Don't let your schooling interfere with your education.
~ Pete Seeger

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

A Biblical Surprise

I love the 139th Psalm, verses 1-18, with its lyrical assurance of God's everpresent Love. Sometimes I turn to it for comfort, for a reminder that I can never, not for one second, anywhere, be separated from the love of God. But this morning, as I turned the tattered pages of my Bible in search of it, something from the 142nd caught my eye. I stopped to read it.

Then I read it again.

I read it a third time.

I never expected a three thousand year old man hiding in a cave to write my own prayer – the prayer of a trans woman. Because that's what it was. What it is. A mirror of the desperation that drove me to transition, of the faith that, though not couched in any religion, led me to take that irrevocable step across gender lines.

~*~

Psalm 142
Maschil of David; A Prayer when he was in the cave

I cried unto the Lord with my voice; with my voice unto the Lord did I make my supplication. I poured out my complaint before him; I shewed before him my trouble. When my spirit was overwhelmed within me, then thou knewest my path. In the way wherein I walked have they privily laid a snare for me. I looked on my right hand, and beheld, but there was no man that would know me: refuge failed me; no man cared for my soul. I cried unto thee, O Lord: I said, Thou art my refuge and my portion in the land of the living. Attend unto my cry; for I am brought very low: deliver me from my persecutors; for they are stronger than I. Bring my soul out of prison, that I may praise thy name: the righteous shall compass me about; for thou shalt deal bountifully with me.

~*~

But wait, you say, your family loved you! They cared deeply for you.

No. They did not know me. They cared deeply for the man they thought I was. But I was lying to them; my soul was deep in prison, and they cared not for me, because they could not know me. I lived then in a cave of my own making, a prison that seemed to have no door. But when the desolation of loneliness overwhelmed me, I cried out to the Universe; the door opened, and my path was shown; can I say that it was shown by other than divine Love? I had tried all others; religion, therapy, the Marine Corps, marriage, drunkenness, fantasy, adventure. Nothing opened the door until I surrendered to the one path that could bring my soul out of that prison.

And I am compassed with loving, open arms – friends, family, neighbors, co-workers and colleagues. The Lord has dealt bountifully with me.

He will deliver me from my persecutors; for if they are stronger than I, they are certainly not stronger than Him.

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Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing. To keep our faces toward change and behave like free spirits in the presence of fate is strength undefeatable.
~Helen Keller

Reading List for Information about Transpeople

  • Becoming a Visible Man, by Jamison Green
  • Conundrum, by Jan Morris
  • Gender Outlaw, by Kate Bornstein
  • My Husband Betty, by Helen Boyd
  • Right Side Out, by Annah Moore
  • She's Not There, by Jennifer Boylan
  • The Riddle of Gender, by Deborah Rudacille
  • Trans Liberation, by Leslie Feinberg
  • Transgender Emergence, by Arlene Istar Lev
  • Transgender Warriors, by Leslie Feinberg
  • Transition and Beyond, by Reid Vanderburgh
  • True Selves, by Mildred Brown
  • What Becomes You, by Aaron Link Raz and Hilda Raz
  • Whipping Girl, by Julia Serano
I have come into this world to see this:
the sword drop from men's hands even at the height
of their arc of anger
because we have finally realized there is just one flesh to wound
and it is His - the Christ's, our
Beloved's.
~Hafiz