building wearing only a tight t-shirt stretched across his swollen belly and gaping boxer shortsand black dress socks. He was protesting our broken air-conditioner, arguing in a loud voice withthe elderly woman in a beehive hairdo who owned the building. We probably hadn't paid the rent. . . but
rights were being violated. I wish I could say that moment stands as the mostembarrassing moment of my life, but I have since superseded it with my own actions.I think, looking back, that it was not the world that was out to get my stepfather. Maybe it wasGod. I don't really know for sure, but Michael made it very clear that he had no need of God. Hehad his Black Crow whiskey, his poker friends, chocolate-covered cherries, cigarettes, TVdinners, Jackie Gleason and his typewriter repairman tools. He also had the ability to crycrocodile tears and fake fainting spells and gain the sympathy of others when his behaviorreached the reeking point. He was too busy with himself to ever sense the presence of a God whocould have forgiven all and given Michael a life of meaning.Michael is on my list of forgiven. Of course he had an impact on my life. He entered it when I wasonly a little boy. However, beyond standing as a lesson of where life leads when we reject God'sattempts to get our attention, his influence on me now is about as useful as his old typewritertools.I believe there are times when God does work in extreme ways to get our attention. He removesus from the routine of life; reminds us that everything we live for can fall away in an instant;that even the things we most love, in which we most invest, that we slowly built and admired,can fade and crumble into dust where lizards run.For some of us, God has to go to great extremes. Shortly after my secret struggle with unwantedsame-sex attraction went from shadow to spotlight, I would look in the mirror in the morning andinto my own eyes and remind myself that I was indeed still me. In a relatively short time I hadgone from a father surrounded by his five grown children and spouses and growing number of grandchildren, a very-involved church member, a well-established manager in a large companywith significant responsibility, a man with plenty of friends and acquaintances and businessassociates . . . and a secret that was bouncing around all those areas like a spike-covered ball,slowly poking holes in my comfortable existence. The secret then exploded like a landmine andtook everything away with it.