Wednesday, June 28, 2006
More fragile than I thought...
Right now I am in a bit of a funk. The past two years, and especially the past six months have been all about coming to terms with who I am. These months have been the happest, ever. For the first time I bared my soul and allowed myself to feel. When someone said they loved me I felt it inside of me, instead of just thinking, "Yeah, right. Not if they knew." When someone hugged me instead of recoiling at their touch because I was unclean, I hugged them back, thinking that maybe, just maybe I deserved to be loved. I actually had some real conversations with my parents. I showed them my heart, who I really was and even though they may disagree my relationship with them is better than ever. And best of all, I really discovered who God was. I discovered that I don't need to change for him to love me. I can be gay and Christian. It was like all my efforts to change were preventing him from working in me. Now I feel like all of that is slipping away.
When I arrived here in the US, I was so sure of myself. I could say I was gay and not cringe. The other night I had a long talk with my older brother. I love him so much. He is a real man of God and has always been there for me. So we are talking and he wants to know what's up with me, and I tell him(he already knew I was "struggling with homosexuality(he was the first I had told)") that I have accepted the fact that I am gay and may never change. First of all he made sure I knew that he loved me. Than he responds, in his most loving manner(he can be fairly blunt at times and tends to steamroll the opposition), saying that it seems like I've given up because I am afraid of failing. He talked a bit about being decieved and says I am putting myself in bondage, because if I choose to be gay and celibate(I am not sure what I believe about that yet) that I will be fighting it my whole life and will be putting myself in bondage to homosexuality. I try to explain that having my life revolve around homosexuality by trying to get rid of it is bondage but he doesn't understand. He goes on to use a cancer analogy and says that if he had cancer wouldn't I want him to get treatment, even if the success rate was very low?
I tried to explain what I felt, what has happened to me over the last six months but I just can't get it across. It seems like all that is irrelevant. I am starting to wonder; is it? Was the last six months a lie? Was my conviction that I am doing the right thing really just deception? I don't know what to do. My brother said that the way I was last summer, when I was fighting it, is better. Last summer I hated myself. I looked in the mirror and wanted to throw up. I would lie in bed thinking about running a knife down my chest, then thrusting it in just below the sternum. Or maybe drawing it across my arms, and watching the blood well and begin to pour as my life seeps out of me in a crimson cascade. I've thought a lot about it. Last night I was looking at the knives, and wondering, is that it for me? I set the phone down beside me and prayed that God would send help, that someone, anyone would call. If he can do miracles why can't he make someone pick up the phone and rescue me? It seems like I am losing myself. Do I have to resign myself to a life of deception or a life of self-hatred? Should I just end it? I don't want to have to go back to the way I was, but if what I have gotten over the last six months is all a lie I don't want that either. I don't want any of it.
Sorry about the stuff with your brother. I do not mean any disrespect to him (or any of the people in my life who feel the same way, for that matter), but I cannot understand how people feel that living in a state of self-hatred is better than accepting God's love, and learning to accept yourself.
I cannot say what God wants for your life... celibacy, relationship, heterosexuality... but I can say that God does not want you to hate yourself. If the last six months of your life have been about accepting your sexuality, then perhaps the next six months should be focused on something else... maybe just let the gay thing lie for a while and once you're over the 'trauma' of it, then think about it. I don't really know you, so it's hard to even think of giving advice (and if you read my blog, you know, I'm hardly the person to be doing that anyway), but it's possible the whole thing is too raw right now anyway.
Just my thoughts. Have fun in the US!
I am not convinced that when God looks at people, he sees what is bad, I think we do that (myself excluded of course, as I am SO bad, God hates me, but everyone else he likes!). Maybe it would help to find someone who can explain to you how God sees you. I can already tell that you are articulate, caring, sensative and eager to the point of desperateness to be a good person, to do the right thing. These are the signs of a good person; perhaps a very fragile person.
The difference between us, of course, is that I'm nearly 50, and I've been hiding in the church for 15 years - and coming out has been like tearing a bandage off a hairy chest.
I know you're out - but the arguments for coming out and "staying out" are very similar. My friend Tom S. wrote this great post about why being out is best. I highly recommend it.
This quote made me want to cry, though:
He goes on to use a cancer analogy and says that if he had cancer wouldn't I want him to get treatment, even if the success rate was very low?
No, as a matter of fact, I wouldn't, for three reasons.
I watched my father spend 2 years fighting tooth and nail against cancer. He spent every waking moment trying to stay alive. He bought a 2 year pass to the YMCA, even when he could no longer get out of bed without assistance. He died anyway and was a complete mess for most of those 24 months.
In contrast, 15 years later, I watched my friend Steve spend a year and a half knowing he had cancer, and saying "screw you" to the medical community. He lived five years worth of life in those 18 months, and only spent the last month in real physical distress. He filled his life with people and living, rather than spending it all fighting to stay alive.
So no, to your brother's point, I'd much rather try to live for what time I'm alive than spend all my time fighting the dying process.
(In fact, given that the Divine design for humans is for 100% mortality in this life, I'd say that fighting God to stay alive might be considered a form of idolatry... but I'll leave that for college theologians to argue about.)
But more than that, all this talk about cancer misses the really important central point: homosexuality is not a disease that needs to be healed. It is the way that your brother's Creator God made us.
We didn't "give up natural passions" (Romans 1:26); we never had 'em to begin with, though many have tried to manufacture them. We didn't choose this - but we can choose to accept it, and go forward.
A great read - especially for those who have Christian friends - is Mel White's Stranger At The Gate, where he talks about trying reparative therapy and drugs and electro-shock and thousands of hours of counseling - and still ended up (as the saying goes) as gay as a goose.
The hardest thing for me to have done - over the last 3 decades - is decide that who and what I am, as created and shaped by God, is exactly who I'm supposed to be.
And when people try to tell me that "the Bible says it's wrong," I point out to them that "the Bible also was used to defend slavery, and to persecute Kepler and Gallileo because the church thought the earth was the center of the universe. Were they right, too?"
The ancient Hebrews didn't understand even the concept of innate sexual orientation, any more than they understood astronomy or organic chemistry. So how can I govern my life using their rulebook?
It's simple. I can't. For 90% of my moral life, I can point to the Bible as the guide of my faith and life. But I don't trust the Bible when it comes to sex, biology, or astronomy.
When people ask me about homosexuality, I keep pointing them to this post, and asking, "So how do you answer THIS? How do you answer the call of Jesus, versus the call of Leviticus?"
You hang in there, brother. No brother, no father, no job, no nothing is worth your life. As Popeye would say, "I yam whut I yam, and that's ALL whut I yam."