In 2011, New Direction launched an arts-focused website called “The Space Between.” The idea behind the name was the space between the art piece and the people viewing it: space for interpretation, inspiration, and collaboration. After several years of beautiful art on that website, we’ve decided to revive and consolidate our arts focus here on this blog with regular “Art Friday” posts.
We’ll be featuring creative works by several members of our Generous Space community, showcasing the diverse ways LGBTQ+ people reflect the image of our common Creator, and inspiring further conversation and imagination.
For our first Art Friday, we’re grateful for the permission to post a creative writing piece by Sarah, who’s part of our brand new Ottawa Generous Space Group. We first met Sarah at this year’s Ontario Generous Space Retreat. Here’s what she says about this poem:
“Communion has always been a struggle for me. When prefaced with “If you call Jesus Lord…” I always had to stop and think of what my answer to that question was, and it was most often uncertainty and confusion, so I did not participate. Slowly God worked His way into my heart and I knew that He loved me and that I wanted to love Him (even if I didn’t always feel like it). But there was still a question…can I be gay and call Jesus Lord? I’m learning that the answer is yes…sometimes it’s a confident yes and I march up to the table with a smile on my face, other times it’s a cautious yes and I slowly make my way to the table unsure of my place. Either way, I know He delights in making room for all of us, no matter how many extra chairs He has to pull out.”
by Sarah Speer
There’s a sign for me that says “reserved” taped to the back pew,
Because I can’t sit with everyone else, can’t be gay and a Christian too.
So many times I felt like I was on the outside looking in,
Thinking everyone would notice the discomfort in my own skin.
Never felt like I should be there, never thought I could belong,
Each week doubt came knocking, it took away my voice, my story, and my song.
Then they’d eat that bread together, but only if you believed,
And I wasn’t sure, so instead I sat glued to my chair and wiped away the tears with my sleeve.
Couldn’t love or accept myself, so there’s no way this distant and illusive God would,
When the music played I sat in my reserved seat while everyone else stood.
But slowly my heart melted and I started to unravel,
I knew the road would be long, there would be far for me to travel.
And still I said yes and grabbed his hand because I want Him to be enough,
Want to believe that He loves me with my doubts, my scars, and all of that ugly stuff.
He began to gently speak and tell my heart what is true,
He said, “When confusion hits remember you’re creative, brave, and determined, sweet Sarah Jayne, THAT is you.
You are my creation, I wove together every unique and beautiful piece,”
And as I listened I learned of all the things I could release.
Like the shame that eats me up and keeps me from being known,
Because His grace and His mercy are there to remind me that yes I am His own.
I started to let friends in, stopped hiding and took down the reserved sign from the back,
Started to let the bread and the wine become my regular Sunday snack.
But there’s a dark and scary shadow that often sneaks up from behind,
And whispers hurtful things that stick in the back of my mind.
Convinces me that out of all the sinners, I must be the worst,
Each time he comes around he brings new ways to take away my hunger and my thirst.
Tells me that my words don’t matter and no one wants me around,
Then he walks away and laughs as my confidence tumbles to the ground.
Yet that distant and illusive God isn’t so far away, you see,
He refuses to leave my side; He just won’t let me be.
He picks me up every time and brushes off the dust,
Never loses patience the millionth time he has to rebuild my trust.
Because He knows how hard it is, He knows my deep and heavy fears,
Which is why every time I use my voice He claps His hands and cheers!
Even when others don’t I know He will always make room,
Since everyone should be allowed to celebrate the empty tomb.
The meal is about love, a reminder that everyone fits in,
LGBTQ, doesn’t matter! He loves us with a heart that’s genuine.
I’m not a Bible scholar but I know what’s true in my heart is clear,
And He tells me it’s a message that all of us should hear.
When I walk towards that table I know there’s a smile on His face,
As He pulls up a chair with a “reserved” sign and sets out another place.