Fifteen years ago this month I was halfway through law school. I had just started clerking at a firm part-time and was busy competing for Tech’s mock trial and moot court teams. And, oh yeah, there were reading assignments.
Volumes of reading to do.
The last thing I had time for was to get on a plane and fly to Dallas once a week. But when you hurt badly enough, you’ll do a lot of things you think you don’t have time for.
And don’t have money for.
For years I had been struggling with something I didn’t even quite know how to name. It was something we didn’t talk about when I was growing up, so when I started having feelings of attraction to women when I was in college, I had no idea what to do with that.
And what I feared that might mean about me, I didn’t dare utter.
Especially at a Christian university.
In the middle of the Bible belt.
So I didn’t say anything about what was going on inside me.
That was too risky.
All my life I’d heard things said about “those people.”
That they were going to hell.
That they were “sick.”
What if it was true that I was one of “those people?”
Pride and fear kept all that confusion, pain and anxiety bottled up inside of me.
For the next 15 years I wrestled in silence with my own self-worth. With disordered relationships within my family. With the frustration of close friendships that were far more than friendships in my mind. With the pain of not ever having those God-breathed desires for intimacy and connection with another person met in a healthy way.
Until that moment in my second year of law school when I hurt badly enough. When I just couldn’t continue to perform, to keep it all together on the outside, while such confusion was going on inside me.
The price of a plane ticket, cab fare, and the six hours it took out of my week was a small price to pay for the safe place I found to talk.
Even on days when I showed up at his office so airsick from the turbulence on the flight that I couldn’t even talk.
It was worth every penny to have somebody who loved me right where I was – in a state of utter confusion and pain, not knowing what to do, not knowing how I got there, or where I would end up.
“Fixing me” was not the goal. Listening, loving, and giving the little girl inside me a voice – a little girl who didn’t feel valued – well, that was all that mattered.
And that has made all the difference in my life.