There’s a song that’s popular on Christian radio called “Symphony.” A friend and I recently argued about the song being overplayed, and our banter caused me to pause and listen deeply to the words. A more intentional listen to the song prompted memories of the 7 years of piano lessons I took as a kid. There is a profound beauty that comes from the hours of trial and error necessary to master the piano part of a symphonic movement. I never fully appreciated that beauty until now as I reflect on the complexity and meaning of symphony.
A similar complexity exists in my life as a same-sex attracted (SSA) woman and probably for others who wrestle with their sexuality as well. I was recently given an opportunity to share honestly about same-sex attraction through my writing. As I wrestled with that possibility, I realized there were so many other aspects involved in opening up about that part of my life. Owning my story impacts past relationships, current friendships, connections with family, my job, and my view of God. Through all of this processing, a repetitive Christian song and foggy memories of piano lessons have pushed me to see a bigger narrative taking place.
Owning my story of same-sex attraction means revealing a primary motivator for many of my feelings and behaviors towards others. For me, sexuality is like the piano in an orchestra that fills a piece of music with dramatic flourishes and remains a prominent sound even in the presence of other instruments. However, it is not the only instrument in the orchestra; I’ve definitely made the mistake of claiming my sexuality to be the most important aspect of my life even as I attempt to hide it. For the symphony to be its fullest, other aspects in my story besides sexuality need to play their part.
The strings in a symphony are comparable to the various relationships in my life. Relationships, especially with friends, can come and go like the staccato plucking of violin strings. They also can cause tumult and drama as intense as the full string section’s fast tempo conclusion to a piece. At other times, like with my family relationships, they are smooth and constant, sometimes becoming louder or higher pitched with the ebbs and flows of the music. As I contemplate being honest about my attraction to other women, I can’t ignore the impact that honesty will have on my relationships. Conversely, I also must consider the impact my relationships have in my story. When people hear about my experience as a same-sex attracted person, some challenge me directly on my views of sexuality while others demonstrate empathy for the tensions I constantly navigate in female friendships. The strings are vital to a symphony and other people, whether they know about my struggle with SSA or not, are vital to my story.
My job, like the brass section, is certainly the loudest noise in my mind as I debate whether or not to own my story. My current job placement is contracted to end soon, but how do I explain the SSA part of my life with the people I work with now? Would the conservative organizations I work for fire me if they find out I am attracted to other women? Would I lose the incredible opportunity to influence and be influenced by the young people whom I oversee? Even as I share this blog post, many of those questions remain unanswered, but pondering these dilemmas has given me an opportunity to mentally put the brass section in its place, as a small part of a bigger picture.
The woodwinds, perhaps the most tender part of the orchestra, are a metaphor for my relationship with God. When I first considered sharing what I have inwardly struggled with for so long, a frightening question surfaced in my prayer time: “God, will you continue to love me if I admit that I’m attracted to other girls?” In that moment of fear, God, like a gentle conductor showing me his part in the music, reminded me of all the times he has been faithful in the past even when I didn’t realize it and gave me confidence that he would continue to be present in my life.
“Through all of this chaos, You are writing a symphony”
One of my favorite lines of the Christian pop song “Symphony” is when the musician states, “I wanna truly know, if you compose beautiful music from all my unruly notes”. I feel like SSA plays so many unruly notes in my life story! But perhaps what I perceive to be an unruly note on the piano is the note God uses to create a sweet harmony with the strings section. Maybe those unruly notes are what’s needed to add a new element in the specific symphonic movement of my story. Ultimately, I must trust that all the musical notes in my life are orchestrated by God, the Great Conductor, who is both composing and directing a great work in my life. So, I’ll own up to my story, struggles and all, and give him the praise for the beautiful music he creates out of the broken areas of my life.
Symphony – by the Switch feat. Dillon Chase
Sarah began attending WGA in the Spring of 2018 and continues to benefit from weekly support groups and the kindness of the WGA staff. She has a bachelor’s degree in Biblical Studies from Moody Bible Institute and will receive a Master of Arts degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Colorado Christian University in December 2019. Sarah views life as a continual journey of psychological and spiritual growth; this perspective deeply impacts her own life as well as her counseling theory and practice. Her current clinical work focuses on socioemotional development and well-being for children in a school-based setting.
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