The Bicycle Thief
A Most Difficult Text

#15 -- My Journey Out: My First Pride

Much of that same group, and others, gathered on April 3 when I preached my first sermon at the Cathedral of Hope -- Oklahoma City. It all did seem to be happening.

Of course, not everything played out the way I hoped it would at the end of February. There have been those bumps in the road.

But now I'm home, fully out, and still a minister.

My relationship with my mother is better than it has been in my adulthood. I love my step-dad.

Preaching every week fills me with a spiritual high. I am weekly amazed at the craft of the sermon -- watching it come together from a few ideas into the finished whole.

Participating in this incredible ministry to people in need.

Becoming active in a community, struggling in a civil rights cause.

Talk radio, newspaper interviews, published sermons, etc.

And building a relationship with a wonderful man.

It had been two long, hot days. Though the body was tired, the spirit was full of energy. This was my first Pride Parade; and it was a sight to see. We were marching and handing out water. John was driving his truck with the ice chests of water in the bed (note: this John is a different John than the one discussed in earlier My Journey Out posts). Bill and Christa were handing the water out to us, and they couldn't hand it out fast enough. Those of us running back and forth from the truck to the hot, thirsty on-lookers were running. Next year we'll buy more water, because we ran out before the parade ended.

One reason I love the gay community is the exuberance, especially at an event like this. People are yelling and cheering. The hot, tired people are having fun. You yell at friends on other floats as you pass near each other (the parade intentionally doubles back on itself at one point so everyone in the parade can see the parade).

We were coming along 39th street, heading toward the strip, when we crested and you could see before you people. Many people. Packed all along the streets. I jumped up in the back of the truck to ride and watch. Bill and I were standing as we entered this throng of cheering people. We were waving and yelling at friends and strangers and they were yelling and cheering at us.

My ability as a writer is too limited to convey what it felt like in that moment. Later I said to Bill and Christa that it was one of the greatest moments of my life, that I'd never felt that sort of energy and excitement before. Christa looked at us and said, "Boys, that feeling never ends."

And, so, I wrap up this part of MyQuest. That is my journey out.


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