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Blessed, by Ashley Coombs

I remember sitting in class at church at age fourteen and listening to a leader tell a story.

When she was in college, she took a psychology class.

I was interested in psychology. My ears perked up.

In this class, they were learning about the gay and lesbian experience, and in an extremely misguided way to foster empathy, the professor had his students sit in a circle and “come out” as gay to the rest of the class regardless their actual sexuality. 

This exercise bothered me for several reasons, and it also bothered her, but in radically different ways.

“I felt sick to my stomach,” she said.


“I couldn’t participate in something that was so against my morals.”

So when it came to her turn, she got up and left.

Her professor yelled at her. He told her she would fail the assignment. She told him she didn’t care. She could not compromise her morals. She promised to stand as a witness of God in all times and in all things and in all places. She knew this was wrong.

I knew she was wrong. 

At least, half of me knew. The other half ached. There I sat, just a child, listening to this woman who I looked up to - who guided me throughout my adolescence - tell me that who I was, was against her morals.

My very existence made her sick to her stomach.

She couldn’t so much as muster the tiniest bit of empathy to participate in her class.

She was so disgusted that she couldn’t even say the word “gay.”

And she sat in front me, weeping, telling me that she felt the Spirit. Telling me she was blessed for her indifference. Blessed for her antipathy. Blessed for what her words did to me that day. 

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