Hello, readers. Again, it has been a while. I am picking this blog back up for at least the next few days because I have a journey that I want to share with you, a journey that is both literal and symbolic.
As I write this, I am sitting in the Columbus Airport waiting for the first leg of a journey to the San Francisco Bay Area. I am heading out for the wedding of a friend, and I am very excited about that. This friend is someone that I met early in my journey within the United Methodist Church, and I have traveled many places with him both geographically and emotionally as it is often not easy to be in relationship to the United Methodist Church. It is the friendships that are built in and through the struggle that make it bearable and, in my mind, regardless of where the denomination or the remnants of it end up, will be what has made this journey worth it in the end.
There is a second reason that I am emotionally invested in this trip across the country. My last trip to San Francisco was in 2007. I was a very different person then. Well, actually, I guess I was the same person. I was just denying at least one very significant part of myself. I was still neck-deep in the belief that my sexuality was a fundamental flaw and that I was somehow spiritually damaged in a way that needed God’s restoration. I was there only for an afternoon with three friends from my old church as we were engaging in a cross-country road trip that we had started in San Diego. I don’t regret that trip. It was an amazing experience, and I was able to see some really incredible things. I was also with three people that I cared about deeply, and that, if I’m honest, I still care about a great deal, even if we do view the world through very different lenses now. Life is so complicated in that way.
Given this background, the trip that I am embarking on today has taken on the feeling of a spiritual pilgrimage. The wedding won’t take place until Saturday afternoon, and I don’t have any related social commitments until Friday evening; so, I will have approximately a day and a half to myself to explore. During that last trip, having only an afternoon before we needed to get back on the road, we only had time to visit the Golden Gate Bridge, Fisherman’s Wharf, and Alcatraz. I do want to go back to the Golden Gate Bridge. A few years ago, I was able to have the amazing experience of walking across the Brooklyn Bridge into Manhattan, which was an amazing experience and presents some incredible views of the city. I know that San Francisco doesn’t have the same towering skyline as Manhattan, but I do want to walk across the bridge and into the city. San Francisco is charming in its own way. Of course, I also want to visit The Castro the first time. I want to experience the streets that inspired the work of Harvey Milk and the words of Armistead Maupin.
I may be building up this experience too much, but I feel confident that, no matter what, I will be deeply moved by this experience as I seek to connect with the city in a very different way than I did over a decade ago. I will be posting updates over the next few days, and I may capture some video as well.
I find even this sign off a reflective act as it is from this former time in my life that the nickname Culbs comes from. Using it in this blog is an intentional act to re-connect with a piece of myself in a healthier and fuller way just as I am hoping to re-connect with the city of San Francisco in a new and different, in hopefully a fuller, way.