I don’t know how many of you have had this experience or feeling before; however, it is extremely hard for me to pull up CNN on the computer without getting frustrated or saddened by the headlines that are flashing in front of me on the screen as I try to live out my daily life. It is discouraging. It is overwhelming. And it saddens my heart…greatly. We’ve been bombarded with stories about the government shutdown, terror atracks in multiple facets, stock market woes, retail store shutdowns, violence around every corner…it just never ends.
Last year, we were hit hard with the news of multiple suicides in the Nation. Some of those that stick out to me were Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain. Because of those stories and knowing that there are so many others of all ages struggling with feelings of suicide, I feel it is even more important to share love and support with those around us.
During my time at Penn State, I went through my share of feelings and struggles with wanting to hurt myself. I would be lying to you if I said I didn’t still have those moments. However, the immense love and support of family and friends is what helped me survive.
Currently, I’ve been struggling personally with recent information about the “church down the street” from my home congregation in Penryn that seems to have an issue with our views on faith and my sexuality. Last time I checked, God is about love and love is love is love regardless of whether it is for a man or woman.
I walk into church every Sunday with an energy of love and passion. I have a blast playing the music for the congregation and it gives my soul such joy to see everyone come together during the time of worship and fellowship we share for that hour on Sunday mornings. I have had so many raw, emotional moments on both the organ and piano bench during Sunday services that help me explore deep thoughts inside myself to grow even more as an individual. I can tell you right now that my sexuality is not something that bothers any of the people in the pews of the congregation. The support and love I have from that church is immense beyond belief. And I’m grateful and blessed.
In spring of 2005, my junior year of high school, I made the decision to come out to a few of my friends. And while it was a decision that weighed heavily on me day in and day out, it is one that I look back on with no regrets. 14 years later, I write to you as an individual who has been bullied, called inappropriate names, stared at constantly, and judged daily. How can it be that we still live in a world that feeds off hate, negativity, and judgment? That is the million dollar question. Why is that we act with guns and violence rather than love and kindness? Why is it that we choose to shut out others rather than listen with patience and understanding? Why do we refuse to find common ground and solutions? Do you have the answer?
I am a believer in sharing love and kindness to everyone regardless of social status, ethnicity, religion, or sexual orientation. I look for the good in others and work hard in finding ways to make those around me happier. I believe in happily ever after and will not sacrifice my morals or values to find whatever that might be for me in life. I fight for what I believe in. I am happy. I am positive. I am spiritual. I am joyful. I am silly. I am reactive. I am emotional. I am proud. I am colorful. I am Mr. Sunshine. I am JP. I am gay.
One day, I hope that we will be able to live in a world free of the judgment walls of hate that we have built up. I hope that people will realize that I, along with my fellow LGTB community, are human beings full of love to give with open arms. All human hands, regardless of color, have the right to love and be loved by whomever.
The world that we live in is made up of many colors. It is up to each and every of you to look inside your heart and share one love with all.
More love. Less hate. Amen.