Day Three: Being Rescued Gives Me the Capacity to Rescue

Isaiah 1:17 (NIV)

Learn to do right; seek justice. Defend the oppressed. Take up the cause of the fatherless; plead the case of the widow.

It is who I am and who I will always be. It is by this scripture that I live. And by it, I will most certainly die.

Spring 1975

The Fall of Saigon was underway. I had been left at an orphanage sometime prior and was in the process of being airlifted out – rescued – by Betty Tisdale, the assistant to then-New York senator Jacob Javits for which the Javits Center is named. My parents were presumed dead. I was alone. And so I was assigned a number on the manifest (#23) and rescued from a fate of certain death.

Spring 2011

I had met a young girl who was parentless – an orphan. Her father died when she was 5, her mother when she was 16. I took her in to my home. No one else offered to take her in. From there I faced rejection from my church. It was seen as ‘against the rules’ for a single guy to take-in a teenage girl. I lost my church covering. I was told I could not be used at my church. One pastor believed I should have been investigated for human / child trafficking. I lost friends. I broke the rules.

Fall 2015

I legally adopted the young girl who came into my home 4 years prior. I thought doing this would make me normal – or be able to pass as normal. But it didn’t. It didn’t because I had already broken the rules by taking her in in the first place.

I should have never wanted to pass for normal. I thought from then on I could hide what I did and ultimately who I was– that somehow doing this would make it as if I had never broken the rules in the first place. I’d never have to stand up for what I did. I could simply pass as normal – as if I’d never broken the rules.

Maybe the rules I broke were broken to begin with, or maybe I exercised my judgement as any leader does when faced with a unique circumstance. Either way I will never hide what I did, what and who God made me or what he called me to be in any given moment. Initially I sought refuge in the church.

The church should be a place where you can be your authentic self. You shouldn’t have to hide. Just because you can hide doesn’t mean you should. I think that a lot of people find that when you finally are true to yourself you don’t want to hide any more.

The church likes to think of itself as a utopia but when you hold up a mirror to it and see where we aren’t quite there yet and we have to focus on the work we have to do.

In the church I had to hide who I was and what I did because it made others uncomfortable, it made others afraid. As I reprocess the last decade or so I really believe I should have stood up on my own and fought for what I was doing. 

I should have never kept that hidden and I should have never tried to be or pass for “normal” – I spent years doing just that. My biggest initial mistake was seeking refuge inside of a church instead of seeking refuge inside of God.

I spent years hiding who I am – who I truly am. Doing so may have also affected others – others with special callings who chose to remain hidden or deny who they really were for fear of persecution or rejection. I should have never tried to hide. I should have stood up. But I’m standing up now.

Summer 2023

“Being rescued gives me the capacity to rescue,”. I have been told that explains a lot about me. There are people out there with special callings. This single phrase seems to explain why I did what I did. But what about others with special callings?

There are people out there – people who show promise. There are plenty more out there – and I do feel called to help those I find. It’s funny what can happen when someone believes in you.

Why Won’t You Help Us?

To my own church I wonder: “Why won’t you help us?  You would believe in this if you believed in me,”. I believe the people who are like me – those with special callings – they are my family. And I’m not scared to step up and help them.

One thought on “Day Three: Being Rescued Gives Me the Capacity to Rescue

  • Stephanie

    I love your honesty. Continue to be you. We need more authenticity in this world as lights of God.

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