Saturday, December 23, 2006


May you find hope and peace.


Friday, December 22, 2006

Music of the Season

Some thoughts on Christmas musical concerts:

1. A perfect Christmas Sacrament Meeting in Manhattan.

Attending Sacrament Meeting in Manhattan is like entering another world of church-going. The congregation was almost all 20-something young professionals / graduate students as couples or with small children. The ward choir had to be full of Juliard students or Broadway-level professionals, including concert pianists, celloists, violists, and French hornists... all perfect. It was so perfect, it was almost uncomfortable. I know that the individuals and choir performing were offering their best to the Lord (verses showing off for the glory of themselves - after all this was a Sacrament Meeting) but I was blown away and felt like I should applaud instead of meditate. Don't get me wrong - it was wonderful. I kept thinking of the Jimmy Stewart line in the classic Rear Window (I love that movie) when Grace Kelly (the hottest actress ever) prepares a perfect dinner for him in his wheelchair and he looks up at her in amazement and she wonders what's wrong and he says: "Leeza, it's perfect!" in a disgusted tone.

2. High School Orchestra concert.

Returning home, we attended the high school Orchestra Christmas concert. Now, there is something spiritual that happens when the physics of resonance all come together in perfect harmony - this wasn't one of those moments.:-) However, my daughter's solo was perfection personified (no bias from this father).

3. Tabernacle Choir with Sissel.

The spiritual perfection of a voice of an angel (the International Norwegian singer Sissel) blending with the Tabernacle Choir and Temple Square Orchestra in the Conference Center decked out in the holiday's best - was a spiritual inspiration. It was simply magic!

4. Our ward choir.

Singing in our ward choir has been an embarassment - not that I know how to sing, but that the piece we are performing on Sunday is heavy on a descant of high sopranos - and - well, um... let's just say that we need to encourage the choir director to not select pieces that have anything relying on the sopranos doing more than singing the melody... or not singing at all... (was that too mean?)

5. High School Show Choir concert.

Now this one was fun. My son is in a performing show choir for the high school. They show a lot of spunk and enthusiasm as they dance, wiggle, sing and perform non-stop in an engaging way for 90 minutes of fun!

Because my son had to stay behind after the choir to help the teacher with some behind-the-scenes activities, I remained sitting in the auditorium and watched the open affection of the high school students (performers and friends) who lingered after the concert. It was astounding to watch abundant hugging between girls, guys and girls, and especially guys and guys... a lot of guy-to-guy hugging, and hanging on each other as they'd talk with each other. I realized how much removed I am from their world - but it was fun to observe the open affectionate relationships many of the guys had with each other! I raked my memory bank trying to remember if I had had those guy-to-guy hanging-on-each-other experiences and I can't come up with any! Has it changed that much? What was going on here? Or am I just so consumed by guy-to-guy attention now that I focus in on it and see nothing but this?

My thoughts lingered on what it would be like had I been in high school in such an open display of guy-to-guy affection... I don't know if the world is changing or if I just hope that it is. More thoughts on this later.

Anyway, just some random thoughts - not very well connected... but all the same - part of the Music of the Season!

Monday, December 18, 2006

Side comment...

Just a little side comment is frustrating me to death...

We have dear close friends whose son is openly gay. Living in Utah, (or anywhere for that matter, I presume) as an active LDS family, this situation causes screened and careful conversation. We received their annual Christmas letter update and noted that their son had moved out of state for professional reasons of career advancements.

I stated it matter-of-factly to my wife and she said: "It's definitely for the best that he leaves Utah. It's better for all involved."

I looked at her and was stunned and even hurt. I know she meant well in stating that he would be happier in his life in another state and yet there was an implied "relief" on behalf of her feelings about what she perceived to be the feelings of our friends - even though they have never indicated in any way this uncomfortableness. In fact, they have demonstrated an amazing amout of pride and love for their son.

(NOTE: I know that now is the time to crack open the November Ensign and read the conference talk of Elder Bednar's on taking offense and that only one can choose to be offended, but...)

Her comment was not meant to be mean-spirited. After all these years together, I know her intentions were not to be discriminatory or hurtful, but they came off very sharp and to the point, implying (in her mind) that one who has a gay son in Utah is better off having that gay son move out of state to be "rid of the problem".

This has caused me to think about if I had been more open - would my parents, would my family, would my wife-to-be had wanted me to "get out of Utah" to be "rid of the problem" or the "embarrassment"?

I don't know why such an innocent comment of matter-of-fact delivery is causing me so much grief. I guess it's triggered the idea that after all that we have gone through, all the pain and anguish of working through these tough issues, she really doesn't understand me or my issues, and is content with our situation as long as I manage to be "under control" and "hidden". I have been in control for some time now, but it's always there and it's not going away and sometimes it's just barely under the surface... I just go Christmas shopping at the Mall this weekend and see displays of young guys in sexy jeans or watch the parade of men and I realize just how barely hidden it is...

And she has no concept of how hard I'm trying... or how hurtful simple nonchalant statements can be. It's made me at least contemplate that she doesn't have a clue what is going on inside me. I know comments may come back at me that - then, it's my fault for not giving her a clue - but it's not that easy and opening it up again is so painful... it's better to hide.
Maybe I should be the one to get out of Utah?

Friday, December 15, 2006

What is this world coming to?

What is this world coming to? A kinder and gentler NYC?

I recently spent time in Midtown Manhattan and was pleasantly surprised at a softer Big Apple... What's going on here? Even with the hustle and bustle of the holiday time, and the general increased stress of the season, I found crowds, police officers, bus drivers, subway attendants, etc. all courteous and helpful. In past trips, I must admit that my experiences have been less than hospitable.

I mean I took the ferry across the Hudson at Pier 79 several times and there was actually a greeter with maps and smiles, cheerfully giving assistance and helpful information where possible. I'm confused... so, what's happened? I took the wrong bus and had several passengers eager to help me correct my mistake and help me on my way, being sure that I made the right connection.

Between business commitments, I had a great time...seeing some amazing art museum exhibits at the MET, MoMA, Guggenheim, and, eating an incredible lamb and chicken gyro on 5th Avenue, ice skating at Bryant Park, gazing at the department store windows, riding the ancient wood escalator to the top of Maceys, hiking through the Rambles and climbing to the top of the Belvedere Castle in Central Park, listening to Mozart in the J.P. Morgan Library while following along with the original 18th C. score, zooming to the "Top of the Rock" at Rockerfeller Center and taking in the never ending vista of a crystal clear morning, engaging shoppers at Saks while being sprayed with French perfume, googling the jewelry at Tiffany's, being in awe of the architectural detail of the City Library Reading Room, parading through St. Patrick's Cathedral reverently paying respect at the Nativity display, engaging in animated conversation with dozens of Italians (from Italy on a holiday) in Italian - sharing impressions of the season and the city with them, and feeling the spirit in a perfect Sacrament Meeting at the Chapel at Lincoln Center.

I was supposed to take in a show on Broadway, having tickets in my possession of the hottest show in town, but confused the night of the performance, and ended up missing it all together - and I even didn't get upset. Now what's up with that?

I learned that you never stand on 42nd Street waiting for a bus or taxi when the Canadian north winds blow through the city - the wider cross street with tall buildings each side create a canyon magnification of that wind so that you freeze your butt off within 30 seconds! Thank goodness for glove and scarf street vendors!

I know I'm sounding like the country bumpkin / Utah hick that I am... but that's okay.

You know - I'm okay with that. I'm also okay with the fact that I saw many amazing-looking guys and I was able to handle it - such as: "look over there, Beck, at that young stud with gorgeous hair pulled back loosely into a perfect ponytail - you know, that guy staring at the Picasso painting"... and I would respond to myself "yeah, he's a beauty all right!" and not get all stressed and discombobulated inside.

You know... with NYC being kinder and gentler, even softer around the edges, and with Beck becoming okay with himself and with the gayness inside, handling feelings in stride - even with a sense of calm...

I have to ask:

What is this world coming to?

Monday, December 04, 2006

A new week...

It's funny how just a week goes by and everything changes... What I thought was a sound family life with happy kids, a shaky and questionable upcoming work opportunity situation that gave me tons of anxiety over the future, and unfavorable spiritual feelings of "not belonging" and isolation from the Holy Ghost - has changed to an unstable family situation with two children really suffering with emotional and other traumas, a new job opportunity for 2007 that can be huge and challenging (an opportunity that just landed in my lap like it fell right out of the sky), and a spiritual miracle with my calling and feeling the spirit again in my life.

Life is interesting that way. It can turn on a dime. It never is completely in place with all aspects perfectly arranged.

I don't know if I will ever feel completely at peace with my gay issues... that seems to always be slightly out of place. A look here, an attraction there, a fantasy inside. Yeah, that doesn't seem to change. More on that later...

It's a new week...