Phil* and I were friends for over 25 years – shared many great times, celebrated weddings and the birth of our children and conducted too many post mortems as to why our favourite football team was having such a wretched season or why one of us was suddenly single.
Our friendship had endured for two decades plus despite these days living in different cities and prolonged periods where, due to both our work commitments and the busyness of our daily family lives, we could go 6 to 12 months without talking to each other. It didn’t matter. Either one of us could email or pick up the phone at anytime as though we had spoken just the day before. We were brothers except in name. Bonded through an understanding of what the other person was like and what made them tick.
Last week our friendship ended. There was something I’d been keeping from Phil for some time. Years in fact. Could never bring myself to even mention it but felt the need and urge to finally get it off my chest. Essentially, I decided to come out to my closest friend.
The response from Phil was worse than I expected. Yet, even now, I’m half expecting the phone to ring at any time and hear his voice on the other end offering muted support and understanding. Isn’t that what long term friendship is about?
I can understand his shock. It isn’t everyday that your best friend aged soon to turn 50 picks up the phone and delivers this type of news. Don’t think it was easy for me. Besides telling Phil and my current partner (who is coming to terms with it slowly), no one else knows. I’m not sure anyone else close to me will be told now if this is the reaction I’ve received from those that know me best.
And as I work in head office for a conservative global company at a very senior level, how on earth can I remain true to myself yet still keep my day job? Do I keep it a secret or be true to myself and out myself as a closet medium?
Oh yeah. Just realised. Forgot to mention that earlier. That is why my friendship of over 25 years has ended with Phil. I told him I’ve had visits from the other side for longer than I can remember.
Told him I didn’t understand it either and I’ve been for MRI scans, seen psychologists and medical experts trying to get to the bottom of what happens when I meditate but to no avail. According to medical science, I’m fine.
I explained to Phil that I’m as sceptical as the next person and want science to give me an answer as I’m no crackpot or dial-up psychic doing this for money. I don’t charge a dime nor would I want to. Hook me up to any machine reputed to be capable of giving a medically trained expert an answer and I’m there.
I gave him examples of what I’ve ‘seen’ and ‘heard’. Examples of what I’ve passed on to others who sought me out a few years back. Stunned silence.
We spoke about his leap of faith in going to church each Sunday to pray to someone he couldn’t see. We spoke about how it would have been easier for him to accept if I had come out and told him I was gay. I asked him why.
It is just far more acceptable. I asked him why. He hung up. I haven’t heard from him since. It’s a shame but I’ve decided that it is more important to stay true to myself.
I’m not doing this for money, sympathy or notoriety. I’m doing this for the millions in the world who just happen to have faith in something that doesn’t quite fit in with the rest of mainstream society. God knows I wish I had the proof, the answer or a scientific explanation either way. Not a week goes by that I don’t question my sanity. Even my pseudonym irks me. I’d love to write under my proper name but I know that it would cause too much hurt and embarrassment to my family and I doubt my career would continue with my current employer. It’s just too big a risk at present to give up my executive job with school fees and a mortgage to pay. Pity I can’t be honest, but that’s life.
In the end, it is what it is and what I experience is what I report here and on a blog I’ve started. I mentioned that to Phil. I hope he reads it. I doubt he will. I know there will be more days like this as I continue to come out about all this. The upside is, for the first time in many years, I feel like I’m being true to myself and have accepted who I am.
Other than the love I have for my child, it is the best feeling I’ve ever experienced.
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