Last week I was watching the final episode of the season of Glee. Yes, I watch Glee. I am completely drawn to it. I love the music, and the quality of the singing is good as well. I love the humor, the crazy inane stuff that is part of the whole package.
I like the brutal honestly of these kids and the ways the teachers fight over their gifts and talents to own them for their programs and accolades of achievement. I especially like Sue Sylvester, the coach of the Cheerios cheer leading team. She’s rough, crass, and totally inappropriate but that’s what makes her so funny. I guess a little license of humor there for me.
But in many ways its very personal and draws me back to my own experience in high school.
When I was in school I was different than all the other guys. I wore crazy clothing like “elephant bell bottom” jeans and stacked sole shoes. That was all the rage in the early seventies for those willing to wear the latest fashion. I remember asking my sisters to sew the side panels into the bottom of my jeans to make them even bigger. I loved bright colors, and wore a puka shell necklace, if you know what that is. And, my hair was longer and quaffed with the latest style. I used a blow dryer and hair spray to keep it just right.
I used to sit in the library with a bunch of girls because I seemed to be able to relate to them better than any of the guys I was around. I was isolated in my heart and tried as much as I could to make it through the social nonconformity that seemed to plague my young years.
In this latest episode of Glee when Kurt’s dad asked him to come into the theater so that he could give him his graduation present I wondered what it could be, just as Kurt did. When his dad got up and “gave” him a dance and song similar to one Kurt had done earlier in the show, my eyes began to tear up, once again. His dad was doing his very best to relate to his son. Their relationship hadn’t always been so good. To show him he wasn’t ashamed of him and that he loved who he was became better than anything money could buy. Kurt remembered how much they had gone through together with losing his mother, and his dad’s heart attack. They had bonded and this gift was a wonderful outward sign of their accomplishment.
It wasn’t just tears in my eyes, but something deep in my soul was stirred. I have said over and over, that it is what it is, to life issues. And the fact that I’m gay, is what it is. But I haven’t always accepted it in myself that way.
As I watch Kurt’s life exposed through this weekly series, I recognize that through the seasons of Glee he has worked to come to a place of acceptance of himself, as he is, gay and all. He has fought through the ridicule, the rejection, and the battles within his relationships at school, and at home. He has worked to move towards his dad and fortunately, his dad was able to come close to him.
Unlike Kurt, I didn’t live in these modern day times so I didn’t come out in high school. Actually, I didn’t even recognize that I was gay. I had all of the signs, and attractions but I was so naive that I didn’t see it for myself. In later years, a close high school friend that was a girl said, “oh, John, we all knew you were gay.” I was a little offended and felt exposed by her comment, but she was right.
Kurt’s life experience joins my own in so many ways. Something about his tenacity and his forthrightness I believe I also share, but it is something I lack confidence in revealing. He is fighting the battles of so many things that I have also fought. But in that last episode as he cried from the affirmation from his dad’s gift, I also cried with desire for that same love, the same unconditional acceptance.
Kurt’s dad wasn’t affirming immorality, or debauchery. He was affirming his son as he is, his talent, his uniqueness and not rejecting him as a gay son. He is giving his love to him through an amazing ability to step outside of his own comfort zone that was a challenge and completely unfamiliar to his own history.
That is what Jesus does. He came out of his own comfort zone, into a completely unfamiliar life experience to give a tremendous gift of affirmation to us. He accepts us right where we are, bag and baggage of which I have a lot of.
But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us Roman’s 5:8
I hope that as a Christian I can continue to grow to accept people, right where they are, and demonstrate this kind of love to others like Jesus did.