#1 -- My Journey Out: Introduction
#3 -- My Journey Out: A Revelation

#2 -- My Journey Out: Beginnings

The night before everyone kept asking when I was leaving to drive home for Christmas. "I'm going to try to leave by 6 a.m.," I would say. The women at church always responded with looks of concern. The men just kinda nodded with the acknowledgment that that was early. "Yeah that's why I'm going to rush right out after the second service," I'd say next. We have two Christmas Eve services.

Six a.m. was early. I'd been up for an hour getting cleaned up and finishing my packing. All the gifts were already in the car. I wasn't sure how long the drive would be, probably close to six hours, so I was trying to get there by noon. I hate arriving late to a family get-together. I hate being the one everyone is waiting on.

The day before I had spent mostly alone, until I went up to the church in the afternoon to help get things ready. I had spent the day cleaning the house and getting it ready for my return. I'd put the flannel sheets on the bed because they are so warm, and they make me feel like I'm being hugged. I had also got everything I could packed into the car in order to make the morning go more quickly.

Close to six I was cleaned up and dressed and the car was ready. I turned down the thermostat, left open the doors on the kitchen and bathroom sinks, took one look around and paused for a moment. When I returned all would be different.


Back in October I'd seen him again. He came to town for the weekend to spend time with his sister Sarah and her husband Lucas. They invited me to hang out with them that weekend.

I had a youth Halloween Party that Saturday night. I went dressed as "the Paint Nazi," a name the kids started calling me on the mission trip that previous summer because I'm such a stickler for painting properly. When I got to Lucas and Sarah's I changed clothes. I had brought my nice jeans and a nice shirt. Why? We were just sitting around the apartment, not even going out to do anything.

John was there; that's why. John supposedly had a crush on me. Sarah had said for years that she wanted to set me up with her brother, that we were perfect for each other. The only problem was that I was "straight" (she would have said it with the quotes). Back in the spring of 2001 I had met John for the first time at Sarah's apartment, when she and Kelli Kiser lived right next door to my house in Shawnee. At that time, I was preparing to move from Shawnee to Fayetteville. John laughs about how unattractive my outfit was that night we met -- Star Trek t- shirt, shorts that he thought were too short (though he admitted that's what folk were wearing then), and Tevas (which he doesn't like).

But why was I now dressing up for this guy? That thought bothered me for weeks.


So, on Christmas morning I was finally headed north for Miami and Grandpa's house for Christmas with the family. But all I was thinking about as I drove was John. I'd specially picked the music for the drive -- Elton John, Indigo Girls, Rufus Wainwright, etc. You see, John was coming to visit the weekend after Christmas. In two days I'd be driving back to Dallas, and John would be there that evening. For the five hours of the drive, that's all I could think about.

The Tuesday before Christmas it looked as if John wasn't going to come to Dallas. Originally, he was coming for the weekend to stay with Lucas and Sarah and to hear me preach that Sunday. On Tuesday Lucas and Sarah found out that they'd have to leave town for the weekend and go with Lucas' family to a wedding in Arizona. I was excited, because this solved my problem really. I had been wondering how I'd get a chance to talk to John if he was at Lucas and Sarah's. Now all I'd have to do was invite him to go ahead and come for the weekend and stay at my house.

That Tuesday night Sarah and Lucas came over to my house. We were sitting in the living room chatting casually when Sarah said, "You're being cruel. You know John has a crush on you and now you've invited him to stay the weekend with you." I said, "I'm not trying to be cruel." The conversation went on its way. Then they were getting ready to go when I said again "I'm not trying to be cruel, about John." Sarah looked at me. I then added, "I want to explore the possibility of a relationship with him."

Lucas was getting up about to leave and when he heard that said, "I guess we're staying. How about a drink?" So I told them the whole story.


After John's October visit I couldn't get him out of my mind. Clearly I was attracted to him and had been the previous times we'd met. He was attracted to me, at least this is what I had heard and sensed. What did this mean? And what was I going to do about it?

For years I'd told myself stories. The story of late was that I was bisexual, but was going to act on my (minimal) attraction to women because that was easier. There was some point in every single day for most of the last decade that I had rehashed this conversation in my head. Why did I have to go through it every day?

Because I think I really did know the truth. I knew that my earliest memories of sexual feelings were homoerotic. I knew that my sexual fantasies had been about men since I had begun to develop sexually in late childhood. I knew that I spent most of my adolescence racked with guilt over my sexual desires and worked as hard as I could to repress them. I knew . . . There was so much I really, really knew, but I was working so hard to deny it and live the way I was expected to.

Now faced with my attraction for John, the old stories weren't working anymore.

By mid-November I realized that there was no way I was going to avoid "this" this time. Finally I had to deal with my sexuality.

Mid-November I took a day of private retreat. There are these church members who have a gorgeous home in the Southern style. The foyer has these heavy antique English doors with brass knobs. The living room has huge comfy leather chairs and big windows that look out over the lake. When I first moved to Dallas they offered their home for private retreat space anytime I needed to get away.

Sitting in the living room of that house I prayed and meditated and thought. What was I considering? "Am I gay?," I wondered. What would happen to my life? My family? My job? Everything and everyone around me? Hours I prayed about this, spending a good deal of the time lying prostrate on the floor.

Finally I felt a peace and tranquility. Maybe what I was about to go through would be a "dark night of the soul," but I had this sense that it would be a positive transformation for me and for other people. I left there that afternoon with an overwhelming joy.

When I told her all of this, Sarah was thrilled. She was so happy for me and so happy for John. For years she had wanted us together. She said she wouldn't say anything to him, but that she would want to hear all when they got back from Arizona.


My drive to Miami didn't seem like five and one-half hours. I was in ecstasy the whole way. I kept rehearsing what I would say to him. I kept imagining how the weekend would play out. I kept dreaming about the possibilities for the future. I was hopeful that a year from then we would be making this drive together.

Christmas with the family was weird. To think what might happen within the next year. How would they respond? Would I even be spending another Christmas with my family? Would I have a family left in another year? I stayed a couple of days longer than everyone else in order to spend time with grandpa and his wife. At the time I figured that would be the last time I'd get to spend with them like that.

My high school friends and I hung out one day. I got to see Amie's new baby boy. It had been almost a year since I'd seen any of these friends, so we were doing a lot of catching up. They wanted to hear all about the break-up with the girlfriend that had occurred months before. As I recounted this story, Jason started talking about my miserable record with women. "Have you tried being gay?," he asked. I almost didn't know how to respond, but just smiled.


The drive back to Dallas was just like the drive to Miami. I never got bored; all I was thinking about was John. When I got home, I put the finishing touches on cleaning the house. Here I was, about to take this major step into a new life. Everything was about to change.


We were watching The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers. I pushed pause on the DVD player and turned to him, "I want to explore the possibility of a relationship with you." That's what I'd rehearsed. It was both the opening line and the closing line of what took most of an hour to say. I explained my sexual history, my confusion, my excitement, my worries about the future, my desires, what had happened since I'd seen him last. I asked him if he wanted to take all that on, with all the risk, becasue if so I wanted to explore that possibility with him.

He said he did. But we had to go get Tums because he was now so nervous that his stomach was upset. Once we were in the car headed for the convenience store, I reached over and touched his hand and started caressing it and had the most amazing feelings I'd ever had.


After he left that weekend I called my old college roommate, Matt. "I'm dating someone," I said. "His name is John."

Comments

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Kelly aka Daddyo

As a regular reader I am honored to share these adventures with you. It is grand that your new role at CoH has allowed the closet door to fully open. I know there are landmines ahead, but I will be praying that God will give you wisdom on how to avoid or minimize them. Please know that people you have never met love you and wholly accept you. I have linked you at my website and would defend you to the death. My heart in ministry has always been for those whom the traditional church has rejected; I can't wait to read about your work at CoH. May God bless you and give you courage and joy. Love, Kelly

Jennifer M.

I have been thinking about you all day. I have this mixture of excitement and sadness. I am excited for you to begin your new journey and your new freedom. But I am so sad to walk into that basement in two days and not see you there enjoying your regular banter with the kids. We love and accept you completely. And Jackson will be waiting for his tour of your new home. I look forward to reading your stories of this journey.

brooke

Been reading your blog for awhile now, and I just wanted to let you know that this is a beautiful post! congrats on everything, I know some people at COH and they are wonderful caring people. You'll have a wonderful time!!

Hallie

Love you, Scott.

Phil

I'll second Jennifer's comments about the void that will be left on Wednesday night. God grant us the mercy to hold it together.

marty

Attaboy, Scott.

Juan Penalosa

Scotty, I love you and your star trek tshirts and awful tevas. Coming out is not easy and certainly not into the current environ of religious persecution.

I'm also happy you didn't wait until you were in your 40's as I had somewhat expected you would. I'm around if you wanna talk about stuff, but you know that.

xo

natalie

Scooter... When I left the banquet Sunday night I couldn't see straight. I was involved in a mixture of feelings ranging from sad to pissed off to devastated to feeling completely abandoned. It was a miracle I was even able to say goodbye to you. I'm not good with goodbyes, and something like this... I just didn't know if I would even say goodbye to you. It would be too hard and I knew no matter how big the hug, it wouldn't be enough.
To be completely honest, if you had not blessed us at Royal Lane with your guidance and sense of complete acceptance, I'm not sure that I would have the faith I have today. Remember a couple of years ago, when we first sat down at Chipotle and had our first one-on-one conversation? I remember you recalling that conversation earlier this year in one of our Wednesday night meetings. You have showed me what it means to be a Christian. I love you so very much, and I hope that you will find the person you are meant to spend the rest of your life with. You know that I support you in whatever you decide in your life, and you can ALWAYS call me if you want to vent or laugh or cry. I love you. Peace be with you, Scooter.

Christen

Scott,
May you bless many peoples lives on this new phase of your journey as deeply and richly as you have blessed mine.
I love you so much. You will be so missed.

Trav

I am so happy for you, Scott. I've been completely enthralled with reading your blog lately. Even though I seldom comment on your posts, I visit your site at least 3 times a day.

Star Trek t-shirts are cool and you know it.

Julie

You're a pretty cool kid. I miss you a lot.

Analise

Wow- I am so happy for you and the numerous possibilites for you. We all will miss you so much, and never forget what you have taught us.

Christen

By the way, lucylive.blogspot.com is back up, not that it is anywhere as interesting as yours. and I need Marty's email address.

Garrett Vickrey

You used to wear shorter shorts???

barrett

im gonna be honest, im kinda glad Im in KC right now. Im not really sure how id be dealing with all of this right now if i were home. It kinda sucks that ive had to lose you and tim in one youthgroup lifetime but im so excited about your new oppurnuties, and i will be coming through OKC many times in the next three years

Tim Sean

Lose? Whaddaya mean lose?

Not to be glib, Barrett, but I've always thought it a good thing for a teenager to be in relationship with more than one youth minister in a six year span. Three may be one too many, but it gives you a different perspective and discourages personality driven ministry.

ShadowTremors

Scott, I found your blog from Greg's blog and I'm so glad I found it when I did. I'm also very glad that you have found the courage to not only be honest with yourself, but also to be honest with others by coming out. I also appreciate the courage it takes to post a blog entry like this one.

I myself am in the "coming out" process. And as someone who was raised in a fundamentalist, conservative, Southern Baptist tradition, can I just tell you it sorta scares the hell outta me?? Everyone I grew up with thinks I'm going to hell.

Thankfully, I'm not in that environment anymore, so I have lots of support from people who truly love me. Guess we're lucky that way, huh?

Lindsay

Scott--I'm so happy for your newfound freedom. I would love to come hear you preach sometime--where's this church? I'm still in Norman for a few more months.

john

yay! feels good right!? congratulations man--it can take a lot to be honest with yourself! great post.

ceb

One must take a shower after reading your story.

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