Once when I was in high school, my class was assigned a project wherein we had to plan our own funerals. We needed to decide what we would be remembered for, how our eulogy would be delivered, and what song would be played in the background (presumably over a slideshow of us brimming with potential life). I don’t remember what class this was for, or why it was assigned, but I got really into it. Especially in regards to my song choice, which was “Awaiting You” from the song cycle* Myths and Hymns by Adam Guettel (performed immaculately by Billy Porter). It is a heart wrenching plea for God to make himself known, for Him to return to man and care for him. However, God does not come, and the actor is left assuring God that he will “still be standing here awaiting you”.
Paired with this selection, I had a whole sermon written talking about Habakkuk, the minor prophet (whose book is a scant three chapters long). This book, at least in some regard, is about waiting as well. The waiting that we feel as mortals whose lives are short, though our suffering may be long. Habakkuk is unique in the way he openly questions the workings of God upon the world. Young me, still very closeted, was struck by these passages. Even though the doubt expressed is eventually replaced by fervent faith, this book leaves room for those who question the Lord in his kingdom.
I believe that the Christian God is one that actually likes it when we mess with what’s perceived as the world’s order, or at the very least challenge it. In the context of a funeral, I was trying to find a way in which my own doubting self could be redeemed. In truth, however, it is by doubt and rebellion that the greatest stories of faith are told. Is the prodigal son loved in spite of his defiance or because of it? We as queer people are told that we are “unnatural” (despite scientific evidence proving otherwise). Still, even if that were true, I believe that the building of a trans identity can be innately spiritual work. The importance of Habakkuk, of “Awaiting You”, is not the waiting itself. It is in the questioning we are realized, as our being then becomes a collaboration with the divine.
Oh Lord, how long shall I cry and You will not hear?
– Habakkuk 1:2 (NKJV)
NOTE: Thank you all for your responses to this project! Though I am still deciding on how I want this work to evolve, I thought I’d start with a subject that was already near and dear to my heart. I would love to hear your thoughts and criticism. Much love to you and your community, wherever it may be.
*A song cycle is, in musical theater, your standard musical performance without the burden of “plot” or “character development”.