I’ve written about this man before.
I want you to imagine a shy, scared kid who experienced homophobia very early on in his life often called “fag,” “faggot,” and any number of other things in the halls of his elementary school, junior high, and high school.
Within this kid was something that stopped him from backing down or becoming a victim to the sadness that comes with feeling unchangeably different from others…a strength that prevented him from becoming a Jamey Rodeymeyer and instead led to him becoming me.
Before that was Chris Kryzan, his son Tommy, Jeff and Danny. Chris is the first person ever I told I was gay, and Tommy was the first guy I ever kissed…parked in a Nissan Sentra in downtown Tacoma. Danny was the second and I stayed up so late doing it I nearly fell asleep at the wheel driving home the next day. And Jeff is a person I love to disagree with…
But this is about Chris.
Chris gave me limitless guidance and acceptance and gave me confidence in my own strength to tell my mother I was gay, which led to me becoming comfortable with being the person I am. Chris sent books to my sister Dawn (before Amazon.com was a thing) as I prepared to tell her I was gay, and offered me safe harbor if everything went horribly wrong and my family disowned me.
Obviously, none of that happened, but I am only able to live my life today because of Chris’ support during the days I was learning to accept and love who I am.
Today he remains constantly in my thoughts and many parts of why I try to do good things for other people without personal benefit stem from him instilling that value in me by his actions in saving my own life.
Happy birthday, Chris. If I’ve never said it before, I’ll say it now. I love you very much and I’m so thankful to God for putting people like you in my life.