Greetings, one and all! My name is Alex. I’m a born and raised Southern boy who found himself in the heart of one of the busiest cities in the world. A teacher by trade and an artist at heart, I am always up for a good adventure. Over the last couple years, God has put me on a path that has been the most interesting adventure of all. I hope to share all the beauty, pain, joy, heartache, and lessons that God is teaching me throughout this journey.
Leaving for the YOBBERS retreat late on a Thursday night was an escape. I wanted to get away from the chaos and stress that had defined my life. I wanted to find rest, but not the kind that satisfies in the moment.
No, it was much more than that. I wanted to find the rest that God provides, such that defies all logic and understanding.
If it took flying all the way across the country to seek where the Lord would teach me about that kind of rest, I would gladly do it again in a heartbeat.
You may be asking me though, “Why on earth would you travel all the way from Los Angeles to North Carolina for only two nights? Why would you fight through several airports and the crowds for such a quick turnaround? As a teacher, why would you do this in the middle of the school year, especially with grades to be submitted the next week? What possessed you to make such a sudden and seemingly reckless trip?”
The short answer is this:
I knew that in the depths of my heart, I needed to be with my brothers. I needed to be with my family. And there was no way I would miss out on this chance to spend time with them.
Having already met a handful of the guys from our community in person, as well as getting to know many others through our virtual platforms, there wasn’t nearly as much anxiety about meeting for the first time. If anything, there was excitement and a desire to finally meet the brothers whom I had only seen on Zoom calls.
The moment I finally met my brothers was truly special. It was as if all the fatigue of travel had melted away in their presence. Everything I left behind faded in the beautiful moments of smiles, laughter, and great conversation.
I was embraced in the arms of my brothers who had always been a world away from me. It truly felt like I had come home this weekend.
Likewise, there were brothers whom I hadn’t met yet, not even online. Despite this, I was equally as excited to meet them as well, wanting nothing more than to include them in our brotherhood.
We truly share a unique connection as a community. We share this experience as queer and SSA and gay and bi men trying to live our lives faithfully to Christ, and I don’t have to hide what I experience from these men.
They understand the pain. They understand the loneliness. They understand.
It is this implied understanding that makes me feel safe among them. I can fully be me, without having to hide. I am accepted as me.
My heart overflowed every second I spent with them.
When have you felt a sense of fullness or overflowing among other people? What’s the biggest risk you’ve taken for the sake of community?
I sure enjoyed reading of your time at the retreat! Having community to share one’s life with is so life-giving and something I don’t have much of. May our Lord bless and keep you in your walk and journey.