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An epiphany

While my epiphany experience was not instantaneous, it has unfolded in such a most magnificent way. Many dark nights and shadows walked along the same path with the epiphany. Forever and always I was trying to empty myself of the dark nights and the shadows. How could I ever know "God" or have him approve of me if I still carried the shadows? This inner ongoing conflict resulted in many attempts to eliminate myself. I cannot say I was always suicidal, although I did make several weak attempts at such. What I wanted more than anything was just to have never existed in the first place. Then, no one, especially God would have ever known I had ever been there in the first place. My roots had been in fundamentalist Christianity. You see, the problem was that I was a gay man in hiding. I knew this from the age of single digits, but I also knew this made me wrong, evil, a sinner, hell-bound.

My daily existence was carved, hour by hour, to never let anyone know of this "hideousness." I married at 18 and had two sons, all to cover this shadow. I mistakenly thought this would remove the "evil me." For three decades I existed as this shell of a being, like a burglar running and hiding, covering tracks, leaving no trace but knowing I could not hide my tracks from God.

What a toll this took on me physically, mentally and most of all spiritually. In my 40s, the toll was too much — heart attacks, strokes, surgeries and on it went. Then little by little others began appearing in my life, authors and teachers and even a welcoming affirming church in Raleigh, N.C., of all places. I started hearing pointers from many directions that kept carrying one theme.

The theme was "question everything." Question what you have been told, and what you believe. I developed a passion to read but I would no longer listen to anyone, any church, any politician any family member who said anything that brought me discomfort. If it felt queasy in my stomach then I began to know that it was not of God. My body actually started telling me if this was God or if this was someone else's "stuff" about God. Then the turning point that cemented it all: I read a quote by Albert Einstein where he said, "I am no longer interested in knowing ABOUT God, I am only interested in knowing the mind of God." It was an epiphany moment. When I pondered this quote over and over, I began to see that "church" only talked "about" God — his rules, laws, heaven and hell. Rarely, if ever, did I hear someone talk of "joining in the mind of God."

I dropped all connection to organized religion. I further explored the possibility of joining with the mind of God and my life began unfolding. I slowly realized my relationship with God, with Source, had, up until then, been someone else's relationship, and was certainly not my own. Now in my 50s, many young gay men appeared in my life. They were in terror, some of them were killing themselves, and none of them were "alive." They were marrying into marriages of lies, having children and ultimately, in many cases, they were abusing their spouses and children in their shame. I knew I could help these young people.

To end my story, I will tell you I am now an Interfaith Peace Minister and founder of "New Wings, Healing the Gay Pain body." We are a nonprofit foundation aimed at healing and revealing the ONE-ness with our Creator and our Source. In closing I choose the words of Rumi: "Beyond ALL ideas of right and wrong, there is a field, I will meet you there." It is here we are truly ONE with the mind of God. Blessings and Peace to All.

Richard (Nick) Fyffe was ordained as a Peace Minister by James Twyman's Beloved Community in Talent

Rogue Valley residents may submit 600- to 700-word articles on aspects of inner peace. Send to innerpeace@q.com