Alright, bear wiff a strippa fo’ jess a moment… we gonna get deep ‘n shit… but only for a moment (don’t worry).
Often we think of space and time as two separate concepts; however, research in physics shows us that they are not. There is space-time, the joining of the two into a whole that is inseparable throughout existence.
I went to dinner tonight with a friend of mine named Chuck. He is very kind. I admire him very much as a human being. He invited me to go along to dinner, specifically because he knows I’ve been feeling a bit down lately, and he wanted to introduce me to some of his favorite people. That gesture in and of itself is beautiful, because it proves what I’ve sensed about him: He cares about people, and he wants them to feel appreciated. Sadly, that is not always the default setting amongst gay men in general, but his kindness gives me hope that I can not allow past hurts to define my present and future disappointments before they even happen.
At dinner I asked him, “Do you know what the fourth dimension is?”
“No,” he replied with a puzzled look.
“Yes, you do. It’s so obvious that you’re overlooking it. If we need to meet somewhere, we need to know the x-, y-, and z-axis. If I want to meet you at Fifth Avenue and Third Street on the 10th floor, what else do I need to know before I can meet you there?”
“Hmmmm… I don’t know.”
“Time. I need to meet you at Fifth and Third on the 10th floor at noon.”
“Oh! Yes. Of course.”
“Flattery is one-, maybe two-dimensional. But compliments – those have shape, because they have depth. Those are three-dimensional; however, I want to give you what I have decided in this moment to call a four-dimensional compliment. That means that although I am telling you this here in this place, I want you to take it forward with you wherever you go in time.”
“Alright… I think I can handle that.”
“You make me want to truly embrace gay men again.”
It can be very easy for me to go into cruise control and simply smile and nod. To not connect with people in my community out of a sense of self-preservation. To be able to cut men off unceremoniously, whether they actually deserve it or not. My experiences have taught me that most gay men are simply not able to accept, let alone give, true kindness to other gay men. But Chuck is a gay man who defies my experience. I have to allow his friendship to teach me a new lesson.
You see, it’s okay that we hurt sometimes. It’s okay that growth is uncomfortable. But at some point it becomes just as important to go on living, right? What’s the point of hurt without healing? God, remembering balance can be so difficult! Anyway, negativity really isn’t (or at least it doesn’t have to be) permanent. Also, negativity isn’t necessarily bad. It’s simply the balance to positivity.
If you agree that the universe is expanding because of the Big Bang, then there is something else underlying that concept that you will almost have to agree with as well: Whatever pain (and I’m not speaking exclusively to gay men here) you have experienced is no longer here with you now.
If the world is rotating at something like 1,000 miles per hour, and if Earth is revolving around the sun at 10,000 miles per hour, and if the sun is revolving around the center of the Milky Way at 100,000 miles per hour, and if the Milky Way is racing away towards the ever-expanding edge of the universe at the speed of light… Well… Then by the time you can register or recognize that you are uncomfortable or unhappy… your stressor is already a million miles away, and in the past too.
I’m not saying this to trivialize that which causes us duress. Nor am I trying to be escapist. I’m simply trying to help myself (and anyone who cares to join me) realize that once you decide to let go of them, the experiences that bring you unhappiness can be left behind in less than an instant. This doesn’t mean our memories should be forgotten or disrespected: Those challenges define who we are, because they reveal us to ourselves as we meet and exceed them. But what it does mean is that, when we’re ready, we can choose to let Creation remove our pain as we travel along.
Acknowledging that I can carry four-dimensional compliments with me along with four-dimensional injuries helps me feel some equilibrium. It’s also encouraging to think that when I’m finally ready to hand a weight off to the universe, that it will be whisked away from me faster than I can think to miss it. I can have distance whenever I want it. Now… if I could just bring myself to unclench my fingers… Ha!