It’s rare for me to spend more than a few hours on a blog post, but I have been working on and off on this one since Thursday. Up until, just now, I didn’t feel that I was saying what I wanted to say, in the way I wanted to say it.
On Thursday, by chance, I saw that one of the kids that had been in my youth group when I was a youth minister many years ago had unfriended me on Facebook. She popped into my head and I thought, hmmm, I wonder what Daisy is up to? When I got to her FB page, I saw the little +1 Add Friend rectangle on her profile. I was a little shocked. Not surprisingly, it is not my first FB unfriending, but it’s the one that stung the most.
Thursday, not long after discovering the information, I started working on a blog, also entitled, Dear Daisy. That blog was an actual letter to her which sortof snarkily started off, “I guess you will probably never read this because most people who find my blog, find it through Facebook and ever since you unfriended me, I don’t now how you would even know to look for it.” Like I said, I’ve revisited that original blog every day, tweaking it, but ultimately, it never felt right enough to publish.
I will tell you a little about Daisy. She is a singer. I remember not long after I was hired to be the youth minister at her church, one of the elderly ladies was telling me bits of information about all of the congregation’s young people. I remember Velda Blagg saying, “And Daisy! Daisy has the voice of an angel.” And she did. When Daisy sang a special in church, usually an Amy Grant song, it was something the entire congregation looked forward to hearing. Most who have heard her sing would say that she has a God-given gift.
Another thing about Daisy that I think about fairly often is when her mother died suddenly while I was her youth minister. Her mother was a force: magnetic, beautiful, sharp-witted, opinionated. Also, she was a teacher. Her death was one of the first lessons in how fragile life is and how everything can change permanently in an instant. I marvelled at the poise with which Daisy handled her loss. She was just weeks from going away to her freshman year of college, yet the Daisy I remember continued to lend support to her father and three younger brothers. In college, she studied music, because she wanted to glorify God with her music.
We have not had a lot of contact since the time that I was her youth minister. Even before FB entered all of our lives, she did know that I was gay. I know that she is still very religious, but I’ve never known her to post anything anti-gay on FB. Our FB messages were usually about light things, like dreaming of meeting up in New York to go see Broadway musicals together.
At one point in the last few days, I thought I knew why she unfriended me. Since I’ve started this blog, I talk about a lot of different things. Granted, every word I write, it’s with the cognizance that my mother will probably read it, but I would give my blog a PG-13 rating. And I talk a lot, A LOT, about being gay. I wonder if it might be painful for Daisy to see how different I am from the man who was her minister, her pastor, at a very formative time in her life. If I was a man who once made her love Jesus more, what am I now?
I thought about Daisy and the rest of the youth group quite a bit all weekend. Something about the action, unlocked some memories that I hadn’t thought about in 20 years, sweet memories. Yesterday, I posted a blog about a young voice teacher, roughly Daisy’s age, who got to sing on stage with Kristin Chenoweth at the Hollywood Bowl this weekend. I included a link to her account on BroadwayWorld.com where at the end, she talked about walking to her car after the concert with her dad and him reminding her that he prayed 11 years ago that she would be able to sing with Kristin Chenoweth. That touching moment made me think of the beaming pride that Daisy’s dad always had for her. He was a stoic guy, but whenever Daisy sang, whether it be at church or concerts or pageants, he always shed more than a few tears. He was and is the kind of guy who would pray for his daughter to sing with Kristin Chenoweth, or maybe Amy Grant.
Anyway, I am not angry that Daisy unfriended me. I do hope that if she did not hear about Sarah Horn from me, that she heard about Sarah Horn from someone. Those magical musical moments that I talked about yesterday, are something Daisy’s knows a lot about. So, Daisy, if you ever read this, and I hope that someday you will, know that, Facebook friend or not, I will always love you.
I love reading your blog, Ray! It is always enjoyable and thought-provoking.
Thank you, my fellow follower of spellingism!
Ray, reading what you have to say is always a bright spot in my day. . . . so thankful for you!! I hope you’ll give me an autographed copy of the first book you write. . . .because I think you will write one. . . .and I think it will be good!! 🙂
Thanks, Chrissy! I have to be honest, one has yet to write a really juicy romantic comedy about Bible college recruiters. Maybe we can write it together!
Just possibly, she was tidying out her facebook friends. I heard of an actor who used it as a tool, to find auditions and make contacts, and it could be something like that. I have “fbfnds” I can’t remember how I “friended”.
I would say that is a possibility. I’ll probably never know.
Ray…I enjoyed the link…but I’m responding because of this… one of my best friends…I mean best…and she is gay….asked me why had I unfriended her…I hadn’t knowingly except when I wanted to block some posts so that it would not go on her “wall”.. I must have..slong with two other close friends of mine.. I didn’t mean to unfriend them…but I didnt want their friends to see what I had to say for many reasons. So I’m just saying dont be hurt…ask her… my 3 friends asked me..I didn’t know that I had..I only meant to protect them.
I am not public yet on my reg fb page..I have 2 identities…one that I write under and am all me….jamiepeters48….and the one that the world has known me by..Tammy Ricks of Dublin, Ga.. 80% of TR’s friends are ministers…on fb JP and TR are friends..
no I am not schitzo…but JP posts to TRs timeline….to introduce topics thoughts..eventuallythe two shall become one..give me a month..or 2 its getting there.
Right now I am letting sacredtension, Rachel Held Evans, not just a dumb blonde, and Steve CHALKE speak for me…slowly..
its taken me 40 yrs to accept myself…I don’t
expect ministerial friends to change their point of view over night.
Also..I was very suicidal when I was trying to “hide the posts”.. that actually unfriended those three… I didnt want them to worry.. I just needed some encouragement.
All I can say is that all of Tammy’s friends would be more than lucky to know Jamie. 🙂
I am going to write another guest blog about how you unfriended me on facebook because we did not agree politically. Oh, it is going to be scathing! JK, that was a good blog. That you still think about them shows how much love you invested in them. You did a good job. Somewhere out there is a way way you go do that level of ministry and love. Maybe it is through this blog.
I love the honesty here as it’s something we can all relate to. Your initial reaction is probably how most of us would respond: snarky and bitter, which is really a defense mechanism to mask the pain and hurt of feeling rejected by someone you were once close to. If she is “unfriending” you because you are gay, that is hurtful (and stings in a way she probably doesn’t even understand). But what you’ve shown us all here is grace in the midst of pain. You ultimately rose above by writing a truly touching piece that I hope Daisy someday reads. And when she does, I bet you gain back a friend.
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