--Acts 22: 27-28
Well, it's working. I think.
For six months now I have spent every moment of every day as the person I was meant to be.
It's called "the real life test." Once a person comes to terms with her (or his) transsexualism and decides to take action, the difficulties have just begun. With a "big price" we obtain our citizenship in our true gender.
Those who compile statistics say that 90 per cent of persons who begin this journey never see it through to completion, if completion is defined as sex reassignment surgery. Some are content with making a full change except for surgery. Others find they can resolve their conflicts in another manner, and return to their birth gender. For some, the sacrifice is simply too great.
Let me tell you some things I've learned about sacrifice.
I began by giving up a professional position which, if I had kept it, would have guaranteed me financial security and a comfortable early retirement. I gave it up voluntarily. I was under no legal obligation to do so, but certain of my colleagues were extremely uncomfortable with my changes. To stay at my position would have placed us all in a constant conflict. So I left, to allow them the normalcy they sought and to lessen my own stress.
At this writing, after six months, I still do not have a job.
I gave up home. For nearly all my life I lived in the same small Southern state. I went to college and professional school there. I know persons in every large town and most of the small ones. But I thought I would have a better chance for a new life if I started over in a new city, a new state. Now I have become accustomed to hearing the news of my adopted home; but I miss knowing the news of my old home.
I gave up friends. Before I left home, I tried every way I could to make them understand. But hardly anyone can understand, and they only see my change through the way it affects them.
I try to tell them, "I'm still the same person. We can still have a friendship as before." Perhaps when more time has passed it will be possible. But not now; now they speak of me as if I had died. They can only dwell on the past and their memories of perceived good times.
Those good times in the past were uncomfortable times for me, just as these times are uncomfortable for them. I must give them time now to arrive at their own level of understanding.
I have lost family. Perhaps not forever, but certainly for now. I will not discuss these losses, but they are the most painful.
The losses accumulate. Sometimes they are very discouraging. Where are you, Lord? Do you hear me? Do you understand?
Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus; who, being in the form of God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.
And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death - even death on a cross.
Yes, my child. I do hear you. And I really do understand.
Jesus endured great loss to gain the victory for me. I should keep my thoughts on His example and remember my gains rather than my losses.
I have gained new friends. One of the joys of my new life is the laughter and love around this apartment. I have found several other persons in circumstances similar to mine, and we spend a great deal of time together. We are all fortunate to blend in well in our neighborhood and have made friends among the neighbors.
A wide range of ages exists in our little group, but I am the oldest, and the one with the most time at home. So I find myself doing much of the cooking and carpooling. They help with the housecleaning (I cook, they clean - an excellent arrangement).
Naturally, they have nicknamed me "Mom". In return I have given them the names of the "Brady Bunch" girls. Together, we keep the loneliness away and strengthen each other.
I have gained great confidence. In job interviews, in my night classes, in church, everywhere I am more relaxed and confident than ever before. The blessing of finally being myself has given another depth of meaning to Jesus's words in John 8:32, "the truth shall make you free." How free I do feel.
I have gained patience. At first I thought I would have a job again in just a couple of months. Being unemployed for such a long time gives me empathy for the many people I know who are in the same circumstance. I have learned to keep busy, but leave the outcome to the Lord.
I have gained a great blessing from helping others with no thought of return. Recently our church held a "field day" for disabled persons, similar to the Special Olympics. I volunteered to spend time with these wonderful people and help encourage them to give their best efforts. The expressions of joy on their faces as they completed the obstacle course or the relay races blessed us all. Surely this is something Jesus would have done also.
My gains are helping to offset my losses. I know God will sustain me through this difficult time. In His timetable I will find my work, my home, even the final completion of my change.
He gives strength to the weary
and increases the power of the weak..
Those who hope in the Lord
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not faint.