by Corwin Ray Ulriksen. “That Little Baby Boy”
posted November 2016
Corwin Ray Ulriksen
Born: November 28, 1970
Age: One day old. He entered the world on a cold, snowy day in southern Saskatchewan. His father, the minister of the local church, was proud. Undoubtedly there would be high expectations, and high hopes that this little baby boy would grow up to be just like his Daddy. Hopefully, one day, the son of a preacher man becomes a preacher himself.
Now why would anyone want to be a preacher? Well, God wants us all to enter heaven, you know! I was taught the only way to get there is to accept Jesus as the saviour from sin, so we need to tell the whole world. After all, Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so.
That little baby boy belonged to Jesus. But only if he grew up believing and following everything exactly as he was taught. Vary from these rules, and he would burn in hell. High expectations? Call them impossible expectations! There’s no winning. How could there be. Slip outside the parameters, and he’s screwed for all eternity.
Age: Five years old. Earliest memory. In his bedroom. Alone. With all he’s been taught about heaven and hell, he prayed “I don’t want to burn. Jesus, please forgive me and come into my heart.” And the journey began.
Age: Thirteen years old. Sitting in the hallway. It’s afternoon recess and everyone was outside, except him. Earlier that day at lunchtime he had been at the 7-Eleven and saw something that shook his world – a magazine. For the first time there was a feeling in his groin he had never felt before. He had to have it. It should be fine. No one will know. He grabbed a newspaper and stuffed the magazine inside. “Please God, don’t let it fall out when I pay for the newspaper.” Success! Back in the hallway, he carefully opened the paper to reveal the cover of the magazine. Exhilaration and fear! Simultaneously. His groin spring to life again. He slammed the newspaper shut. “Nobody can see this”, he thought as he stuffed the paper into his backpack. “It’s wrong. I’m bad.” Later that evening. In his bedroom. Alone. Just like when he was five years old. He prayed “I don’t want to burn” as he opened the cover of the magazine entitled “Hot Man”.
Age: Eighteen years old. Week number three at Bible College. Sitting in the office. Scared! He had been found out. His roommate had moved out that morning and told the Dean of students “He’s a f…ing faggot. Kick him out. Gay people aren’t allowed here.” In that instant, that little baby boy, Corwin, Daddy’s pride and joy, son of a preacher man, knew he would never be a preacher himself.
It’s funny how life can go by and things seem okay, even good. Repression is a wonderful tool, you know. Sweep things under the rug. Pretend everything is fine. Don’t talk about the suicide attempts. Just pray and it’ll all be okay. Pray the gay away.
Years later, after a parade of men coming in and out of his life, failed relationships, horrific divorce, and in yet another mentally abusive relationship, that little baby boy still had no idea what love was.
Age: Forty one. Day one of addiction. It was an app. That’s how he met him. “Come on over, Corwin” the man said. “Let’s party and play.” It was too good an offer to turn down. Somebody wanted him sexually, again. And this time it was a magic carpet ride for three years, until it was no longer magical.
Age: Forty four. July 28, 2015. That’s the day he entered treatment in Kamloops. Three days later, “I’m outta here”, he said at his first AA meeting. If God couldn’t love him for who he was, he certainly was not having any part of God.
Back again. Into addiction. Loveless. Abandoned. By self and others. Rock bottom. Drug-induced psychosis. Running around his apartment, butcher knife in hand, screaming at the people hiding in the closet, under his bed, and in the walls, “I’ll kill you if I find you!”
Exhausted. Heart pounding. Unable to sleep. He fell into bed and that little baby boy prayed one last time, “I don’t want to burn. I’m already in hell.”
Two weeks later. Exhausted. Heart calmer. Now able to sleep. He crawled into bed. It was room 314 at Pacifica Treatment Centre. A haven. Two months of respite.
“Keep an open mind”, his counselor, Angeline, said. “Take what works for you and leave the rest behind.” Advice on AA. Poor boy. He hated AA and didn’t even know why. It would be months before he recalled the awful memories of the 12-step gay conversion therapy program he attended as a teenager. Twisted lies about being an abomination had played out in his mind for decades. Unable to love himself, it was only a matter of drugs being introduced to him in the right circumstance that had led him into addiction.
Now it was time. Time to put away the drugs, self-loathing, and lies he had been told that being gay was wrong. It was time to forgive. Forgive the guy who first give him drugs, forgive himself, and forgive the people who in God’s name had perpetuated falsehoods regarding sexuality.
Forgiveness is a funny thing, you know. The person who is forgiven may never know they have been forgiven, but the forgiver gets to release all the hurt, sadness, anger. And release is a beautiful state of mind. The whole body relaxes and a sense of calm takes over. You can breathe again.
That little baby boy will probably always be a little baby boy. He’s often close to tears, needing reassurance that he’s okay. But his tears are no longer only tears of sadness. There are now tears of joy, tears of release, tears of things lost and things gained. He’s moving on, but it’s tough some days. He may never be the preacher Daddy wanted him to be, but through his story he may be able to help save some lives. Lives that might otherwise be lost to addiction and self-hatred.