Musings on 2013


What a year.

I do not know if I have ever cried more tears, and laughed more laughs.  I came back to myself last year, after 50 years locked away behind rebukes, reproaches, and binary chains.
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I also experienced significant betrayal and mistreatment in my place of  _______.  My _________ was revealed to be a two faced blame shifting rat and his lack of support and active blaming of me for his own shortcomings resulted in much grief and stress and ultimately many nights full of despair and sorrow.  My gut was a mess for many months and my heart was broken again and again.

But in the midst of all of that, I held tight and gritted my teeth, and kept my eyes on becoming…kept my eyes on walking the second mile, kept my eyes on the one who hung between heaven and earth and bled.  My poetry has never been so good, and I am told that I have never been gentler or more broken or kind than I am now.  One of my ____________ told me I was literally the best person she knew of who truly modeled blessing those who cursed me…I cried tears of joy.  One of my _______ told me that I was literally the most skilled parent he had experienced from among all his peers, and that if he was allowed to choose from all history and all parents, he would choose me… and completely accepts me as trans.  I cried more.  My other son told me he was so proud of me, and my other daughter…well, we are working on it.

My darling beautiful heart of hearts is with me deeper and stronger than ever.

A year of loss…a year of gain.  A year of growth that was diminishing.  I came to the end of myself and beyond where I ever thought I could go.  I wanted to die many days, but wanted to live and bring honor to Him even more.  I got to know Mama better than ever.

But I will not deny that it was all in all a year of blessed defeat, and I have found that I am truly nothing in myself, and I never realized how unable and powerless I really am to do or be anything good apart from the life of Jesus in me.  I used to say that proudly, theologically…now?  It is a fact.tumblr_my2h2biIST1qc9vzko1_500
I will not deny that I am glad to see 2013 disappear into the mists of history, and I am looking forward to 2014.  Let Lady Grace reinterpret 2013, and Let Jesus and the Father cause all things to work together for my good as I set my heart to love them and be called according to their purpose.

Last but not least, there is a blogger here whose words have lanced me, healed me, and encouraged me.  She is one of the most special people I am aware of, and has a true mother’s heart.  Dearest Dani…may you find the children that the Father has waiting for you, both natural and spiritual (I am one of your spiritual girls, for you have mothered my hurting and broken soul in ways you will one day find out).  And may you know that, as the old chorus says, I love you with the Love of the Lord, for I see in you the Glory of my King.  Thank you, Dani!

Thanks to all who come here and read.  I am humbled and I am honored.

Sincerely…Happy New Year!!!!!

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Merry Christmas

And I sit, pondering today,
tomorrow, but yesterday
Yesteryear looms large.

The shadow cast of those events shines
inverted and bright
Light on Darkness Backdrop.

Crystal clarity and
pure purpose precipitated,
linger now,
surge now,
stay now
inside me.

I face fears,
uncertainties and self-centered acts
that will wound and rend.
People of agenda which is
dark on light’s backdrop,
people of ignorance
who assume all things.

My heart quakes,
my bones are water,
my thoughts are anxious acid
that etches my soul.
I pray thee,
Precious Christ Child,
cover me in such a way
that all that is
etched away leaves you
Shining thru me
The Christmas Star.

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What an Edifying and wonderfully encouraging article.

My sincere thanks and heartfelt gratitude to Adam Hunt, who posted an amazing apology and educational article about what we transgender humans face regularly.  Coming from the gay community, this is huge, for it is exactly like he says, and unfortunately some of the worst hatred and vitriol directed at us comes from Gay and Lesbian identified humans, and that hurts even more than the regular kinds of hatred, for they really ought to know better, and have more empathy.

Thank you sooo much, Adam!!!

Dear Trans Persons Everywhere, I’m Sorry for Being a Bad Gay

Posted: 12/20/2013 8:27 pm

 

Apology
I wasn’t always an ally to the trans community. In fact, it was only a little over a year ago that I had pretty awful opinions about the trans community and the struggles they face. (“Why can’t they just accept that if they have a penis, then they’re a dude?”)

But then something happened. I met some people who changed my life and the way I see the world, the gender binary, and so forth. You see, it was really easy to judge what a trans person goes through, because I didn’t know any trans people. I thought drag queens were exactly the same as trans people (with a little more makeup and an extra boa or two). I also just assumed that a trans woman was just an overly effeminate gay male who wanted so much to be submissive that he decided to get an operation to have his dick chopped off. I know. I wasn’t a great human being, but is it really that far off what many members of the gay male community think? Or society at large? Maybe not, but that doesn’t make it okay.

I have these friends, and they’re some of the greatest parents I’ve ever had the privilege to know. Their fabulously autistic daughter was working in her phonics book when she came across the question: “Would a prince wear a fancy gown to the ball?” Her answer: “Sure! If he likes the dress, he should wear it everywhere!” It’s astounding that the one diagnosed with a social interaction “disability” is also the one with the purest innate understanding of gender identity and expression. It’s not a complicated notion for her, yet many of us in a progressive educated community can’t wrap our heads around the concept.

What it really comes down to is this: if a trans person is telling you he or she or ze is offended by the language you’re using, are you going to be the asshole that keeps doing it anyway? If a person says they’re a particular gender, whether you agree or not doesn’t change how they want to live their life. Does that sound like anything you’ve faced in the struggle for acceptance?

We’re an LGBT community, but somehow in our gay agenda we have lost sight of the misunderstandings and external ignorance transgender persons face on a day-to-day basis. So to keep it simple for now (because there is indeed so much more to learn), here are five things you can do to be a better trans ally. I mean, if we don’t stick together, what sort of community are we?

1. Pronouns: A person who was pronounced male at birth but identifies as a female (M2F) is a female. Don’t identify her with male pronouns (he, his, him…). It’s one of thosemicroagressions that can really tear at a person’s heart. The same goes for someone who is F2M, but the opposite.

2. “Cisgender” v. “Normal” or “Regular”: Refer to a non-trans person as “cisgender” or “cis” when needing to disclose their non-transgender status. When you refer to a non-trans person as “normal,” you’re effectively calling a trans person abnormal. Not cool.

3. Operations: No operation necessary to identify as a particular gender. It’s not about body parts, remember?

4. Gender and Sexuality: Very different things. Just because someone is trans does not mean they’re gay or lesbian. There are straight trans people just like there are straight cis people.

5. Verbiage: How dumb do you think a person sounds when he or she says, “Moving to L.A. gayed that boy,” or, “I heard Jennifer has been lesbianed by her friends at Hot Topic”? The same goes for when someone is “transgendered.” “Transgender” is not a verb. I can’t “transgender” a person any more than a church in Idaho can “straight” me, so make it easier on yourself. Drop two letters, or eight! It’s “transgender” or “trans” (or even “T”).

Gay dudes, we’re awesome. We have an awesome culture and history. We live awesome lives and go to awesome parties. We volunteer for awesome causes and we have awesome taste in just about everything. It’s hard to believe we can be more awesome, but we can! Be an awesome ally. Don’t you remember being told you were unnatural or against God’s creation? Were you ever isolated? Haven’t we been fighting for the rights we deserve? We have a lot of work to do to gain full acceptance and equality, and our trans brothers and sisters have even more. We’re stronger together, so if we can change some minor behaviors and pave the way for understanding, then why not?

If you’re looking for some additional resources to continue learning how to be a better ally to the trans community, Being Transgender in America with Melissa Harris-Perry is fabulous, as is Kate Bornstein’s My Gender Workbook.

Follow Adam Hunt on Twitter: www.twitter.com/AdamTopherHunt

Feedback?

Hello Loyal readers…I would like to know if any of you think my Christmas story is any good?  I wrote a Santa Claus Origin tale, and attempted to pull the Santa Story into it.  The whole thing started from a vision I had of the Baby in the Manger facing a very sick old King.  The Baby looked at him, then looked to His left and saw a nail sticking thru the wood of the manger.  The Baby intentionally pressed His palm against the nail, and pulled it back, and a pearl drop of Blood was in the center of His palm.  No crying did He make, and then He pressed His palm onto the forehead of the sick King, and the King was healed, and also granted eternal life on the spot.

 

It just grew from there.

 

I have shared this story with a few, but I never get any feedback, so I am beginning to think it actually sucks.  I have rewritten it so many times I am worried I will wear it out.  So this is my last gasp…it is either good and has potential, or it sucks ass, and the last place it appears is here.

Thanks to you all for reading.  I am amazed.

Rape Culture

“Gentlemen. This is what rape culture is like:

Imagine you have a Rolex watch. Nice fancy Rolex, you bought it because you like the way it looks and you wanted to treat yourself. And then you get beaten and mugged and your Rolex is stolen. So you go to the police. Only, instead of investigating the crime, the police want to know why you were wearing a Rolex instead of a regular watch. Have you ever given a Rolex to anyone else? Is it possible you wanted to be mugged? Why didn’t you wear long sleeves to cover up the Rolex if you didn’t want to be mugged?

And then after that, everywhere you go, there are constant jokes about stealing your Rolex. People you don’t even know whistle at your Rolex and make jokes about cutting your hand off to get it. The media doesn’t help either; it portrays people who wear Rolexes as flamboyant assholes who secretly just want someone to come along and take that Rolex off their hands. When damn, all you wanted was to wear a nice watch without getting harassed for it. When you complain that you are starting to feel unsafe, people laugh you off and say that you are too uptight. Never mind you got violently attacked for the crime of wearing a friggin time piece.

Imagining all that? It sucks, doesn’t it.

Now imagine you could never take the Rolex off.

The Wretched of the Earth: On Rape Culture (via felicefawn)

The Healing of The Light King: A Story of Christmas

Healing Charissa

“ Grandpa! Please, please tell us a story,” the young children exclaimed.

They were seated in the lap of a man who had seen many, many years. His gnarled, rough hands were like the branches of an oak tree, and his hair was thick and full, and white as snow. His face was a harvest apple in January—wrinkled and browned, but sweet to the taste. He was old as the hills and yet his eyes…full of light and joy, tears and grief, brokenness made whole… they made this old trooper seem like an eager child on Christmas Eve! He gazed down at his grandchildren, Young Frederick on his right knee, sweet Caroline on his left.

“So!” he boomed. “‘Tis a story you be wanting, is it my sprites? Well then! ‘Tis a story you’ll be getting, only then you’ll have to run off to your beds! For tomorrow we celebrate HIS birthday, and GLORY what a celebration we’ll have, eh? Frederick, throw some more wood on that fire whilst Sweet Caroline and I scoot closer to it.”

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Frederick jumped down to obey. The old man rose with his granddaughter under one arm like a kitten, and with a casual flick of his wrist he tossed his huge oaken chair about three feet closer to the fire, like it was made of twigs. He sat down, and Sweet Caroline squirmed up his chest and wormed her arms around his corded neck. “Grandpa,” she said with a solemn face, “Tell us about your journey. Tell us about Him.”

“Yeah!” Frederick chimed in excitedly as he launched himself upon his grandpa. “Tell us about when you were The Light King, and when you went to see Him when He came, and about Gillae and Brownie and—“

“Whoa, slow down my bumpkins,” interrupted the old man. “You’ve heard that story so many times it must be nearly worn out from the telling! Surely you’d rather hear about how your papa, the King, killed the ugly dragon, Ba’alzamon,LK074

or about how he rescued the beautiful Princess Katherine and made her his Queen and your mother?”

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“NO GRANDPA!” they shouted in concert. “Tomorrow ‘s the Day–—His day and it’s your day too, said Frederick.

“Yes, Grandpa,” said Sweet Caroline. “It’s my favorite story, to hear how you met Him and everything. Please, Grandpa, oh please?”

The old man sat looking back and forth between them as if caught deep in indecision. He glared at them in mock irritation while delight danced in his eyes. The children sat in suspense, hardly daring to breathe, hearts straining with desire to hear the magical story. Sweet Caroling looked at Frederick, and had a giggling fit. Frederick shushed her with an agonized frown and the darkness of the night pressed in through the windows as they huddled close to the fire. The room was full of lamps, all of them unlit and dormant. The fire popped and crackled fiercely. The old man drew in a deep breath, held it, just to build the suspense and then exhaled in mock resignation and secret gladness.

“Oh very well you smooth talkers. The tale is yours for the telling.” Frederick let out a whoop and Sweet Caroline accompanied him with gleeful clapping. “I swear! You two could talk an elephant out of his trunk while making him feel he was the talk of the town for the bargain! Okay then—gather close and settle in, and you shall hear the telling of

THE HEALING OF THE LIGHT KING

He took a deep breath, and began…

“‘Twas on this very day, 77 years ago that I left this very castle, LIGHTSHINE HEARTHHOME and began the journey. I was sick, and full of torment. The fever upon me was getting worse. The times I felt whole and pain free were fewer and shorter, as aches and hurts grew like hungry dragons feasting on my days and devouring my nights.

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“The Light King” they called me then, though the name was given first in mocking jest. But King I was…then. Before the pain there was not a man under my eye that didn’t pledge his all for mine. What needed doing we did! No hesitation or moment of indecision! Strength it took, and strength I had! But it left me, strength, deserted me just when I needed it the most to fight off afflictions that no sword and shield could slash or beat down.

I loved the light in those days—and now—more than all else! I remember how sunlight through clouds and moonlight through trees fascinated me. I wanted to touch that light! To hold it, to drink it, to breathe it! To live IN it…ah!

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In those days men said there was a shine upon me not seen around others, a shine that matched my strength. But my strength began to fade, and the shine began to cease.

I was terrified. Oh, I put on a brave face, but secretly I cried in desperate agony and fear. I began to collect lamps and fill LIGHTSHINE HEARTHHOME with as much light as possible—lamps in the kitchen and lights in the hall, lamps in the library, wherever I could fit them. But the more lamps I brought inside the castle, the less light I had inside of me! It was like they were stealing their light from mine and burning my strength for fuel. The castle and all in it was brighter, but me—I was growing dimmer, fading you might say.

I heard whispers behind my back, and “LIGHT KING” became a mocking title because I had so many lamps and so little light.

Oh, to my face it was all peaches and cream, but behind the curtain I was mocked as a laughingstock—king in name and calling only. Always remember: position and riches do not royalty make. It takes qualities of spirit that cannot be bought, but only earned.

LK014Then it got worse. The dreams began—awful dreams of agony and torment over what I saw in the dreams. I feared going to sleep, and with the coming night came dread as well, to lie like a great monstrous dog across the foot of my bed.

“Oh, Grandpa,” gasped Caroline. “What were the dreams about?”

Ahh. They were about a new baby who became a noble man. This man was…well, it’s hard to say after all these years…he was light! I know that seems like an odd way to tell whom someone is, but there it is.

He’d be laying there, a new baby shining like a diamond, and right before my dreaming eyes he’d grow up into a man, who was LIGHT!

He was incredible to behold! Not exactly handsome, or attractive, even…but he was beautiful! And if I was “The Light King’, then he was King of Lights! I thought if he’d just reach out and touch me, then I’d be so full of such light as’d never fade nor flicker and the pain would be eaten up and I’d be strong again!

But then the awful part of the dream started. The darkness took on shape, like dragons and daemons, and it gathered against my King of Lights and tore him with claws of hatred. It beat him and broke him into a bloody horror.

LK046Then he was nailed to the stake and blood was everywhere. Finally the darkness set its teeth into his torn body to drag him down into its maw…deeper and deeper down…I screamed in rage and terror and ran to him and grabbed him to keep him from being pulled down into the blackness.

But I wasn’t strong enough and I was dragged down with him into the pit and I wasn’t brave enough to hold on and face the terror at his side so I let go in despair and shame…and woke up screaming and weak, dim and dying. This nightmare happened all night every night, and it was killing me.  LK064

I was near death when the Star King and the Mountain King arrived. The Star King had seen great portents in the sky of a Mighty One who was to be born, and together with the Mountain King was making pilgrimage to do him homage. To survive this journey they needed the support that my treasury could offer them, and they desired me to accompany them! The fading Light King—nearing death, and I was supposed to help them? But I was intrigued by these tidings. A mighty one born in my lifetime. “Perhaps the Mighty One of All,” the Star King kept saying. It stirred…truly and deeply.

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The kings stayed with us three days, and I was determined to accompany them despite being in no condition to make such an arduous journey. We had no idea where we were going, or how far it was. All we had was a new star that the Star King said sang to him to follow until it stopped where the Mighty One was. I would most likely die before I returned and yet…I knew in my heart of hearts that I was destined for such a quest.

And so we set out that fateful morning so long ago. The Star King had a big barrel of frankincense to give to the Mighty One. The Mountain King had a big chest of gold to give to Him. ‘What will you give Him?’ they asked me. I laughed in mirthless despair. What could such as I give to such as Him?LK032

I would most likely be dead before we found Him, but I said, if I was not dead, then I would give Him myself. HA, HA—a joke on the Mighty One—a dead King as a gift. So, I loaded my pack animals with food, water, and a large trunk full of burial spice—myrrh. It would most likely be used on me before we arrived, but if not, then I would complete the joke and give it to the Mighty One in the face of death, as a down payment for his dead King. My subjects lined the roadway and cheered us—some in jest and some in sorrow. Deep inside it was like everyone knew I was not coming back alive.
We traveled for months, following that star, and I grew weaker and weaker, and my dreams more and more terrible. I saw each blow of the whip and heard each gasp from His mouth. I saw each drop of living blood fall, liquid ruby light. I saw each time He was hit. I saw every crystal tear drop, and I saw the hammer fall time and again as it drove the nails through Him and stuck Him to the stake. I saw Him dropped into the earth like a broken sword in the midst of an empty grave. I needed constant care but death like the tide just kept creeping closer and closer.LK054

Finally one night, in the dreams, LK067I held onto the King of Lights as He was drawn down. Deeper and deeper into the teeth of the darkness I was pulled, but still I held on, down into such hell itself. The pressure and sorrow and grief and the undead dark were overwhelming and again, in shame and despair I had to let go and seek the light of the world I knew. But I couldn’t find my way back. I was lost, and in the darkness, I wandered alone. The Star King and the Mountain King thought me dead and left me with all that I brought.

And I lay, I know not how long. LK011

Sensations swirled behind the darkness that I wandered in, and in the tenuous patterns slowly formed. I listened eyes closed, and was comforted by noises that gave me hope all was not lost. Bells…voices …and then I noticed aromas of fields and wet wool…SHEEP! That was it! I was walking in a dark cloud surrounded by sheep!

A rough, wet, slobbery thing touched my cheek and my forehead. I was being LICKED! I pushed out with my hands and found the rich wooly coats of sheep gathered round me. I was not walking upright in the darkness at all, but was actually laying on my back in a dewy, cold field, and these sheep were gathered around me, licking me like I was Hiram the Shepherd’s salt lick!

“Gillae, come quick! An angel lays in our midst, fallen and ill!” I heard a high-pitched young voice scream. I turned my head and the world tilted violently as I did and I felt sick and began to groan and heave in dry wracking spasms.

“HIE! Back off there, Brownie! Not too close! After what we just went through I be not wanting ye to take any chances! Let us have a lookee!” The voice that spoke was like a waterfall’s roar, deep and loud, and not a little alarmed. With all my might I tried to turn to look, but before I could I felt a hard rap to my ribs and a persistent jabbing. The fool was poking me with a stick!

“WHAT BE YE!?” shouted the voice! “Speak up, now, and be quick about it! We are in no mood for further shocks and surprises, for the events of the night have greatly unsettled us!” Somehow I managed to get my head turned and my eyes open, and there I beheld a giant of a man.

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He rose from the ground like the Yule Tree in the Castle Courtyard. At the top of his head was the bushiest, tangledest mop of hair that ever crowned a head! His beard was long and it moved in the wind with a life of its own. His hands were like shovels, and they held a staff the size of a small sapling! His eyes flashed brightly in the moonlight, and his teeth glistened like pearls as he spoke to me. He was one of the most commanding men I have ever met.

“Hie! I’m talking to you, there! Be ye man or be ye angel or be ye demon!?”

“I’m just a king” I managed to choke out.

“A king? You are a….KING?” The giant threw back his head and laughed like his sides were split. “You are no king, that is for certain! Brownie, bring us a light.”

A small, slight boy stepped from behind the man, bearing aloft a lamp. He was quick and well built, and had a pleasant, intelligent air about him. He gave the lamp to the giant shepherd, who scrutinized me closer.

“Hmm. Now that I can see things more clearly I am certain that you are no angel either. You do not seem to be much of anything!”

“He’s no king…is he Gillae?” said Brownie, seeking reassurance from the big man.

“Back away there Brownie,” Gillae said, and he took the lamp and drew it close to my face, and began to study me intently. His gaze was piercing, but strangely inspiring, and I felt life begin to flow again. I stirred myself to his challenge, and sat up to return his look. Out of the corner of my eye I noticed there were several other shepherds on the fringe of the lamp’s circle of light.

“By the Maker,” said I, “King I am…in a land far away. ‘Tis true that I do not look like a king, nor feel much better, but far I have journeyed to find the end of my travels. I seek the treasure of the ages. And why, by the heavens do you talk of such things as angels and demons?”

“Hmmm…perhaps I see royalty in yer veins, it may be as ye say”, Gillae said. “‘Tis evident that you have many miles of a journey upon ye, and ye are not well. But after this night’s drama it is no wonder that we knew not if you were human or inhuman. But ye speak of treasure…what is this treasure that a king would leave home and kingdom for?”

So I told him of the Mighty One that we sought, of the star that traveled and moved, and drew us on to the One. I told him of my illness and of my companions who had gone on without me, and Gillae grew evermore full of wonder and comprehension. Finally I was too weak to go on.

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I raised my arm towards the sky, and gestured weakly at the night, at the star that still shone brightly and steadily overhead, silently shouting of great wonders.

“I must find Him!” I gasped. “I must….”

Gillae rubbed his chin, regal as any king I ever saw and sat silent and brooding as he considered all the things I had said. He was weighing my story, weighing me by some measure that I knew not but I cared very much to be found adequate and worthy of his good judgment.

A short and chubby shepherd stepped up to Gillae and began to speak to him in whispered tones that I couldn’t make out. Gillae nodded and answered something back, and then the little butterball stepped back to the small group of shepherds and began to urge them out to the flocks, and there they went to work gathering the sheep together as if to make a journey.

“Well, King. You are fortunate that we happened upon you. Our good man Dannaeo says that we should bring you with us on our journey, and I concur. It seems that your quest overlaps considerably with an errand that we have recently been…charged with. The boys are gathering the sheep, and when they are finished, we will fashion a means to take you with us.”

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“Sir Shepherd,” I said, “you have mentioned dramatic and unsettling events. Pray tell, what happened to you and how did you stumble upon me?”

Gillae fixed his eyes upon me and stared sharply. He shifted his great bulk and rubbed his jaw reluctantly.

“Please, Sir, speak up,” I commanded in as regal a manner as I could summon. He cast his eyes down, and said “Very well Sir King. I will tell you enough to get us all to the fold in the same herd, but most pressing is our errand.

“Nigh on three hours past sunset the boys and me were on the move from yon ridgeline headed toward this very field to set the flock in for the night. It is well protected and the sheep love the sweet grass of this swale. Brownie had the flock well bunched and moving a good clip. Up at the head of the copse yonder we began to allow the flock to spread out, and we looked for firewood in amongst the trees. Dannaeo rustled up some grub and soon we were cozy in the shelter and settling in for a cold but not unpleasant evening.

“Several of the boys were nodding off and there was peace in the still night. But things began to change. I noticed that the sheep were restless and stirred myself to look for some slinker that wanted an easy meal. The air grew heavy, and shivery like, and then began to glow with golden glimmers that grew brighter each passing moment. Suddenly there was a brilliant burst, like when a big knot bursts in the midst of a roaring fire, and standing before us was a gigantic shining man! I must confess that I was undone, and I fell to my face before him like a dead man.”

“YOU DID NOT, GILLAE!” shouted an outraged high-pitched voice. I looked over and saw that young Brownie had been lingering on the edge of our conversation listening in. He rushed into our midst and began to shout, “Gillae is always changing things around to cover up his bravery! He is the biggest and bravest shepherd of all, and he stood up to that guy and made him tell us wh—“

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“Hush yourself Brownie!” Gillae said sternly. “Since when did I ever teach you that it was polite to eavesdrop on the conversation of others, let alone listen in to a royal report to a King?”

Brownie dropped his eyes and hung his head. “Umm, never sir” he mumbled.

“What was that, young whelp? I can’t hear you,” Gillae chastised, all the while managing to conceal the indulgent look in his eye. It was evident to me that Gillae loved Brownie very much, and was secretly pleased with the spunk and spirit of the young shepherd.

“Brownie, it is important that ye learn to listen twice as much as you talk. This will please the Maker to see you use EACH of your ears so when you return to Him you will be full of wisdom and not emptied of sense.”

“Aww, yes Sir” Brownie mumbled, but then his fire rose up and he just couldn’t help himself, bursting out with ”but Gillae, if this is a king he should KNOW of what you are!”

“That will be QUITE enough, Jubal Dripsten…do you HEAR me!” This time the note of command and chastening was unmistakable and evident. “Back to the flock with ye, and make things ready. Have Mikkens and Towser fashion a litter upon which we can bear our companion. Sir King, I apologize for this whelp. He is young and impetuous.” Gillae followed Brownie’s departure with his gaze.

“No apologies needed, Sir Shepherd” I retorted. “I too have been his age. But pray tell me more, and do feel free to give me the FULL story.” I sensed that there was more to the tale than Gillae was telling…indeed there was more to this man than he was revealing.

“Oh, well. Let’s see…where was I?” he muttered.

“I believe you were laying on the ground like a dead man?” I remarked dryly.

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Gillae shot a hot look at me that bordered on anger, but then he got a hold of himself.

“Yes…laying on the ground. Well it turns out this was the angel of the Lord, and he gave us word that the Redeemer of All Things had just been born. We were supposed to find Him in Bethlehem and declare His birth to all that we meet. Then the angel disappeared, and all was still. So we roused ourselves, and set off towards Bethlehem. Just minutes later we stumbled across you, and now you know the rest of the story.”

I looked Gillae squarely in the eye but he quickly cast his eyes down, and I was certain that he was not telling me everything. I just nodded, and said “Well, Sir Gillae, what now? Off to this Bethlehem, to see the King?”

“Aye, that is the path for us all.” Gillae answered.

He stood quickly and began to call to the others. Mikkens and Towser came over to me carrying a rickety looking litter and my baggage. They gently picked me up and placed me on the litter and then lifted me up onto their shoulders.

“I am sorry, good men to be a burden unto you. Thank you for your sacrifice and good hearts.”

“Sir King, I tell you that you are light, not heavier than a yearling lamb” said Mikkens.

“Aye”, echoed Towser. It is our privilege to carry you. It is not every shepherd that gets to carry a King to meet a King.”

And off we went, Gillae leading the way, the flock following close at heel, the group of shepherds scattered round them, and then Mikkens, Towser and I bringing up the rear. We travelled an hour or so in this manner, following the star, men speaking to one another in hushed expectant tones.

As we travelled, I marveled at the endurance of my 2 bearers, and I could not help but reflect on the difference between these 2 and my previous 2 companions. One thing was becoming evident the more time I spent with these shepherds: Royalty is not a title or station in life, but rather a way of being that is oriented towards joyful sacrifice. Perhaps my bearers were kings more than the ones who had left me to die.

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After a while, I started to doze off, rocked by the soft motion of our travel.

I was startled by a voice and woke to find myself staring into Brownie’s intense gaze.

“Gillae wasn’t telling you the whole story, and I think you should know it, being a king and all. I don’t know much about kings, you being the only one I ever met” (and with this he eyed me dubiously), “but I can tell you that Gillae is braver than any man I ever met, and he is stronger and more giving than any person alive. Many times we have all been too tired to take our watches and we fall asleep, only to wake and see him on guard, over us and the sheep both. And in truth, tonight’s events have only added to his exploits!”

“Brownie” said I, “You have all seemed on edge and wary, and of course all of your hints and outbursts tell me there is more going on here than meets the eye. What exactly befell you on this evening of wonders?”

Brownie looked forward at Gillae to make sure he wasn’t listening…and no fear of that for Gillae was leading, and walking at ready as if expecting an attack of robbers, or worse. Then in a low voice, Brownie began to speak.

“Well, it all happened like Gillae said, but when the gigantic man appeared to us, we fell to the ground like dead men, but not Gillae! He stepped forward and raised his staff, and challenged the newcomer to identify himself as friend or foe, and if foe to prepare to meet his doom. The giant shining guy began to speak to us as we all clung to the ground like babes to their nursemaids.

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I will never forget his words:

‘FEAR NOT, oh sons of Adam’

he declared.

‘I bear to you good tidings from the throne of the Most High God Himself, tidings of great joy, to all men in all places here and for all time until the Breaking is made Unbroken on that Day. Unto you is born this day, in David’s city, a Savior! Christ the Lord!’

“His voice hung in the air like a living thing, and was frightening but beautiful. He said he was the angel of the Lord come from the throne of the Maker.

‘You are to go to the Savior with all haste. Look for Him wrapped in swaddling clothes’

said the angel.

‘But what are we supposed to do, break into people’s houses?’ Gillae said. The angel gave a thunderous blast with his voice, that must have been angelic laughter, and it both chilled and invigorated my soul.

‘Look in the stables, Shepherd, for this King will be with the sheep, lying in a manger.’

“’A manger'” Gillae replied. ‘What kind of king is it that is born a Savior yet is lying in a feeding trough?’

When he said this, the guy just threw back his head and again thundered a laugh. But bold Gillae demanded proof that he was the angel of the Lord, and not some seducing deceiver from the Breaker’s dungeons. He actually stepped forward and thrust his staff into the face of the angel!

When he did this, the angel rose straight up about 50 feet, and clapped his hands three times…and the night split openLK041 and rolled back like a scroll and in its place was light like you cannot imagine!

It was like a hole had opened in the night, and the shadows were torn away, and Heaven’s own glory was invading the dark earth, and if you think we were scared before, we were simply undone now!

For as the light rushed through the tear in the night it filled up the air around us. This light was SOUND! Crazy I know, but the light was music, and the music I heard was the light! But the worst was yet to come, for suddenly, out of the very midst of this heavenly light angels began to pour forth.

Hundreds upon hundreds, and thousands upon thousands! Like grains through the glass they came, each one singing loudly at the top of its lungs!

‘GLORY TO GOD IN THE HIGHEST, AND ON EARTH PEACE, AND GOODWILL TOWARD MEN!’

Over and over they sang this, and the song took wings and flew forth from around us out into the world. LK020It is flying still, of this I am sure, to the darkest and loneliest places in the world. It is a song that will never be stopped. It will live with heaven’s life and all that hear its triumphant ring will thrill in their hearts with hope and comfort and joy.

“As this all happened even Gillae was knocked down, but while we all buried our heads in our arms and sought to hide in the dirt, I snuck a peak at Gillae. He lay on his back, face unveiled and eyes alight. As the gigantic angel of the Lord sang, he flew round and round over Gillae’s head and Bold Gillae just laughed in great bellows almost as loud as the angels.

And then, things started to go backwards-like, and trickled in reverse, and began to flow upwards, back to heaven, until only the angel of the Lord was left.LK023

‘Rise, oh chosen of the Most High’

he said.

Gillae stood immediately, and the angel’s booming laugh echoed in my head, and he said

‘I am talking about all of you! The King of Glory has a special fondness for shepherds. He has chosen you as His heralds. Go quickly to Bethlehem, proclaiming to all you meet that He is born the Divine Christchild, Light of the world. Tell the world the Maker is not mad, and He says Peace, Peace, for there IS Peace! But beware, for the forces of the deceiver gather even now to steal away the light of the world. You must be on your guard! They will stop at nothing.’

“’Bring them on!’ shouted Gillae. ‘The evil doers will regret the day they opposed the Maker, and shall be sent back to the chaos that spawned them,’ and Gillae brandished his staff towards the angel of the Lord in skillful and dangerous flourishes!

The angel rose up on high with a loud shout, and then with a clap like thunder disappeared in a lightning bolt! All was still, except for the gentle wind and the sound of our hearts hammering in our heads and the echo of Heaven’s Choirs ringing in our ears.

We lay there like dead men, but Gillae roused us up and said ‘Come lads! Heard ye not the angel of the Lord? We have a KING to find.’

“We slowly lifted our heads, still quaking from Heaven breaking into the night, but as the seconds passed, we got excited, for Gillae was jabbering and encouraging us constantly, prodding us with his voice like we were sheep on the business end of his staff.”

Brownie was silent after this, and I waited for him to resume. He glanced around uneasily, and then looked at me as if I might still just be a phantom.

“Speak on, Brownie” said I.
“Well, Sir King, off we went as the angel had said, but suddenly we heard something that chills the bones of shepherds everywhere…the lonesome sinister howl of a hungry wolf!

LK002“’Hie! To the flock men!’ shouted Gillae. ‘Remember the angel’s warning! We have a king to find! Let nothing quench your heart! Defend the flock!’

And then they were on us in a flash, 6 big, black wolves with red eyes and yellow teeth. They were taller than my head, and the likes I have never seen and hope never to see again. We tried to stand, but the howling, slashing mouths were terrifying! I was frozen in fear, and one of them actually had me by my cloak, and was dragging me off to eat me, but Gillae came flying out of nowhere in a leaping shouting whirling wind of vengeance.

He whacked those skulkers with his staff, and their bones cracked like kindling! LK042They crumpled with yelps of pain and death, but still Gillae pressed on for though 3 were slain, the rest had him surrounded. He circled as they darted in and slashed, and parried each attack. The rest of us were milling about chasing the sheep so we were no help to him as he fought for his life and ours.

“But then the air grew cold, like the grave, and a dank foul smell arose from some evil place. Life was draining out of me and I wanted to run away. I glanced at Gillae and saw that something blacker than night was floating toward him. It wasLK009

like a tear in the night that let in death and despair and it was painful to look at.

Gillae slashed at the wolves and cracked the head of one like a ripe melon as he backed off from the dark thing. He drew himself up to his full stature and shouted ‘HALT FOUL HELL SPAWN!’ Leave us for we are on a mission for the Maker!’

“Everything was still, and then from the midst of the black, 2 red eyes opened and an awful black hole gaped like a mouth. From the midst of the dark came a scream so evil it must have been from hell.

At this, my knees DID buckle, but still I looked on at Gillae. I thought that if I could just keep my eyes on him I would be safe.

When Gillae heard that death cry, he actually threw his head back and laughed!

‘Be OFF with your foul self!’ he commanded.

And the thing actually stopped. But then IT spoke, and the sound was terrible, like the squeaking of a cemetery gate. It dug savagely into my mind. LK079

‘You have no authority to make such command’ it hissed. ‘For your insolence I shall stop your heart and feed it to my wolves!’ the thing continued. ‘You have no part of this. But, in my great mercy I may let you live and even give you wealth and fame and comfort! But you must walk away and leave the night to us.’

“Gillae jumped forward with a war whoop and swung his staff with all his might right at the center of this thing, and screamed ‘In the name of the Baby King and Heaven’s Song I come against you to the death and I rebuke you!

And with that his staff found its mark. The demon gave a scream of pain, fear, and rage mingled with defeat, and then with a bang the monster was gone!

Gillae looked at me as I sat speechless and frozen in fear. The great man winked and nodded, and gently said ‘Eh, Brownie, pick up your jaw and rise up! We have a flock to lead and a king to find!’

And then he was off to slay the remaining wolves.

“I hurried off across the field in search of the sheep, and that is when I stumbled over you! All this time you had been out of it, lying in the field while angels and demons made war round about you. I looked over for Gillae just as he slew the last 2 beasts, and hollered for him, and, well, you pretty much know the rest. Can you see why we were uncertain regarding yourself? After what we had been through you could have been nearly anything! It is funny when you think about it…we found our king all right, but one who was old and dying, rather than a newborn babe who is called Wonderful Counselor!”

Brownie walked in silence and I pondered what he’d said.

Finally I said “Thank you for the tale Brownie. I understand why you are such a fierce defender of Gillae. He is brave AND modest, a rare and pleasing combination. Your testimony is true and loyal.”

“Aye, and it is also too much talking and not enough working!” that booming familiar voice thundered. There stood Gillae, big as a horse! He had slipped back to us unnoticed as we talked, and overheard everything Brownie said. Brownie hung his head and hurried off to help the other men with the flock.

“Forgive the boy, Sir King” Gillae requested. “He is forward and given to bragging. It is to my detriment that I have not succeeded in instilling within him some restraint.”

“On the contrary, Sir Shepherd,” I answered. “He is a bright boy, and I sense his story is true, yes? A more complete picture worthy of reporting to a king?”

Gillae reddened and inhaled sharply. “I am reluctant to speak about such things” Gillae answered quietly. And then Gillae would speak no more on the subject.

After a while, Dannaeo fell back to walk with Gillae and Mikkens and Towser and I. “We draw near, Sir King,” he said.

Gillae looked intently at me and said “Know that all is not as it seems. High is come down and low is lifted up. Light is cloaked and darkness becomes light. Even as He comes, so too must you come.” I was at a loss when he spoke, but my heart stirred at the promise of light. Gillae gazed at me unblinking, eyes glowing. LK075

I looked back in exhausted confusion. “What do you mean, Gillae?”

“I will say no more, lest I put you in danger of pride. Only realize that to rise you must descend, to be found you must be lost. Take heart and be bold. Believe your heart, and remember your dreams!”

“Remember them!” I repeated in pain. “I spend all my waking hours trying to forget them!”

“Nevertheless, again I bid you—REMEMBER THEM! For the Master wastes nothing.”

We finally came to the outskirts of a small town and the Star stopped, and fell lower and lower until it was drawn impossibly near to earth and hovered there, motionless in stellar proclamation of heavenly portents.

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The town was bursting at the seams with impossible crowds of people all trying at once to find food and lodging. We came to the inn, and I was sure that Gillae and the boys would get a room for me to rest and prepare to meet the Mighty One. But they walked straight on by with nary a glance! Down a narrow lane into an even narrower alley, flock and all, only to enter into the gloomy darkness of a smelly, dirty old stable!

“Gillae, why do we come to THIS place,” I asked him in confusion.

“Listen in your heart, and you will know, Sir King,” he answered, “but if you are deaf, then lift up your head and you will see the star over your head like a bonfire of comfort and joy.”

And I looked up and there it was in its beauty to take away your breath. I looked around us and saw animals, some people (shepherds mostly), and even Kings! Yes—the Star King and the Mountain King had found this decrepit place, too.

But no one was looking at us. They were all looking at a manger, or rather, the small baby who lay in the manger. He was newly born and at peace.

The Star King wore a look of disbelief. The Mountain King seemed disappointed, like someone at the end of a long, unfruitful quest. LK076

I cleared my throat, and said weakly, “Hail and well met fellow kings. Why be you in this god-forsaken place?”

The Star King glanced, then did a double take. “Hail and well met fellow King,” he replied in astonishment. “We thought you dead this night. Even now you look more dead than living. But alas for us all. We came looking for the Mighty One of whom the Star sings, but found only yon babe and vanity!”

Gillae spoke up, eyes blazing: “Good King, yon babe IS the Mighty One! Do not err! Take heed my counsel: to rise up you must bend down. The eye of pride cannot see the light of humility.”

I glanced at the Star King to gauge his response, but he merely stared at Gillae like he were some dirty peasant beneath his notice and station. I looked back at the baby, and noticed a man and a woman seated near the manger looking overwhelmed by all the attention and commotion.

All at once, the babe opened his eyes, and gazed straight into mine. I felt lost in their depths.

Then I heard a Voice… “Come to Me, Light-King,” it said.

I looked all around but I couldn’t see who was speaking. Suddenly Gillae was thrusting his staff against my back, pushing me towards the babe.

“Go on, quickly!” he hissed. “The Master calls you.” I laughed out loud.

“The Master? Him? That helpless babe? Surely you jest. He is no more master than you are, Sir Shepherd!”

Brownie ran up to stand at Gillae’s side. “Go on,” he urged. “Remember what Gillae told you! ‘…As He comes, so to must you come…’ He sent for you: now you must answer Him!” I looked back and forth between the baby and my friends.

“Remember your dreams!” called Gillae.

“Yes,” said the Voice. “Remember your dreams.”

Suddenly I realized that the baby before my eyes was the same one I had dreamt of for all those years! He was the King of Lights who was savaged by darkness. I gasped in awe and terror. If the dream baby was real, were the dreams real as well?

“Yes, they are,” he said. It was the baby who had spoken, though His lips had not moved. The Voice I was hearing was His!

“Draw near to me, my Light King and learn the meaning of these things.” He called me “Light King”, but in his mouth it was not a curse but instead was a caress.

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I knelt at the side of the manger. Memories swept over me and in pain I wept. Tears ran down my face and crowned the baby’s brow. His tiny hand reached out and grabbed me with a grip stronger than life, stronger than death. I tried to pull away. But he held me stronger than chains and looked into me.

“My precious Light King. I called you. You answered. I prepared you. I send you. But first I will heal you.”

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The stable fell away and we were in my dreams, only this time he held onto me. Darkness came rushing at us with hungry teeth and sharp screams. I was terrified. Claws of dark tore at Him and His light bled out and the darkness took us down, down deeper into Hell.

I screamed and tried with all my might to get free but He held me there with him. The awful stake came and pinned Him there with nails of death, but still He held onto me, and still we went down. His light was pouring out, but we went down deeper than I’d ever been in any of my dreams.

He took me down all the way. It was there, at the bottom that I saw what I’d never been able to see before…the ending of all His light at the bottom of the end of down. LK018

I screamed in despair, certain that all was lost.

But then came His blood in a rush!

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His light had made a way into Dark’s evil heart and the flood of His blood raced on the heels of the Light! Dark thought it devoured His light, but Dark was deceived! Like an arrow straight and true Darkness was pinned and blood consumed it.

And by His blood the Breaking was broken,
and by His blood death undone.
By His blood all light resumed flowing,
by His blood all healing begun.

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From the lowest, most impossible place of all, we began to rise, He and I and still His marvelous hand gripped me. We were rising on a tide of living light; lifted by the flow of His blood and He sang with victory and triumph!

“Behold, the King of Lights is come,
Bruised and poured out from on high,
The Blood King’s battle now is done
And Death’s devoured by victory!
King of Lights, Eternal Fount
The Blood King conquers every foe
Rising with triumphant shout
Peace, Goodwill to those laid low!

As He sang the light grew brighter and blood redly ran deep and wide and we were high and lifted up, and still He held me. He held me! And I understood.

The stable came back. I was still kneeling beside the manger; my tears were still His crown. The others had all gathered close and were waiting in a hush.

The baby let go of my hand. He turned His tiny head and looked at the side of the manger. The point of a careless nail protruded starkly through the wood. Slowly, deliberately, He reached His tiny hand toward it. The woman perceived His intent, and started forward to stop Him, but the man stopped her.

The baby covered that nail point with His hand, and then, deliberate and slow, He pushed His palm against the nail. He never hesitated; he never even winced. He drew back his hand, and there in His palm lay a red pearl of great price—a drop of His innocent blood.

He reached His wounded palm out to me and then He pressed it against my forehead like a kiss… and my pain was gone. My grief and sorrow vanished, and I was healed, and filled with light—HIS very light!

I rose and ran to my packs and drew out the chest of myrrh. I took it to the baby and laid it at his feet.

“Oh my Blood King, my death is your death, and your life is my life,” I said. I was still weeping, but now with tears of joy and gratitude.

He answered

“I am King of Lights who has become Blood King. Your death has become Mine, and My Life and My Light are become yours. You are My Light King! Here is My charge to you: go in My Light. Spread it wherever you go. Care for the children.LK044  Give them gifts. Wherever you speak, there Light shall be. Wherever you give, Life shall grow. Remain faithful until you see Me return on high! For I will go, and I will return!”

The Star King and the Mountain King were transformed by these events came and they bowed low, laying their gifts at His feet. They had found the Song of the Star! LK015

Gillae, Brownie, Dannaeo, Mikkens and Towser also stepped forward. The Baby giggled and petted each one. They received His touch like knights receiving the dubbing of their King’s sword.

Gillae turned to me and said, “I see now, Light King, the hidden ways of the Master. I honor Him and acknowledge you, His messenger and Giftbearer.”

The old man’s voice faltered and grew and silent. He seemed lost in memory. Sweet Caroline and Frederick waited, and waited for him to continue, but finally Frederick could wait no longer.

“Finish the story Grandpa! PUH—LEEZE!”

“Yes, oh yes”, chimed in Sweet Caroline. “What happened next?”

“Huh?” asked the old man. “Oh. Sorry my bumpkins, I was just remembering. Well I told the Star King and the Mountain King all that had happened to me and introduced them to my shepherd friends. Then an angel told us to go home a different way. LK035Seems the Breaker had gotten hold of an evil king’s heart. But that’s the stuff of other tales.

“I finally arrived back at LIGHTSHINE HEARTHHOME exactly two years to the day I had departed. Everyone was shocked to see me. They thought I had died. And –in a way—I had. They had let all the lights go out.

“Except for your dad! Maker’s hands, he had kept his burning for me, and he stepped out of the crowd that day, marched straight up to me, and proclaimed, ‘BEHOLD THE LIGHT KING!’ And nobody laughed, for it was finally, impossibly true.”

“And all the dead lamps, Grandpa”, asked Sweet Caroline. “Did you light them?”

“Yes Grandpa,” echoed Frederick. “Did you bring light back home?”

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The old man was quiet, and then said simply, “Yes. I did.”

“Oh, show us, Grandpa. Please show us,” the children begged in unison.

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“Now, now,” protested the old man. “It’s time for bed, you fuzzyheads! Come into my arms and I’ll carry you to your room.

“Oh, Grand-pa!” they wailed, but they obeyed.

He hoisted them like they were babes and turned to leave the fire’s light. He hesitated, and then he strode over to a dark, lifeless lamp, and stood still a moment. The Children, one under each arm, looked at each other excitedly and held their breath.

And then…the old man breathed on the lamp…WHOOSH…and laughed as light

…pure light…

leapt up in the lamp in answer to the call of his breath.

LK004The old man laughed and danced around the room, swinging the children high and breathing upon lampLK010 after lamp LK043LK026until the whole room had blossomed, ablaze in light, and then he whisked the children out of the roomLK031 and whirled down the hall to their room.LK030

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERASome time later, he emerged.

“Hello Father”, came a deep, strong voice.

The speaker was a tall, noble man with grey streaks of wisdom in his beard and a golden crown upon his head.

The old man looked up and grinned. “Hello son, err, Your Highness,” he bowed with only a hint of teasing.

“Kids settled in, Father?” asked the King. “I was just coming to tuck them in.”

“Oh yes. I expect you’ll find them ready and waiting. Ready and waiting”.

The king looked at his father…all dressed beautiful red—like blood—and hair white as snow and shinning bright.

“You’re putting’ on a little weight, there Father. Your belly looks like jelly!’

“Aye, that it does, son, that it does. Too much ale and good cooking’ I guess.”

“But you look healthy, dad. By the Star—you look like you will live forever!”

The old man threw back his snowy head, pulled his crimson cloak around him, and roared in delight.

“That I may, son, that I may”.

Then he walked down the dark hall to his chambers and as he passed, every dark dormant lampLK048 blazed on in glorious heavenly echo of the light of his passing.LK049

The King stood and watched him until he disappeared round the corner, and the echoes of his laughter faded in the distance.LK047

“Behold, the Light King”, he said softly. “Behold.

He turned and went in to his children.

The End

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Can I Just Say AMEN!!!!?????

“Date a girl who reads. Date a girl who spends her money on books instead of clothes. She has problems with closet space because she has too many books. Date a girl who has a list of books she wants to read, who has had a library card since she was twelve.

Find a girl who reads. You’ll know that she does because she will always have an unread book in her bag.She’s the one lovingly looking over the shelves in the bookstore, the one who quietly cries out when she finds the book she wants. You see the weird chick sniffing the pages of an old book in a second hand book shop? That’s the reader. They can never resist smelling the pages, especially when they are yellow.

She’s the girl reading while waiting in that coffee shop down the street. If you take a peek at her mug, the non-dairy creamer is floating on top because she’s kind of engrossed already. Lost in a world of the author’s making. Sit down. She might give you a glare, as most girls who read do not like to be interrupted. Ask her if she likes the book.

Buy her another cup of coffee.

Let her know what you really think of Murakami. See if she got through the first chapter of Fellowship. Understand that if she says she understood James Joyce’s Ulysses she’s just saying that to sound intelligent. Ask her if she loves Alice or she would like to be Alice.

It’s easy to date a girl who reads. Give her books for her birthday, for Christmas and for anniversaries. Give her the gift of words, in poetry, in song. Give her Neruda, Pound, Sexton, Cummings. Let her know that you understand that words are love. Understand that she knows the difference between books and reality but by god, she’s going to try to make her life a little like her favorite book. It will never be your fault if she does.

She has to give it a shot somehow.

Lie to her. If she understands syntax, she will understand your need to lie. Behind words are other things: motivation, value, nuance, dialogue. It will not be the end of the world.

Fail her. Because a girl who reads knows that failure always leads up to the climax. Because girls who understand that all things will come to end. That you can always write a sequel. That you can begin again and again and still be the hero. That life is meant to have a villain or two.

Why be frightened of everything that you are not? Girls who read understand that people, like characters, develop. Except in the Twilight series.

If you find a girl who reads, keep her close. When you find her up at 2 AM clutching a book to her chest and weeping, make her a cup of tea and hold her. You may lose her for a couple of hours but she will always come back to you. She’ll talk as if the characters in the book are real, because for a while, they always are.

You will propose on a hot air balloon. Or during a rock concert. Or very casually next time she’s sick. Over Skype.

You will smile so hard you will wonder why your heart hasn’t burst and bled out all over your chest yet. You will write the story of your lives, have kids with strange names and even stranger tastes. She will introduce your children to the Cat in the Hat and Aslan, maybe in the same day. You will walk the winters of your old age together and she will recite Keats under her breath while you shake the snow off your boots.

Date a girl who reads because you deserve it. You deserve a girl who can give you the most colorful life imaginable. If you can only give her monotony, and stale hours and half-baked proposals, then you’re better off alone. If you want the world and the worlds beyond it, date a girl who reads.

Or better yet, date a girl who writes.”

Rosemarie Urquico

Reposting an amazing Post on Being a Parent of…

a non gender conforming child.  Oh, how things have changed.  Where might I be if…

ah well…read on:

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A Thousand Heartbreaks

A Thousand Heartbreaks

While sitting around drinking coffee Sunday morning I came across this post on Raising My Rainbow and it broke my heart. On so many levels. This blog is about a gender nonconforming first grade boy named C.J. and his family. He dresses like a girl and plays with traditional girl toys. He’s amazing. You should read all about him. And, of course, he has a special place in my heart because my daughter Eliza lives between genders. She’s a badass if I haven’t mentioned it lately and so is C.J.

But recently C.J. wet his pants at school because he was being bullied in the boy’s bathroom. Little boys were peeking through the stall cracks trying to see if he had a penis or a vagina. Intimidated, C.J. stopped going to the bathroom at school and peed in his pants. After drying their collective tears, C.J.’s mom found herself at his school, in front of his teachers and principal, fighting for him. I have been there. And I know I will be there again.

We are mothers of children who don’t fit into the binary boy/girl paradigm our culture subscribes to. We are mothers of children who wear ill-fitting boxer briefs because they don’t make them to fit a girl’s frame. We are mothers of children who wear colorful bracelets and pink skirts but have to use the boy’s bathroom. We are the mothers who drag ourselves to the principal’s office, to the swimming pool, to the soccer team to explain once again that our child is different and fabulous. We are the ones who stand firm footed, square-eyed with people who don’t understand and tell them she’s amazing, she can really kick the ball, that she will be on the team, that she won’t wear a swim shirt unless she wants to, that it is okay to call her by the name she chooses even if it’s Frederick. We watch from the front row when she rocks a double-breasted suit at her guitar performance and we tell her every single day how lucky we are to be her parents. We are grateful for her. For him.

And, yet, we are tired. We live one step away from an off-handed remark, from a misplaced comment, from the seething rage we feel every time someone says something unkind to our perfect, loving, generous, brave children. We keep our children in a bubble as best we can, we pay for private schools, we live in small spaces, we try every day to live from a place of love and not fear. We hold them close at night and tell them there are other people like them even though we don’t know any of them. We tell them every day that they are so incredibly loved and we hope like hell the love and acceptance we’ve shown them will pay off, will protect them.

We harbor the kind of worry that is so profound it catches in our throats when we try to explain it. Because we can’t explain it.  We know our gender creative children are exactly who they are meant to be and in the dark moments that is more comforting that you can imagine.

While our children are breaking trail in front of us, we walk close behind with bright lights to search the path ahead. We are vigilant, we are strong, we have one eye on their safety and one eye on their self-esteem at all times. We allow stories like C.J.’s to break our hearts a thousand times so that we keep fighting. We take a deep breath and let it out because we know that if a child cannot safely go to the bathroom at school while dressed in clothes that make him feel comfortable, we have a long way to go.

Can’t get enough of Savagemama? Read more of her stories here!

On Yielding

There is a style of life that is aggressive, taking and conquering and always advancing and planting the flag of one’s own orienting Structure…the beam of one’s being, the beacon of your way of meaning, whatever it might be.  Many find what looks like success with this style.  Many who are humanist, atheist, positivist, even Christian.

But I find this to be a style that when it is all said and done is still oriented with humanity at the center, at the pivot point, at the crux.

Is that a sufficient foundation?  Can it hold, neath the stress and strain and weight of all existence?

There is a style that is passive, one that embodies the heartfelt axiom that all is fated beforehand, and beyond influence or control, and thus one must surrender and simply allow the waves to wash and crash and carry wherever they have whim or are driven by other forces impersonal and random.  And I find this style to still be at its core one with humanity at its center, for if it is true, why even say it?  It is spoken with the notion that its articulation will help others…but help them…why?  To what?  If all is ordained already, it is moot whether you help or not help, and thus vanity.

Humanity itself is a declaration of meaning!

So there is a 3rd way, the way of Yielding.  This is one that has at its core a white hot passion and confidence, no…a KNOWING that there is meaning, there is pulsing and throbbing like a quasar a Heart that is the Signifier from which all things are signified!  In this way is the understanding that this Heart is able, is willing, and is active to constantly work to show forth Beauty, Truth, and Mercy.  To do other than to make an active choice to yield is to inhibit the actions of this Signifier.

It…the source of all water.

We…the faucet, and we may or may not be tapped in depending on our choice of faith (yes, you all, everyone, have made faith choices).

Our will the spigot, cranked by the choice to yield or not, either open or closed.

Not my will, but yours be done is a statement of a way of life.  One simultaneously so easy and so difficult in that simplicity.  And yet, in that yielding is an austere mountain to conquer, and that mountain is the notion that we somehow can do something in and of ourselves and our own innate strength that has more significance and permanence than merely adding to history’s catalogue of vanities.

In stating my life mission, I invite you to participate in the simplicity of its towering Glory and yawning Depths of Grace.

Yielded vessel, Yielding Blessing.

Not that I have obtained it, but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind, I press on towards that upward calling of The Hope of Glory in the Father of Lights.

Won’t you join me?

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The Harp of Hope

For upon my heart will I play my song,
plucked and strummed and tapped
with fingers of faith-full thoughts and Hope,
Assured that I belong.

For Hope’s not hope that only wishing
waits in resignation.
Hope sings, soars, and gladly yields
And echoes Faith’s Vibration.

I dare not hope in my own strength
for strength is but illusion.
I rest instead in Their own Rest
and dwell there in Collusion.

HA! Trite and amusing rhymes
occupy my busy and anxious soul…

And give space and time
To Choose, to know Whom,
and Play the Harp of Hope

Amen.
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Windows and Pathways

Altars within.
What lies inside leads Outside.
Windows and pathways, like sunrise
Faithful and free.

I sip, slow, as spectrums
Bloom and what was fullness
drains, swirls, and I see beyond
Wavelengths.

There is a forgetting that is born of folly,
There is amnesia kissed by Grace
How to remember and forget in this
stoppered Lonely Place?

Oh Creation, be my window, be my pathway,
Be my temple to stretch out and
Fill with GloryGrace.,
And toast That Which is Beyond
And They Who are Within

Windows and Pathways.

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Thank God that Things have changed…

When I was a child I was lectured and dealt with very very sternly regarding “what I was” and what I always knew myself to be.  Keep in mind this was decades ago.  Back then hippies were a threat and the John Birch Society was the only group worth listening to, all others being communists.  It all seems so sad now, so much sound and fury over things that signified nothing, and dead silence over all that really mattered.

Isn’t that a bit of what Jesus was talking about when he told one of the 7 churches in Revelation to “Wake up, and strengthen that which remains?” We have oft misunderstood that verse, thinking that He was bemoaning that they had allowed much to perish, and had little to preserve.  In fact, I believe that it was just the opposite…they had lots of stuff, but only a little of it actually would remain, could remain!  I think one of the most serious quests in this life is to discover “what remains” and then to pursue it with all your heart.

Anyway, how times have changed!  Slowly it is becoming easier for young transgender children, and it is so much due to education, and to loving parents who will be there for their children, even as our Heavenly Father and Jesus and Lady Grace the Holy Spirit are there for us.  Please check out the article I am posting below, and let yourself feel good knowing that these kids may survive the threats of suicide, violence, and worse that faces transgender people.

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December 8, 2013 8:00 am

Two transgender children struggle to be themselves

Watch above: An excerpt from Tracey Wilson’s interview with 16X9. Tracey was born a boy, but identifies as a girl.

From Trey to Tracey: One child’s journey to be herself

For Tracey Wilson, who is 10 now, her struggle is making sure people see her the way she does. She is transgender; born a boy, but has identified as a girl for as long as she can remember.

Tracey was born “Trey” and is the oldest of three children.

 Tracey Wilson was born Trey. 16×9

Tracey Wilson was born Trey. 16×9

“Sometimes I wish that I was just a girl, just a normal girl so I wouldn’t have to go through all of this.”

Tracey’s parents, Michelle and Garfield, struggled at first to come to terms with their little child, initially thinking that Trey was gay. But after seeking professional help and learning that their son was transgender, the couple embraced their new daughter.

Watch below: Garfield and Michelle Wilson talk about their struggles in accepting that their son, Trey, was really their daughter, Tracey.

Trey dressed and lived as a girl at home, at dance class and with her friends. But soon that wasn’t enough.

 Tracey Wilson, who was born Trey. 16×9

Tracey Wilson, who was born Trey. 16×9

Being a “full time girl” included school, a semi-private Catholic school. But when the Wilsons notified the school of Tracey’s wish, the school said “no.”

“I wanted to use the girl’s bathroom, I wanted to have the girl’s uniform,” says Tracey, clasping onto one of her favourite dolls. “I didn’t know it would all come to this.”

“This” is a human rights complaint that Tracey and her parents have launched against Catholic Independent Schools Vancouver and Sacred Heart Elementary for not allowing Tracey to be “Tracey.”

Instead of letting Tracey use the girl’s bathroom the school allowed Tracey to use the handicapped bathroom. But the school wouldn’t approve a name or uniform change, saying they did not have a policy for allowing it.

Watch below: Doug Lauson, superintendent of the Independent Catholic School Board of Vancouver, talks about the church’s position on being transgender and the research they are doing on how best to accommodate transgender students in their schools.

To the Wilsons, it is not a medical issue. It is personal.

“When they said that they couldn’t let me and that God doesn’t make any mistakes and if he made me a boy then I would have to stay a boy,” says Tracey.

“I couldn’t even watch TV I was crying so much, I couldn’t read a book, I couldn’t do anything. Literally I just lay in my bed sobbing.”

Tracey’s human rights complaint is set to be heard this spring.

10-year-old transgender child fights to have gender removed from birth certificate

“I’ve always been a girl, even when I was considered a boy,” says 10-year-old transgender child, Harriette Cunningham.

“In my dreams I was never a boy.”

 Harriette Cunningham was born a boy, but knew early on she was meant to be a girl. 16×9

Harriette Cunningham was born a boy, but knew early on she was meant to be a girl. 16×9

Harriette is transgender, born a boy but identifies as a girl. About a year ago, Harriette fully transitioned, legally changing her name from Declan, wearing only female clothes and being referred to with female pronouns.

Biologically, she is still a boy, but she now wants her birth certificate and passport to reflect her real identity.

Watch below: Harriette was born a boy, but knew early on she was meant to be a girl.

“It was in Grade 2 when she said ‘Mom, I want to buy some actual dresses to go back to school,’” says Harriette’s mother, Megan. The Cunninghams allowed Harriette, then known as Declan, to dress as “he” wanted.

Watch below: Colin Cunningham reveals the moment he realized his son, Declan, was really his transgender daughter, Harriette.

“Harriette has a very strong personality, kids would say ‘what are you?’ And she’d go ‘I’m a person, that’s what I am,’” says grandmother Cathie Dickens.

Dickens decided to take action. She and Harriette started petitioning ministers and MPs to remove gender from birth certificates, and initiated a human rights complaint against the B.C. government, saying that Harriette never should have been labeled as “male” to begin with.

“When I have to show ID and I’m going through customs, people give me dirty looks and they kind of question me, ‘who is this?’ and it makes me feel like I shouldn’t have to go through that,”  says Harriette, who regularly visits her grandmother in Palm Springs.

Watch below: Lawyer Barbara Findlay explains why having gender on identification is outdated.

While her family has supported her, others have not been so kind.

“I got called a ‘he-she,’ I got called quite mean names and I’d try not to let them… show that I was sad but…it really hurts me,” says Harriette, who has watched the number of birthday party invitations dwindle from 10 two years ago to just one last year.

“I don’t want to be just someone wearing a costume. I want to be me.”

© Shaw Media, 2013

A visual to help you sympathize

Ever wonder why transgender people have dysphoria?  What’s the big deal, right?  So you feel like you are in the wrong body and you want to be in the right one, but know you can’t ever really be in the right one?  No problem, just suck it up, put it out of your mind, and carry on, right?  I mean, that is what everyone else does with the things that bother them so what’s the diff?

Well, check out the pic below…picture sitting in it, how it would feel…that is what it feels like to be gender dysphoric!  You are forced to sit on something you know will hurt you bad, and always cut.

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In light of this, be kind…please?  Just be kind.  Is that so hard?kindness-wave

 

Awakenings by Jill Carattini

Awakenings

Few of us would be able to recollect from our childhoods the moment when self-consciousness first came into being and the process of waking to self began.

For most of us, awareness broke through in pieces. We found ourselves then as we continue to find ourselves now: at times stirringly wakeful to what it means to be human, aware of self and lifetime, and startled by the abruptness of its end.  Essayist Annie Dillard articulates the progression of consciousness with stirring lucidity:

“I woke in bits, like all children, piecemeal over the years. I discovered myself and the world, and forgot them, and discovered them again. I woke at intervals until, by that September when Father went down the river, the intervals of waking tipped the scales, and I was more often awake than not. I noticed this process of waking, and predicted with terrifying logic that one of these years not far away I would be awake continuously and never slip back, and never be free of myself again.”(1)

Dillard describes the rousing of self as strangely recognizable—”like people brought back from cardiac arrest or drowning.” There is a familiarity in the midst of the foreignness. We wake to mystery, but so somehow we wake to something known.

We find ourselves jarred awake in a different way to the idea of death, this unsettling notion of forever falling asleep to the life we have known. But even here there is a curious sense of vigilance we carry with us into death.

Spanish philosopher Miguel de Unamuno once observed that human beings are distinguished from other creatures in that we have the unique practice of burying our dead. In our funeral preparations, we make the dead ready for another stage; we make ourselves ready to continue on, our eyes further open to the weight of life.

We stand ceremoniously present; we speak words over the dead body. Professor James Loder points out the rebellion inherent in these preparations: “We will not let death have the last word. This is a mark of the human spirit that something in us knows we can overcome this thing.”(2)

Into this mysterious world of life and death, the Christian voice calls the world to the wakeful awareness of this spirit, to the story reaching beyond self, beyond our lifetimes and our deaths, speaking words where death stings and tears flow: “The sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from the sky, and the heavenly bodies will be shaken… They will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky, with power and great glory. And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet call… when you see all these things, you know that itis near, right at the door” (Matthew 24:29-33).

When Jesus appeared on the scene of a people who had lived with God’s silence for hundreds of years, there were some who were ready and alert and others who had fallen asleep to the possibility of a God who speaks.

The story of Christ’s coming, the Incarnation of hope and light, is a reminder that wakefulness is a worthy posture. The one who invites us to “come and see” has come near enough to show us for himself.

Like children waking to consciousness, what if something in us knows that Christ is near, right at the door, longing to show us even now. It is worth being found awake, ready for something new and something we have known all along.

For the Christian, this mystery is our consciousness. Christ has come. Christ has risen. Christ will come again.

Jill Carattini is managing editor of A Slice of Infinity at Ravi Zacharias International Ministries in Atlanta, Georgia.

(1) Annie Dillard, An American Childhood (New York: HarperCollins, 1988), 11.
(2) James E. Loder, The Logic of the Spirit (San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 1998), 4.

 

On the Incarnation (by Jill Carattini)

Incarnate

The Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola is one of the world’s largest maximum-security prisons, an eighteen-thousand acre habitat to people who have committed horrible crimes. It houses roughly five thousand inmates, more than half of which are serving life sentences. Death looms large at Angola; ninety-four percent of inmates who enter are expected to die while incarcerated. The fear of dying alone in prison, coupled with the reality that for many inmates their first encounter with death was committing murder, makes death a weighted subject, often locked up in anger, guilt, and dread.

 

For a few, however, the Angola Hospice volunteer program has drastically changed this. In 1998, equipped with a variety of staff trustees and inmate volunteers, the LSP hospice opened its doors to its first terminally ill inmate. Today it is recognized as one of the best programs of its kind. Giving inmate volunteers a role in the creation of the hospice and in the primary care during the dying process, inmates find themselves in the position to tangibly affect the lives of others by being present, by giving a hand, by offering dignity to the dying. Reckoning with death as a fate that awaits all of humanity as they care for dying friends and strangers, the men often gradually let go of hardened demeanors. As one man notes, “I’ve seen guys that used to run around Angola, and want to fight and drug up, actually cry and be heartbroken over the patient.”(1) Another describes being present in the lives of the dying and how much this takes from the living. “But it puts a lot in you,” he adds. A third inmate describes how caring for strangers on the brink of death has put an end to his lifelong anger and helped him to confront his guilt with honesty.

 

It may seem for some an odd story as a means of examining the story of Christmas, but in some ways it is the only story to ever truly introduce the story of Christmas: broken, guilty souls longing for someone to be present. As martyred archbishop Oscar Romero once said, it is only the poor and hungry, those most aware they need someone to come on their behalf, who can celebrate Christmas. For the men at Angola who stare death in the eyes and realize the tender importance of presence, for the child whose mother left and whose father was never there, for the melancholic soul that laments the evils of a fallen world, the Incarnation is the only story that touches every pain, every lost hope, every ounce of our guilt, every joy that ever matters. Where other creeds fail, Christmas, in essence, is about coming poor and weary, guilty and famished to the very scene in history where God reached down and touched the world by stepping into it.

 

The Incarnation is hard to dismiss out of hand because it so radically comes near our needs. Into the world of living and dying the arrival of Christ as a child turns fears of isolation, weakness, and condemnation on their heads. C.S. Lewis describes the doctrine of the Incarnation as a story that gets under our skin unlike any other creed, religion, or theory. “[The Incarnation] digs beneath the surface, works through the rest of our knowledge by unexpected channels, harmonises best with our deepest apprehensions… and undermines our superficial opinions. It has little to say to the man who is still certain that everything is going to the dogs, or that everything is getting better and better, or that everything is God, or that everything is electricity. Its hour comes when these wholesale creeds have begun to fail us.”(2) Standing over the precipices of the things that matter, nothing matters more than that there is a loving, forgiving, eager God who draws near.

 

The great hope of the Incarnation is that God comes for us. God is aware and Christ is present, having come in flesh, and it changes everything. “[I]f accepted,” writes Lewis, “[the Incarnation] illuminates and orders all other phenomena, explains both our laughter and our logic, our fear of the dead and our knowledge that it is somehow good to die,…[and] covers what multitudes of separate theories will hardly cover for us if this is rejected.”(3) The coming of Christ as an infant in Bethlehem puts flesh on humanity’s worth and puts God in humanity’s weakness. To the captive, there is no other freedom.

 

 

Jill Carattini is managing editor of A Slice of Infinity at Ravi Zacharias International Ministries in Atlanta, Georgia.

 

(1) Stephen Kiernan, Last Rights (New York: St Martin’s Press, 2006), 274.
(2) C.S. Lewis, The Complete C.S. Lewis (New York: HarperCollins, 2002), 282.
(3) Ibid.

 

Reposting an article on Intersex people…

Hi everyone…this is a very good article on a phenomena that is far more common than anyone realizes.  If I recall, I think it is more common than cleft palate!  If you would, please treat all humans you run into with kindness, gentleness and compassion.  You will be better off for it, and so will they!  🙂

Special report: Intersex women speak out to protect the next generation

One in 2,000 babies does not fit neatly into male or female categories. Sarah Morrison meets four members of a new group that’s campaigning  to change attitudes and to help others feel less alone

Saturday 30 November 2013

It has taken Holly Greenberry, Sarah Graham, Dawn Vago and Elizabeth Jo Roberts years to go public with their stories. Born into a world that insists on dividing people into two sexes, they did not always know how they fitted in. They were born to typical families in typical areas of Britain, but none of them developed into typical male or females. They are intersex.

An estimated one in 2,000 babies is born with an intersex condition or a (controversially named) disorder of sex development (DSD), which means that they are born with a reproductive or sexual anatomy that does not fit the typical definitions of female or male. This can include atypical genitalia, chromosomes or internal sex organs.

The women argue that their very existence has been “eradicated” by British society. Generations of children have been operated upon to “normalise” their genitals or sexual anatomy, while official documentation, from birth certificates to passports, requires a male or female box to be ticked.  They argue it’s one of the last “human rights taboos” in the western world.

The women have a type of androgen insensitivity syndrome (AIS), which means they have XY chromosomes, but are partially or completely insensitive to testosterone – they are all infertile.

The group has come together to launch a campaign, calling for the Government to urgently review the way intersex people are treated. Following on from Germany’s decision to allow newborn babies to be registered as neither male nor female, their recommendations include the option to leave the sex on British birth certificates blank, measures to protect babies or young people from irreversible and non-consensual treatment and surgery, better emotional support and increased education.

“We are at a tipping point,” said Greenberry, co-founder of Intersex UK. “Most intelligent human beings would be completely surprised and utterly dismayed at the civil inequality and human rights abuses that healthy intersex children and young adults are facing.”

She added: “We need to sit around the table with the Government because we have lived through it. We are positive role models, and professional and intelligent women, who want to represent the needs of children so that the problems we experienced aren’t replicated.”

In the 1960s, it became the norm to operate on children with atypical sexual anatomy at a young age. Doctors assigned the child’s gender and operated to reinforce it. Although attitudes started to change around the turn of the millennium, and clinicians say they have moved to a more “multi-disciplinary” approach, there is still no record of the number of operations carried out, according to Professor Sarah Creighton, consultant gynaecologist at University College London Hospitals.

This year, the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture condemned non- consensual surgery on children to “fix their sex”, saying it could cause “permanent, irreversible infertility and severe mental suffering”.

XXXora, a 33-year-old intersex artist from London, who supports the women’s campaign, refused an operation. She was born with ambiguous sex organs and raised as a boy, but describes herself as “super-feminised from the beginning”. She said: “I never had surgery or hormones. We talked about it, but then I wouldn’t be me. I don’t want to morph into a blue or pink box; I want to stay in my silver box.”

But the campaign is not all about surgery. Certain intersex people, such as Greenberry, are struggling to correct the sex marked on their birth certificates, which makes it impossible to marry and more difficult to adopt children.

Lord Wilf Stevenson, opposition whip and former special adviser to Gordon Brown – who has a more common DSD called hypospadias – supports the campaign and has raised concerns with ministers. “The issue is that the current law has been overtaken by medical technology,” he said.

There is also a need to provide long-term emotional support for intersex people. Ellie Magritte (not her real name), the mother of a girl with AIS and a member of the support group DSD Families, said adults “need and deserve much greater investment in adult DSD care, focusing not on gender, genitals and genetics, but on health, wellbeing and happiness”. She said not all people with a DSD define themselves as intersex, but added: “The main challenges for families and kids is the social context in which we live with these conditions.”

Pia Clinton-Tarestad, head of specialised commissioning at NHS England, said that the NHS is “working to assess the services we commission for intersex people”, and that it understood that “issues surrounding the timing of, and consent to surgery, are controversial”. She added that best practice involves “co-operation and agreement” between child, parents and a multidisciplinary clinical team.

Holly Greenbury

When Holly Greenberry was born, almost four decades ago, doctors spotted a degree of sexual ambiguity. She has XY chromosomes, but also partial androgen insensitivity syndrome, leaving her partly insensitive to testosterone. She was assigned a male sex on her birth certificate, but she did not develop secondary male characteristics during puberty. She knew her gender was female and underwent treatment and surgery throughout her teens. Now, the businesswoman, from south-west England, is in the process of adopting a child. Because she is unable to change her name or sex on her birth certificate, adoption is harder and marriage impossible.

“I’ve never been completely male nor completely female in my genetics. I didn’t masculinise the way a male was expected to, and my body feminised in certain areas. I didn’t have the words to express myself; I didn’t know how I fitted in. It left me feeling really isolated and, while I tried to identify as male, I couldn’t do it. It was like having a series of repetitive panic attacks. Surgery was horrifically damaging and led to huge number of follow-up surgeries. It all could have been prevented if there had been more medical understanding and if there had been less haste in trying to guess which label best fitted. I should have been allowed to be an ambiguous teenager with the freedom to express my natural gender.”

Dawn Vago

Thirty-three years ago, when Dawn Vago was born, she looked like a typical baby girl. But when she was a young child, doctors told her parents that she had testes which would have to be removed. The married singer and programme director from Warrington, Cheshire, is genetically XY and has complete androgen insensitivity syndrome, which means she is totally insensitive to testosterone. She has been on oestrogen replacement therapy since she was 11.

“The doctors told my parents there was no one else in the UK with this condition. I felt alienated from all of my classmates. I always identified very much as female, but had issues accepting myself. When I first read my file and saw my diagnosis, my world completely exploded. I found a support group and all of a sudden, felt like I wasn’t alone. The moment of joy turned into anger. I was in my early twenties and had spent my whole life and childhood feeling alienated. I realised that it doesn’t have to be this way.

“The doctors told my parents that they should push me into a career and make me become a busy woman, so maybe I wouldn’t have time to settle down and have a family. They said I would find it very difficult to find a partner. Two and half years ago, when I walked down the aisle to my incredibly handsome husband, deep inside I was sticking a middle finger up to the entire medical establishment. I am very proud of who I am and I love my body, but I hate the journey that I’ve been on.”

Elizabeth Jo Roberts

Elizabeth Jo, a 29-year-old freelance journalist from Edinburgh, was brought up as a girl. At three years old, when doctors discovered undescended testes, they removed them without her parents’ consent. She was told at the age of 10 that she was infertile and, in her mid-teens, that she had androgen insensitivity syndrome, having been born with XY chromosomes. She met other people with intersex conditions for the first time only a few weeks ago.

“My parents told me I couldn’t have children at 10 years old. I took it pretty badly. It’s like when you’re winded and all the air is sucked out of you. It destroyed my adolescence. I got bullied quite a lot. When I was 10 or 11, I was first given oestrogen pills, but I used to forget to take them, so I never really developed significantly.

“I struggled with identity issues throughout my adolescence and even in my twenties. I’ve left it late on in life to meet others like myself. It has been one of the best things I’ve done; emotionally cathartic. I suffered quite heavily from depression. I want to help others to not feel the same way. They don’t have to feel bad about themselves. Social change takes years to happen, but we should be living in a society where people don’t feel bad about their identity because they have chromosomes that are variations on the norm. They should have freedom to express themselves.”

Sarah Graham

Sarah, 44, did not find out the truth about her diagnosis until her early twenties.  The counsellor from Surrey has complete androgen insensitivity syndrome. She presented at birth as a baby girl and was raised as one, but she has XY chromosomes and was born with internal testes, instead of ovaries. When doctors removed them, at the age of eight, they told her they were removing her ovaries to protect her from cancer and  imminent death.

“They should have told my parents the truth about my diagnosis. The lies were enormously damaging to me and affected my life. They put me on oestrogen replacement therapy when I was 12 years old but, if they had left my body intact, I would have produced hormones naturally. Every six months, I was prodded and poked by an army of medical students.

“Once I saw my diagnosis, I felt like a total freak, like I didn’t belong, and was offered no support. I felt like the only person in the world with the condition and that no one would love me. I went into a massive period of self-hatred and self-destruction, which fuelled a drug and alcohol addiction. Children need to be able grow up intersex if they want and parents shouldn’t be so pressured to make a decision. We must be given the space to exist.”

To find out more visit:

Intersex UK

The Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome Support Group

DSD Families

Hypospadias UK

Moments of Metamorphosis and Eternity

Light, fragile, buoyantly beautiful
and strange they emerge from
woolly woven tombs and skins
of hairy fur and no wings.

Just legs, too many and multipede
in creepy ambulation from plant to twig
avoiding the crushing boot and pecking beak.

Do they know, what they are and will be?
Do they crawl in faith, miracle filled
and waiting?

Or do they toil, in their
earthbound blind and brown dimension
to fall into chrysalis, not knowing that
Emergence waits?

Oh Mama,
may my cocoon be wrought
by Your Faithful and Loving Hands,
May my tomb be rent
by His Faithful and Fierce Sword of Light,
and may my cage be carried
and left behind in moments
of metamorphosis
and eternity.

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Some Time Away

We were away for Thanksgiving, and it was such an odd time for me, as I was simultaneously relieved to be away from the mental and verbal abuse of work, and dreading the return.

The end of Thanksgiving also signified the beginning of the Holiday Season, and I expect all family members to be at home for Christmas, and this prospect fills me with happiness and dread in equal parts…2 know nothing of my TG, and one knows and has not responded well…so that time appears fraught with danger and I am anxious about it.

People speak…no, I myself have spoken of trusting in the Lord.  Everyday more and more is stripped away from my life and really all I have left is to trust Him.  What other option is there?  Curse Him?  That would be like denying gravity!  The fact is that I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I have entrusted to Him until that day.  It is going to be an amazing healing when He returns and sets things right again.tumblr_mwm0p64kuR1rpwt3do1_500