receiving the "Voice in the Wilderness" award for telling my story as a transgender clergy was an incredible honor. Returning home from this peak experience has been something like a rollercoaster.
A most vivid memory of mine is an amusement park rollercoaster. It was the corkscrew variety and climbed very high before the first steep drop. Strapped into my seat with a padded harness, I could barely move, but I could distinctly hear the 'click', 'click' of the drive-system moving us closer and closer to the pinnacle. Although I knew it was impossible I did utter a prayer to be removed from that ride. Then we were over the top and on our way. I closed my eyes a lot, and held on; there was nothing else to do. I admit, there have been moments, whole days in fact, when life felt exactly like those initial moments on that rollercoast. Like the rollercoaster ride, there was no getting off once I got on. These last four weeks have carried me, my family, and my community into a new space. This part of the journey is just beginning.
Like the rollercoaster, after the initial terror, sharing my story has been and remains an amazing experience. It is still so new I can barely express myself yet in words. But there is one wonderful result so far in this new part of the story. Over this month of Sundays, from the morning I first shared my transgender identity with my congregation I have received emails, letters, cards and other affirmations, prayer-support, and encouragement from all over the United States, and world. Most inspiring and joyful for me are the number of persons contacting me sharing their stories and sharing hope. In one situation a mother who watched the CBS interview wrote to tell me she was stuggling with her young-adult child's transition, but had found new understanding and resources from the interview. Hours later I received an email from that adult child, telling me their mother had changed her attitude and had some fears dispelled from that brief segment. To date I have received more than three hundred emails and cards. I have been able to refer many people to resources in their communities. These contacts displace any rollercoaster fears with deep gratitude and joy. All of these blessings, and it has only been a month of Sundays!