We are in tumultuous times. I have a fitting story about loggers I heard in prison. There was an apprentice logger, the journeymen sent him to top a tree, prep it for felling. So the apprentice climbs to the top and the journeymen stay silent. He does his job and begins his descent. When he’s just about down this high tree the journeymen holler up “be careful!” to him. The apprentice gets a little irritated and confused. After all his biggest danger was at the top, not the bottom of the tree. 
When he gets down he starts in on them, telling them he thinks there teaching skills suck. What they didn’t tell him was that most accidents happen when the logger is descending, because that’s when they are most complacent. 
Moral of the story is this: be diligent and careful all the way to the end. Stay focused. 
The gay movement as a whole has a ton of momentum. Yes we are getting push back from confused religious homophobes, but we are also getting lots of support from religious groups who want to love us openly.
Don’t lose heart now. Don’t slow down. I have goals, things I am going to accomplish. I know that I don’t have the luxury of time. I lose another community member everyday. Another failure on my part. Someone I could have helped. My own feelings are secondary to our cause. Not just mine, ours. Our friends and family are falling victim to drugs and poverty and low self esteem. All fixable problems with community support. All fixable with love. 
You must keep going, even with tears in your eyes, even when things are tough and most especially when you think no one is depending on you. 

Twice in the past month I have heard stories of a loved one dying and the person telling me this is shocked at how many people said “they were my best friend” and “they helped me so much”. There is no greater footprint you can leave then leaving a community knowing you loved them. 
I hope one day I leave a footprint like that, not with tons of people sad I’m gone, nothing egotistical like that. I mean instead that I hope that every person I meet knows that I loved them. That’s going to be my footprint, my contribution, my penance to society for the wrongs I’ve done. Maybe that’s my ultimate punishment, love as much as I can and never hear the words back so long as I live. I’m good with that, as long as those I meet know that I loved them. So in case you don’t hear it today or at all, I love you. Don’t believe me? Try me…I promise to be your ally, your friend no matter what. You aren’t doing anything I won’t love you through. 

With Love
Jeff Utnage