I was conducting a training last week on working with LGBTQ youths in the child welfare system, and part of the training was a panel discussion. A local support group for LGBTQ teens had some of their group members who were willing to come speak to us about life, coming out, and self knowledge from their own perspective. One of the young men shared a story with the group about attending a PFLAG (Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays) meeting. This young man was at the meeting, and a man came to the meeting who is in his 70’s. That older man, for the first time in his whole adult life, came out as a gay man at that PFLAG meeting. The older man stated in that declaration: “I don’t want to die with the music still inside of me.”
You could have knocked me over with a feather when I heard that statement. Not just in the power that it held for that man, in that moment and all of the moments that led up to that decision making time. Sure, the power of that was unmistakable. However, the other powerful element of that story speaks to those that live in silence about who they really are, afraid to be open, afraid to share or reach out truthfully, and the circumstances under which many LGBTQ youths live. It speaks clearly to the fears about coming out and having supports available to them.
We all have such music inside of ourselves, symphonies that we have created by the lives that we live. Colors of talent and gifts and strengths, love and faithfulness and hope and joy. We have soulful melodies filled with angst and heartbreak and misunderstanding and deep sadness. The variety that resides there within us is endless, and it is essential that we recognize our creation of these symphonies.
However, just like when we enjoy a piece of music, or a good movie or book, we like sharing it with others. It speaks to what we like, what strikes a chord with us, and how those things connect us with others around us. That music that we carry around and are constantly revising and creating deserves to be unleashed on the world. For in being who we are truly meant to be, and in showing that beautiful self to others, that is what it is to truly live.
Don’t keep that light under a bushel. Set the symphony inside yourself free for the world to hear.