Tuesday, March 19, 2013

I prayed this to God every night when I was about thirteen.

     For months while I was thirteen I prayed a prayer every night to God.  Sometimes I prayed myself to sleep while doing that.  I was still enjoying the dreams I had frequently (both day and night) since I was about ten years old -- romantic dreams in which I was one of the main characters.  The other character was always a guy my age.  I said "I enjoyed" the dreams.  That's right!  I enjoyed them!  Me falling in love with another guy felt awesome!  In my prayers to God, I went over a check list of things that would need to be changed.  It's not like I thought I was instructing God about anything.  I just wanted to be sure I prayed thoughtfully and had covered all relevant grounds.  All my past report cards would have to be changed.  My medical records would have to be changed.  "Ronald Scott Batson" would exist no more in the past nor in the present and future.  Every night, without fail, for months on end I prayed, "God, turn me into a girl and get it over with, so that I could marry a man."  It just made sense to me to pray that.

     I knew nothing about "homosexuality."  The word "homosexuality" didn't register in my mind, but I had heard it spoken and had seen it a few times.  The first time I heard it was at a church youth camp in Lake City, South Carolina.  Sitting in class, I heard a man, dressed in a suit and tie and having a very somber look on his face, say something about "homosexuality" as if it were something bad.  Everything he said flew over my head.  All I took away from the lesson was that it was something bad.  I saw the word "homosexuality" in a magazine-looking publication put out by David Wilkerson, but, again, it just didn't mean anything to me.  It, however, was surrounded by article headlines about drugs, alcohol, teenage trouble making, and such, so it must have been a bad thing.  I spent a bit of time looking for "homosexual" and "homosexuality" in our family set of Britannica encyclopedias.  That was way back around 1971.  I didn't understand the stuff I tried to read in the encyclopedia.  I didn't find much anyway.  I began hearing (or maybe I was just more alert to) words like "queer," fag," and "faggot," and I sorta connected the dots between them and "homosexual," but, really, I didn't know what a "homosexual" was.  I didn't know what "homosexuality" was.  The encyclopedias were the only sources of information, as vague as it all seemed to me, that were neutral about the matter.  All the others had only "bad" things to say.

     Well, I certainly didn't want to go to hell.  Honestly, I didn't!  I loved God with all my heart.  I loved going to church to learn more, to sing more, to worship more, and be around others who wanted the same.  I didn't want to be bad.      

     If God could turn a rib bone into a woman, a straw stick into a snake, water into wine,  and make a whole world out of nothing, then certainly fulfilling this prayer amounted to a small task, and it seemed like the right thing to do.  

     Finally, I set a date for when I wanted my request to be fulfilled.  I can't remember the specific date, but I do remember that it was a summer date, because I wanted to enjoy my new life a bit before school started.  On the morning of that day, as I was waking up, I said to myself, "I'm a girl."  Disappointment came fast.  But, I didn't get mad at God.  I just started wondering. 

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