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I have never felt alone, not once in my life. Since early childhood, I have felt and responded to the presence of God, of the Tao, of Love, and of Grace.

That doesn’t mean I haven’t felt lonely, scared, or overwhelmed during my life. But, I have always experienced an intimate relationship with a benevolent being, even when I sat on a gurney at age 26 with a stomach full of paint thinner and pills. God went with me to the Emergency Room.

With full respect for the wisdom and intelligence of those who feel differently, knowing full well that we’ve all read the same books, and listened to the same talks about whether or not something exists beyond our understanding, my experiences of me, of others, and of the world around me, beautiful or heartbreaking, affirm for me my connection to all living things, through Love. I see the Divine in everyone and everything.

I may scorn and fear a person’s words and behavior, but I try to never lose sight of their sacredness, as we are all brothers and sisters. Often, that’s very challenging to see or accept. But, our shared divinity is a bigger deal than our civil war.

For as long as I can remember, I have asked this Higher Power that exists within and outside of me, to use me for its purpose. Even when I was sick with anxiety before a presentation to people in places throughout the world, my request was that I will be a source through which the light would shine. Now, it’s entirely possible that I’m delusional, and I accept that, but I live what I believe with joy, and I have witnessed its power.

My search for truth has been like that of Siddhartha, who, in the book by Herman Hess, went from experience to experience in hopes of understanding himself and the meaning of his life.

At times, I have hated the word “God,” but I’ve never lost touch with my connection to “Thou,” as Martin Buber named it. What is God? It’s beyond my comprehension, but I know that where I find love, I find God. Where I find kindness, I find the flowering of our divinity. We search and search for proof of God and the meaning of our lives. But, we’ve heard from the beginning of time the manifestation of God, as the Beatles sang, “All you need is love.”

What is “Love?” Paul the apostle took a stab at it, as did Eric Fromm, Shakespeare and an army of others. I don’t bother with definitions. I know what it is, and I know what it isn’t. I know what it feels like, and what it doesn’t. Love is not the God of anger, vengeance, or domination. Love is what you experience from the people who know the truth, and walk the talk.

“This little light of mine, I’m going to let it shine.”

Brian McNaught has been an author and educator on LGBTQ issues since 1974. Former Congressman Barney Frank said of Brian, “No one has done a better job of chronicling what it’s like to grow up gay."