NOTE: For Part 1, click here.
As much as I can, I try to create sacred time and space so as to step back and observe and appraise the ways I'm choosing to respond to these situations. More often than not, the counsel I discern reminds me that it's not about me. It's first and foremost about listening to the needs of others and simply being a quiet, loving presence in the midst of grief and loss. In other situations, it's about welcoming the opportunity to let go of the past and discern where and how it is God is calling me to share my gifts and talents, now and in the future.
I noted in Part 1 that this blog is very much a journal, a testimony, to the challenge of living as a gay man, true to the gift of my sexuality, within the Roman Catholic faith tradition. Yet at the same time it's also true that The Wild Reed chronicles my moving away and beyond this tradition and, in particular, its corrupt-to-the-core clerical caste. I think I've always been aware of this, and, in retrospect, the signs of this journey's progress have been clear for all to see – from the very beginning (One of These Boys . . .) and onwards (The Onward Call, Keeping the Spark Alive, Dispatches from the Periphery, A Return to the Spirit, The Sufi Way, As the Last Walls Dissolve . . . Everything is Possible).
Above: My Australian friends Jeremiah and Kristy with their daughter Frankie. Most of my time in Australia was spent at the Leichhardt home of Jeremiah, Kristy and Frankie, a home shared with Jeremiah's sisters, Mim and Collette.
Above: Little Frankie!
Right: With friends Dom and Bernie.
Above: Collette and Jeremy.
Above: Sydney's Broadway Shopping Centre,
where my friend Dom works.
where my friend Dom works.
McGowan family, including Raph who visited me last October in Minnesota.
I also spent three days with my parents at their home in Port Macquarie, where I also got to see my younger brother and his family. Then, during my last days in Australia, Mum and Dad traveled down from Port Macquarie to Sydney. It was great to spend more time with them (left), including a memorable afternoon on Sydney Harbour (above).
Left: Back in Minnesota with my good friends Brian and Kathleen.
Right: My friend Phil at his May 18, 2012 commissioning as a Second Lieutenant in the US Army Nurse Corps. Congratulations, Sunshine!
Above: A great shot of Phil's sister Alicia helping Phil with his beret.
We were all getting ready that morning for Phil's commissioning.
Above: Family and friends celebrating Phil's achievement – May 18, 2012.
Above: My friend Maya participating in this year's MayDay Parade.
For more images of this wonderful event, click here.
Above: Standing at right with (from left) Richard Carlbom, Campaign Manager of Minnesotans United for All Families, and Cheryl Maloney and Mary Beckfeld, fellow board members of Catholics for Marriage Equality MN.
Above: Friendly faces (and dogs) are always in abundance in this particular kitchen! From left: Noelle, Liana (with Eddie), Curtis, Phil and Jacob.
Above: With Charlie!
Above: Curtis and Eddie.
Right: With Phil.
During the last week of May I joined with other Catholics to phone bank at the Minneapolis office of Minnesotans United for All Families. We were calling fellow Catholics to invite them to the upcoming June 10 "Catholics Vote No" event. Pictured above are my friends Ann, Chad, Eileen and Art.
As I walked through Loring Park to get to the Minneapolis headquarters of Minnesotans United for All Families, I snapped this beautiful image.
Above: Another image of the beauty of nature. This one was taken just a stone's throw away from my home in South Minneapolis, close to beautiful Minnehaha Creek. For more photos of this part of the Twin Cities, see here and here.
Images: Michael J. Bayly.