My alarm goes off and I groan. I have never been a morning person. My mom used to have to wake me up for afternoon kindergarten. But I drag myself out of bed, head to the shower. Then I sit on a pillow in front of my small altar. It has candles on it and a hand carved bowl that was given to me by a former parishioner when I got married to my ex-wife. In the bowl is a wooden “clinging cross” given to me by a former customer at the bar where I bartended my way through seminary. I pray Lauds using the Benedictine breviary.
After prayer I put on my clergy shirt. I don’t have to worry about putting on a binder anymore, which is something I am still so, so thankful for. I head out the door to get on the bus that will take me to the church where I work. I think about what my life was like before this and I thank God that I am in a different place now.
It’s been 4 ½ years since I got my first shot of testosterone. I still do my shots weekly, but the anxiety over the needles is gone now. I still get excited about doing my shots, but it’s less of an event and more a way of saying “yes” to myself and my life.
I remember the terror I felt as I thought about transitioning. I worried about what it would cost me. I knew there was a chance it might cost me my family and my marriage. I worried that it would mean I would never find a church to ordain me and that I would never find a church to hire me.
And now it’s been 4 ½ years. My life is unrecognizable now from what it was then. I have entered into a future that I couldn’t even have dreamt of.
It is so, so beautiful.
The pain of transition has mostly faded, like the scars on my chest, to a light pink instead of an angry red. I have dealt with the pain of my divorce but recovered a self-confidence that I didn’t know was possible. I have faced down my fears and come out so much stronger. There is a church that has given me employment and a denomination that has granted me ordination. There is a future in ministry that I am excited about. I have the (complicated) love of my family.
I move through the world in a body that feels like home for the first time.
The most unexpected gift I have received from all of this is that I have rediscovered my faith. I have rediscovered a way to encounter the Divine that is both intellectual and emotional.
This is what resurrection feels like: The terror of night that gives way to the joy of the morning. Faded scars and so much joy. New life and new love. Peace. Overall, so much peace.
Thanks be to God.