(Today we have a powerful story of how our friend Aiden has wrestled through many recent transitions in his life.)
I thought I had it all - two kids, healthy family, good job…. But I was not a very spiritual person. Then things started to change. My ex (the kids' birth mother) took the kids away from me. This devastated me and drove me away from spirituality. How could God allow this to happen? I threw myself into work, trying to fill the voids in my life.
Last spring I decided life was ticking by faster and faster, it was time to be the real me. I came out as transgender and started transitioning. This turned out to be surprisingly unchallenged - almost all reactions from family and friends were supportive or they kept their negative opinions to themselves. I still struggled with spirituality - why did I spend so much of my life not being me?
Last June my Mom was diagnosed with metastatic lung cancer. She went from a clear lung scan to stage four in less than six months with no warning signs. We decided to fight with all we had. She responded well to the chemotherapy and she was winning the battle against the cancer. I spent the day with her and my Dad December 31st - she was talkative and eating a little more than she had been. We took the tree down and she helped wrap the family ornaments-making sure Dad and I did it right! I left that day feeling good about her progress. Three days later I got a call from my Dad. They were at the hospital and it was not good. She was weak and couldn’t keep food down. I rushed to them and tried to be positive and think good thoughts but it was bad. Two days later we were making decisions and filling out papers. By the end of the day she was unresponsive. She passed away a couple of days later. I was again struggling with spirituality - Why did this happen? Why was she allowed to be in so much pain? More questions that I had no answers for.
I went on with life, blankly going to work and going day to day with my life. A month after Mom passed I lost my job. I was shocked and confused and mad. Again I struggled. I was at a crossroads with my life and spirituality. There were days that I wanted to give up - there was no reason for anything and nothing good in life. As I was going through this struggle I thought often of my Mom and her spirituality and faith in God. I thought about Dad, with all he was going through he kept his faith in God. I thought about their church family and how they rallied around my parents from the time Mom was first diagnosed, offering support and love and faith in God. There were many visitors, anything needed was taken care of, and more food than any two people could ever eat. They were there for both of my parents.
As I thought about all of these things I realized that I did not have it all with my life. I began to understand why my Mom told me so many times that there is more to life than work. I was missing God in my life. When I had thought God was not there with me, God actually was there. I had just not acknowledged God's presence. My thinking started to change. Life had to be about more than making money. What can I do, where do I start?
As my thinking was changing my parents' Pastor told me she knew someone in Greensboro that was helping to start a new faith community and could she have them reach out to me. She felt that it might be good for me. I welcomed the opportunity - things were falling into place, starting to make some sense. I was invited to a meeting with the Downtown City Village. I was nervous - I didn’t know anyone there, didn’t know what it was about. But I pushed my hesitation aside and went. I am grateful that I was led to make that decision. It has changed my life and continues to do so. I realize that there is good in the world, there is a purpose to things, I can make a difference in this world. And I am never alone.