Balance and Freedom Without Walls

on 08 November 2009

As I walk around DC I am bombarded with ads telling me to “Act Now” and “Stop Wasteful Government Spending.” In each metro car there are about 20 ads, on each bus about 12, and in each metro station at least 30 if not more. For the most part I simply ignore them, or correct their grammatical errors. But since I got here one has consistently stood out to me. Sadly I don’t have a picture of it, but it is the ad for “Freedom Without Walls.” This ad isn’t pushing an agenda, or selling me coffee, it is a day of celebratory remembrance.

The ad has struck me because almost my entire life has been spent with a unified Germany. Most people wouldn’t think about Germany when they are raised in the United States as much as I do, but I grew up learning the difference between Right and Links, not Right and Left and that an airplane was called das Flugzeug. My mother served her mission in Germany and still peaks a little German to us. So needless to say this ad stuck with me, but not until now did I have a reason to talk about it.

The fall of the Berlin wall was a very real and symbolic representation of tearing down the barriers that separate us. The fall of the wall was felt in economics and politics; it changed the very culture of Germany and the spreading of information. For decades the people of Germany were divided and on November 9th 1989 they were finally reunited. Why am I talking about Germany? What does this have to do with finding your path you ask?

Well this week I read about a group of pastors who are coming to Washington to preach about the evils of homosexuality right outside the Justice Department in a protest of the Hate Crime Law that was just passed. Their goal is to incite an arrest by preaching what they believe as truth and some perceive as Hate Crimes and failing an arrest, illuminate the failings of the Justice Department to enforce the law. In counter-protest a group is will be spreading a message of Love and countering their arguments. Again, what does this have to do with finding your path?

Well, I see a lot of parallels between these two events. I look at the Protest/Counter-Protest and I weep. It saddens me because it represents a fractured society, a separated culture and a divided nation. While it is sad that this is happening on a national level, what is worse is the tempest that so many members of the Gay Mormon (or any religious) community feel within themselves. When I was first researching Gay Mormons and trying to figure out my spirituality and sexuality, it seemed like I had two choices, both involved nearly destroying a part of who I was.

This choice that confronts us is devastating. It is an inner tempest that rages and beats us down until we either choose one (and feel a void) or we choose to give up the struggle. I felt that way nearly a year ago and I wrote down in my journal that I had to prepare myself to sacrifice my entire being for the Lord and then the next day inquired as to if I had breached the limit of the atonement and was beyond saving. Far too many people choose to give up because they see it as a choice between which half of you do you save. That is the lesson being taught by the Protest/Counter-Protest, that you have to choose.

I challenge that assumption. I challenge the belief that we have to choose which side of the wall to live on. I challenge the basis that there cannot be balance between your spirituality and your sexuality. I believe that if we tear down that assumption within ourselves and search for balance that we will find it. I believe that if we, amidst the tempest of our heart, cry out unto the Lord, that He will still our troubled hearts as he commands, “Peace, be still.”

Tomorrow marks the 20th anniversary of a unified nation. When will the 1st anniversary of a unified you be? When will we all stop trying to prove that we are right and instead start helping others realize the right path for them? When will you begin to help another unify their soul?


Joe Conflict said...

You write well David. I'd love to see the elaboration on this one. I remember sitting in my dorm room as a freshman in college watching the people tearing down the wall. I was glued to the TV. It was so unbelievable to see humanity triumph over tyranny. Beautiful moment of my memory.

Anonymous said...

I really love your analogy between the Unified Germany and a Unified self. This post has especial meaning to me as I was in Europe when the Berlin Wall came down. (My students (from a High School in the UK) were on their way to Germany to play in the European Football Championships and literally were the first through the downed borders. Whilst there, the Wall came down. Students and their families came back with the most amazing photos and stories of more than a million people gathered at Brandenburger Tor, witnessing this event.) And, as a gay member of the Church, I, too, have had to face the "wall" between Church and self. Happily, the "wall" has come down, and there has been an "unification".

Thank you for your outstanding post.

darkdrearywilderness said...


Interesting way to think about it. Thankfully, my wall came down pretty easily. Or was never really there to begin with. I'm not sure why, though. I never really had a crisis of faith, I just always knew that God loves me no matter what. It probably seems weird for people on both sides of the wall that I can be both a mostly-active member (as far attending and believing, at least) and a mostly-active gay guy (i.e. wanting a long-term relationship with another man)

Sean said...

I loved your you tube vid on this too. I hope you will enlighten us as to how you found the balance between spirituality and sexuality.

Angee Doan said...

This was a very well written and composed piece. I love how incredibly thoughtful you are and your inner calm (or clarity) that you are trying to share.

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