Sunday, November 04, 2012

Jonah Meets The Weed

I wrote last year about what a great experience I had at the Circling the Wagons Conference.  Sadly, I was unable to go this year because of my show, even though I very much wanted to.  I've also written about Jonah's strange obsession with Josh Weed.  Jonah has often said that he would meet and talk with Josh Weed one day.  I've learned that when Jonah says something will happen, it will.  He's got some sort of psychic connection to the universe based on very great faith, and if Jonah wants something or believes something will happen, the universe seems very happy to oblige.

So when I saw that Josh Weed would be speaking at this year's conference, and knowing that by coincidence (and I don't believe in coincidences, and I don't think Jonah does, either) the conference was to be held the same weekend Jonah happened to be in town and that Josh Weed was speaking the same day I had two performances (neither of which Jonah would be seeing since his ticket was for Friday's show), I let Jonah know (half-jokingly) that his dream of meeting and talking to Josh Weed could come true.

And sure enough, Jonah got his chance to meet and speak with Josh Weed.  This is his account of the conference in his own words dictated to me:

I went to the conference and I was very nervous because I know the sensitive nature of the conference and its controversy over its speakers and who would be speaking.  Because I am very aware of people’s emotions, I was worried that it would be too overwhelming for me.  As I got out of the car and walked towards the church, I saw Josh Weed sitting in a car rehearsing his speech while a cameraman was taking pictures.  I could hear in his voice he was a bit nervous.   I could tell he was nervous because he was walking into the lion’s den.

The first speech was Joseph Broom.  His speech was very moving and touching, but also sad that he missed out on years of truly being who he was.  He spoke about a spiritual experience he had on his mission where God appeared to him to let him know everything would be okay, but instead of taking that as a message that he would be okay as a gay man, he decided to continue his path as a struggling gay man that would eventually get married to a woman.  During his speech, you could feel his pain, but also you could feel the true love and happiness that God has finally given him now that he has come out of the closet and has accepted his homosexuality.

The next speaker would be Josh Weed, the young gay man that is known for being happily married to a woman and that his post became viral overnight.  I made sure to sit down in a place where I would be able to see his face and where he would be able to see mine.  I must tell you that I had a conversation with him via email before going to this conference a few months before.  One night before going to bed, my partner made me aware of a blog posting of a young man that was thinking of suicide.  That post affected me greatly that night.  I was torn and didn’t know what to do.  I began to pray and ask God for guidance to find the answer to what I was supposed to do next.  In that moment it came to me that I should write Josh Weed who is now in the public eye to see if he would be able to help.  Though my postings on his blog months before were in disagreement with him, I felt that God was leading me to do this.  So I sat there and wrote him a short note and sent him the link.  To make a long story short, he posted it on his Facebook page and his blog, and many concerned people stepped in to post their love and support for this young man who was a stranger to all of us.

Though Josh Weed’s platform is not what I agree with, it was God’s will for me to contact him to find the support that I knew would and could possibly help this young man.  Josh Weed eventually wrote a post on how this one posting was haunting him because of the not knowing of the safety of this young man.

As Josh Weed began his talk, I could feel and see his nervous energy, but with grace and humility, Josh Weed spoke these words, “Today I would like to say I am sorry and would like to apologize to any of you that have been negatively affected by my story.”  At that moment I could feel such honesty and transparency in his words.  Those words I believe are going to be the healing of many that have and will be affected by his words that were intended only for his closest friends but became viral overnight.  The majority of Josh Weed’s speech was about love and acceptance no matter what path we are taking.  The room was silent during his whole speech. 

Before all of this, I knew I would meet him.  It was like a movie that played in my mind, and I could see myself going up to him and letting him know how I felt, but also crying because of the deep pain, not that I have felt, but that many have felt across this country because of his posting.  But I guess during his speech, I was one who also needed healing by hearing him apologize for his words.

After Josh Weed did his apology, he was talking about how he read a post from parents to a son saying that as soon as the son used his free agency to do what Josh Weed did, they would speak to him again.  There was a gasp from the audience, and Josh Weed said, “If any of you have been affected by my post or it has been used against you, you have the right to tell them that you heard it from my mouth, ‘Josh Weed says to back off!’”

At the end of his speech, I stood up and decided it was time for me to walk to the altar where Josh was standing.  I was one of the first ones to get to him.  I stood there and I said, “Hello, Josh.  My name is [Jonah],” and he then said, “Oh. [Jonah].”  I told him he didn’t know me in person, but that we knew each other through emails.  I could tell he recognized me right away even before I said anything.  One of the main things I wanted to say and that I felt I was guided to say to him was, “Josh Weed, I’m here to tell you in person that I love you for who you are, and I want you to know that.”  I then spoke a little about our emails about that young man and his suicide post.  I told him that even though there were many people that didn’t believe that that posting was real, I hope that after that finding out that it was real, that the walls that they had built up were finally being taken down to see that the subject of suicide in any form is a serious subject and we must take any talk of it seriously.

I noticed that when I was talking to him that he didn’t look at me in the face as we spoke.  I think he might have been afraid I was going to attack him with my words.

I also repeated myself a couple of times.  I said, “Josh, I know though we take different paths that when God calls us to do something, we do it.’  “Josh, there are so many things I would like to say,” and he told me, “I know, [Jonah],” and the truth is that there were many things I wanted to say, but I felt it was not the right time and place, but God was telling me that I would have another opportunity to do so.  Josh told me, “[Jonah], I want you to know that I feel the same way about you.  Please know that from my heart.”  I then told him, “Josh, I would like to give you a hug,” and then told him, “Well, I’ve got to go, Josh.  But I’m sure we will talk again soon.  I will email you, “ and he told me, “[Jonah], please keep in touch.”

In closing, my feelings about Josh Weed are that he spoke with much grace and that God is taking him on a journey that is not easy for him or his family, but with every hardship he encounters I know that he should not fear because God is guiding him just as much as he is guiding me and anybody else that is created by the same creator.  One thing I said, “We may walk different paths, but the great thing is we are created by the same creator.”  I don’t feel that this is the last time I will see Josh Weed.  I hope that my words have opened a line of communication and that one day we may be able to sit down at the dinner table in our home and have a great conversation about love, acceptance, and God’s great plan for each of our families.

The next speaker was Allen.  All I can say about Allen’s speech is that it was very moving and I felt like I was listening to a minister giving a great sermon on love and acceptance.  He told about how he got on a bus and talked with three kids and found out they were homeless because their parents did not agree with their homosexuality.  Not only were they lost from God, but from their parents and from love.

By this time, I was really filled with so much emotion that a lot of it was overwhelming to me, and I knew that I could not stay for a second session of the conference.  I know this may sound strange, but I felt I could feel the pain of many people in that room that had so many open wounds that were there to find some kind of hope and some kind of closure to all the heartache they have felt over their lifetime.  The truth is, I’m a fix-it person, and there was no way I was going to be able to fix anyone there, so I chose to leave with an overflowing heart, but knowing that God led me to the right place at the right time to hear these three great people, and I must say that Josh Weed’s speech was great, too, even though we walk different paths.

Most of this is what I am trying to remember.  It is not word for word, just my impressions, and if there are any errors according to my memory, please forgive me. 

Anyway, those are Jonah's impressions.  I wish I could have gone.  I'm glad Jonah and Josh got to meet each other and that Jonah felt some peace in this matter.  I fully expect Josh will be at our dinner table someday.  Jonah senses it will somehow, and I tend to believe it.  I'd actually like to meet and talk with Josh (and Lolly).  Even though his choices are different than Jonah's and mine, and even though his story has been misused on those who might make different choices than Josh, I respect him and even like him.

Postscript: Jonah and I are going back home tomorrow.  After four years of being Mom's primary caregiver, I'm leaving her for an indeterminate amount of time with the intention of staying home for a while.  Needless to say, I am a big ball of mixed emotions.  I need to go home.  I need to be with Jonah.  I, frankly, need a break from caring for Mom.  My family understands and supports me in this decision.  But it's hard.  But I'm also looking forward to some quality time with my husband.


LCannon said...

I wish I could have gone to Circling the Wagons also. Busy day. I'm happy to hear that Jonah was able to go. I wish I could have gone with him. I'll miss you guys.

Trev said...

Wow, very moving comments. What a neat experience. You've obviously got a real gem there in [Jonah]. :)

Dean Scott said...

Thanks to you and Jonah for sharing his thoughts. Best wishes to both of you for a safe trip home. I am glad you will be together.

Gay LDS Actor said...

I wish you could have gone, too, LCannon. We'll miss you, too.

Thanks, Trev. Jonah is, indeed, a gem.

Thanks, Dean. Me, too.