I sit here in a moment of quiet reflection.  The  house is still.  I am still.  It has been some time since I felt still.  And silent.  But my mind is a whirl of thoughts and faces and dreams.  I hold my breath, almost, afraid that something will break this moment--the children waking up, or a phone call.  The sound of my keystrokes is almost too loud.  This moment is precious to me as I look inwards and outwards.  Inwards at who I have become and what has changed; outwards at where I am and what hasn’t changed.

I feel the need to recount the dream that I woke with; it is still lingering in my memory, which is unusual.  Most fade more quickly than the frost in the morning sunlight.  Many details have faded, but one incident sticks out clearly in my mind.  My dreaming mind visited a prison.  Dirty, somber and grim.  I was standing in a hallway leading into a room, small but high-walled.  I could not see the ceiling but it was bright, as if open to the daylight.  The walls were made of large, rough-hewn stones, softened a little by time.  There was another hallway leading out of the other side, dark in shadow.  I could not see into it but I knew it led to the rest of the prison.  In this room there were benches of some type, in rows, as if it were a classroom or a chapel.  There were maybe 20 people.  Some sitting, some standing, some chatting, some silent and lost in thought.  Their countenances showed a quiet but unquenchable determination.  In general they were smiling.  They appeared to accept their imprisonment, in general, without anger or bitterness or discontent.

I knew, in my dreaming mind, that these people were conscious of the reasons for their imprisonment; they were acutely aware of their imperfections and weaknesses.  In a way that was somewhat incomprehensible I understood that these people were not here because of any misdeed, but because of who they were, because of their faults.  They were there to improve themselves and they were doing so, inspite of the impossible conditions.  There was no pampering, no warm baths, no clean clothes, no comfortable beds.  Yet I had the impression that the jailers loved and cared for them as if they were their own children.  I did not see the jailers but I was aware of them.

I paused before the threshold, half veiled in shadow.  I had come, in my dream, to visit a friend that I knew was in prison there.  I saw him.  He was there with his wife.  They were standing near the entrance to the other hallway, chatting congenially with some others.  Not wanting to interrupt, I paused for a time.  As I waited I scanned the faces of the others.  In no little surprise I recognized another dear friend.  He was sitting on the side of the room away from the hallways, leaning quietly against the wall, his head resting there.  Occasionally he would look around the room, partially listening to snatches of conversation.  He was smiling a quiet smile.  His hair was rough-cut in the way of prisoners and he was several weeks past a good shave.  So different he looked from the last time I saw him that I barely recognized him.  And I had not expected to find him there.  It had been a long time since I had heard from him and now I understood why.

Unconsciously I drew back, further into shadow.  What if he saw me?  He would know that I knew he was there.  When I looked into his eyes, I would see his faults and his weakness, like dark stains.  He would be embarrassed, I thought.  Ashamed.  I couldn’t go in.  I couldn’t do that to him.  Even as I hesitated my mind was acutely active.  In a moment of introspection I saw myself and everything that I had become.  You are different now, I reminded myself.  I understood what the stains were and I understood their plight, and the purpose of their imprisonment.  I understood their sorrows and their joy.  I understood the self-growth they were gaining from their experiences.  I loved them.  All of them.  I knew that I could even love the stains, that I would not shy away from them.  I could look at them without judgement.

And I knew, with all my heart I knew what it would mean for him to know that love from me.

I stepped into the room, into the light, and I looked into his eyes.  I saw into him, into his soul.  And I loved him.  We smiled.  His smile was full of the light of a child and it warmed my heart.

It was at this point that I woke up.

I’ve wondered about some things as I reflect on this.  I knew that the prisoners were also aware of their strengths, and that they were comfortable together because of the mutual understanding of such.  I also knew that when I looked into them, they would be able to see into me.

I have come, in the past eight months, farther than I have ever journeyed in my life.  The growth I have experienced is, in many ways, even greater than that I experienced on my mission.  But I have not gone anywhere.  I drive the same car, w
ear the same clothes, clean the same house, go to the same church, stand at the same desk.  Nothing has changed but sometimes it feels that everything has.

I had occasion yesterday to interact with a young man for a few minutes yesterday.  We were only in each others life for a brief time but I have a feeling we were both affected by our interaction.  It was not what either of us said.  In fact the conversation had nothing to do with the event I am going to describe, and he wasn’t even talking directly to me at the time.  I felt something different in him, something I am familiar with.  I suspected that he had the same ability to connect, the same sensitivity, and kindness.  It would not have been apparent to someone else.  

I have been in the habit of looking into peoples eyes of late and I was doing so with him.  As we made eye contact I felt the connection.  I felt myself see into him, and I was aware that he knew so too.  I saw a fleeting surprise cross his face and he momentarily stumbled in his speech.  Our gaze parted and he was no longer the focus of my attention but I saw him continue to look at me, but avoiding my gaze if I looked back, he eyes returning to me when I looked away.  I am very familiar with this now, but from his surprise I imagine that for him it was a very new experience.  I would like to know what he thought of the experience but I likely never will in this life.  For me it was another confirmation that I am in the right place and on the right path.  By learning who I am and how to be healthy, I can learn to help others do the same. My desire is to be healthy and comfortable, to live my life the best I can, to reach my goals, to stay true to the Gospel, and to teach other to do the same. This was a small, fleeting incident, but if it got him thinking, questioning, perhaps gave him a desire to find out what that was, it was good.

I was talking with a good friend later that afternoon and he taught me this.  “Intimacy” can be thought of as “In-to-you-I-see”.  My experience with men that live with same-gender attraction is that they have a special gift of being able to connect with others.  While it is the source of much of our loneliness and sadness at times, times when we feel poignantly the need to be intimate, to connect, and have no one to connect with, it is also a wonderful blessing at the times when we are able to do so.  It brings a richness into my life that I would sorely miss if it were taken away.

So here I sit, feeling more like myself than I have felt since I was a child, the confusion and surprise I feel at being open is fading.  I am learning to live with who I am, with being gay.  And I am learning that being gay is not something that you are but something that describes you, just as I am also ADD, wear glasses, and have allergies.

I am learning to be myself, and I love the wonderfully complex and intricate person that I am.

I am me.
Posted by Lucas Jones On 1/18/2013 10:13:00 AM 3 comments

3 comments:

  1. Will, (Mrs. IDM here)

    Wow! - what wonderful thoughts. I am touched by your ability to draw me in to the real emotions you are experiencing. Through your beautiful writing I can truly feel of your spirit - and it is good.

    I was delighted and thrilled as you related your interesting (and clearly meaningful) dream, because I am a firm believer that some of our dreams have great meaning and messages to help us understand our lives, and to guide us through our journey here on this earth.

    Mr. & I have both had many amazing, thought provoking dreams through the years. I also know that it is very important to record them in writing, which shows respect for the sacredness of them and will be a continued blessing to you and a blessing to your children, grandchildren, etc. as well.

    Elder Richard G. Scott spoke about this in his GC talk of April 2012 (How to Obtain Revelation and Inspiration for Your Personal Life) - I love it! It was amazing timing when I heard this talk, as I had been thinking I was a little wacko to have so many dreams that I believed strongly had meaning for me, and that I was writing them down.....then, I heard this wonderful talk and I cried. I know that dreams can have great meaning, and that God wants us to ponder those dreams that we feel might have some meaning and determine what the message is for us in our lives.

    I have actually done a little research on analyizing dreams, and it makes much sense to me what I discovered. Just as Jesus Christ taught through parables, so does he 'teach' us through our dreams. Although the actual people/places/things may not match up exactly with an individual's life, the 'FEELINGS' that are associated with everything and everyone in the dream is what is important.

    I heard once that you should think about each part of your dream, and then think about how you felt at each point in the dream, and then... think about where in your 'real' life do you, or are you, experiencing similar 'feelings' or 'emotions', etc. Then, it will become quite clear to you, and you can use the understanding of those feelings to determine the message that is there to help and guide you.

    Also, I know that a 'thing' in one person's dream can mean something completely different in someone else's dream. Such as a 'prison' in my dream could mean something completely different to me than what the 'prison' in your dream means to you.

    Well, now, having shared all this (my great wisdom & knowledge ;) -lol) it occurs to me that you probably know all of this already, and you've heard the talk, and you've experienced many dreams of meaning. and, you probably already know how to analyze your dreams anyway. Oh well, it's a subject I'm passionate about and so forgive me if I sound condescending, but I will, however, post my comments anyway...... just is case you wanted to know. :D

    PS - It is a very cool thing that you shared your dream with us today, as Mr. IDM & I have literally been working on our next post, (this week - as a matter of fact), which starts out by Mr. IDM telling about an amazing, and life changing dream, that he had several years ago.

    Also, it just happens that Mr. & I are traveling this week, and the last two mornings (waking up in a hotel), Mr. IDM has told me about some very interesting and clearly meaningful dreams that he has had.

    We should probably do a whole post called *Dreamin* - and invite others to share their special experiences with dreams as well. I think we'll do it soon - it would be very cool -of course, for those who are willing to share, it might help others' testimonies to grow. :)

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    Replies
    1. I thank you heartily for your comments. That talk is a wonderful reference. I am able to count on one hand the number of dreams that have remained in my memory as this one did -- and I can still vividly remember all of them. This one was the most complex, though, with many possible meanings. I wonder, in ten years will I see the same meaning in it that I did today?

      Delete
  2. " I am learning to be myself, And i lve the wonderfully complex and intricate person that I am, I am me. What a wonderfull thought Will. It has been years since many of us have been able to be the person that we truly are and want to be. MAny of us have had hidden secrets of abuse and other life events that have prevented us from being "ME". TYThanks for your thoughts DB

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