I was in the library at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary when I got the call. Though I had known he was sick, death was in his voice and he needed me. Time after time, my Southern Baptist mentor called and chatted with me about all sorts of subjects. I had heard the call before, but never like this. The doctors treated my grandmother’s cancer a few years ago and she made it out fine. Why couldn’t my mentor just get well? The hour was late, but I knew that this couldn’t wait and ran to my car. I hit the accelerator to the floor and screeched out of the parking lot. Passing exit after exit, I couldn’t stop…I had got the call.
Pulling into his driveway, I rushed inside. My mentor was asleep and his wife let me rest on the couch until he woke up. Sleep? Who in their right mind sleeps when they have heard the call? In those hours of darkness, I prayed and waited to fulfill the call. When I heard the birds chirp, a jolt of nervous energy sent me into motion. I got up as quickly as I could. I had heard the call.
There was a gigantic hospital bed in the room. “Pull up a chair,” my mentor whispered and motioned next to the bed. When I grabbed his hand, I was startled by the cold sweat. To say that I was frightened is an understatement. Regardless of feeling like my stomach was a basket of knots, I received the call and there was no turning back. Pulling me closer and closer, my Southern Baptist mentor offered words that would forever change my life and solidify the call, “I’m gay and I always have been.” I have never felt the presence of God so strong. Before I could reply, my mentor added, “Go back to seminary and never stop fighting for those who have no voice.” Though I followed the call of God many times, I think this is the call that saved me. I have never stopped following the call.