For about a week or so now, I have been wondering about things we do for the dead. I found myself wondering if these things matter to them, or if we are just doing it for ourselves. What sparked these thoughts is that there is a movie coming out soon, and I know one of my friends, who died several years ago, would have wanted to see it. Upon learning when the movie would be released, I told myself I would go. I would go see it for him. I would likely see it at some point anyway, but I wouldn’t have been so adamant about it if not for the association with it and my friend.
But I began wondering if this was really for him,(did he get anything out of it?), or was it just for me.
Then the shooting in Florida happened. And I couldn’t help but to think of those that have died. Amongst the tears and pondering, I was reminded of an experience I had several years ago. I have previously only shared this with my spiritual brothers, as it was a spiritual experience. I realize that those not of like spirituality may not fully understand, or know what to make of it. But I feel the desire to share that experience here. Why here? Maybe because I feel this isn’t just a (gay) lesson to be learned, or, in my case, reminded of. And maybe because I feel it’s past time for these experiences to be shared with everyone, not just the inner circle that is the LGBT community.
A message to my spiritual brothers. August, 2012.
“Greetings, brothers. I have an experience I’m wishing to share with you all.
Sunday night I went out rollerskating. It wasn’t very crowded at all. Maybe 10 people at most were there. Note; this isn’t an actual roller rink, but rather a community building that serves as one. It was rather warm in the building so the front doors and the side door were open. I was skating about just fine. My main focus was on remaining upright. I’m not a terrible skater, but I’m by no means an expert either.
About an hour or so into the evening of skating something interesting happened. The lights were mostly off. Only the multicolor lights that spin patterns on the floor were on, plus the light from the open doors, which wasn’t too substantial. A song started playing. At first I didn’t recognize it, as it is a remix of a song from 1980. I had been standing off of the skate floor, taking a break, but I had an urge to return to skating as this song began, and I did so. Something about the combination of the song playing and the lights flashing triggered that tingly feeling that I get whenever someone from the spirit world is trying to get my attention. I let myself zone out and tune in as much as I safely could while skating. I realized it was the MWLM, [Men Who Love Men], ancestors who were trying to communicate with me.
At this point, the song had progressed enough that I recognized it as a dance remix of Christopher Cross’ “Ride Like the Wind.” I had certainly heard the original version of this song before, but I had no particular connection to it. I like it ok, but had no special affinity for it. I opened up and just tried to listen to the ancestors. As I did so, I suddenly felt like I was in another time and place. I felt like I was in the late 70s or early 80s. I was in some other skating rink in some other part of the country,… but more than that, I was in many different skating rinks in many parts of the country.
In this vision that filled my mind, (and I call it a vision even though it was more than just images. It was emotional feelings and other sensations as well.) The skate floor was filled with people. I realized that they were mostly MWLM Ancestors who once skated like this. They did so for recreation, but also for the feeling of freedom, the exhilaration, for the connections with each other that they shared in these places, and for the escape.
I could sense that the men I saw skating around me had passed on at least 10 or 20 years ago. Some from natural causes. But then I had something else revealed to me. Many of these men had been the victims of the HIV/AIDS outbreak that occurred in the 80s.
This vision, this experience around me, was these men experiencing fun, and laughter, and exhilaration, and love, and connection with each other, … and also escape. It was made known to me that, for many of these men, these joyful memories were some of the last connections with joy these guys had. These were also the memories they clung to when their lives became more and more challenging due to either their own sickness, or the loss of one of their friends/lovers/brothers to the sickness.
My heart nearly broke as I realized this. Partly for the premature loss of so many beautiful, amazing men, and partly because they chose to share this with me. I wasn’t exactly sure why they had chose to share this with me. Maybe it is in part because I used to go skating when I was a kid, and I can relate to having fond memories of it. Or maybe because they just knew I would listen. Whatever the reason(s), I was overwhelmingly humbled to be sharing these experiences.
I wanted to do something for them. The only thing I could think to do was to offer them a chance to feel that joy again through me as much as I could. Much like when I have offered the ancestors to join me in a dance. I called out to them and asked them to join me; to feel through me.
As I continued skating I could feel many presences around me. I focused on all the sensations I was feeling. The lights, the music, the feel of the breeze on my face, everything… and offered all these sensations up freely to these ancestors to share in so that they may, through me, live their fond memories once more.
As the song faded, so too did my perception of the ancestors around me. Throughout the entire experience, there were no words spoken, except at the end as the sensations were drifting away. I heard in a voice that was quiet, yet strong. So strong that it could only have been multiple voices speaking the same words at the same time. The message to me was, ‘Storyteller, share our experience. Let the joy that was in our hearts be told to all so that they may see the beauty we held and carry it with them as they proceed on their path.’
Let their story be told, let their beauty shine and guide us just as our stories and experiences shall one day guide the next generation.”