Wednesday, April 16, 2008

A New Light, A New Life

The last two weeks have been really different and pretty difficult...I'm trying to figure if it's a good different or not. I was invited by a few close friends to come to a meeting that was held for people dealing with same gender attraction (SGA). I went, telling my friends that I was there to support others and that I was really interested in the issue; all the while, thinking that maybe it wasn't a good idea to be there cause I might end up facing my own long hidden SGA issue.

It's really tragic, sometimes, how life seems to develop. My past seems like a blur cause of how I just refused to think about it for so long. I think this issue started for me when I was five, or at least that's the farthest back I can remember something happening. It pervaded my whole adolescent experience, always threatening to be discovered. I really expunged everything I could when I prepped for and went on a mission, but even then, I still had a hard time with it emotionally. My mission was great, and I've had truly life-altering experiences post mission(ones for the better). However, life has been bumpy especially since I've been off my mission (about 4 years). At one point, I talked to the most amazing bishop I ever had about "things I've never talked to a priesthood leader about that maybe I should have." But even then, I (as much in denial to myself as anybody) denied that I had any actual real attractions like that (it's shocking how much you can bend your own reality). I thought that it meant I was defective or marred and I couldn't be that, not if I wanted a family. Self-deceit, what a killer of hope and hearts. So, I've just been having a split nature - one half (the well meaning LDS boy) hating the other half (the SGA part), and man, it hurts.

So, after the SGA fireside/meeting, I met some people that I knew from previous classes. These were guys that were really great people, and that I thought of as model LDS BYU students (I think even higher of them now). We chatted a little and ate some refreshments and then chatted some more. Anyway, while I was there "for support", one stranger came up to me when I was momentarily alone and made some comment that assumed that I was gay (this term only indicates SGA challenged). Because he was a stranger, I dropped the pretense and, for the first time in my life, admitted the issue. This is when the different feeling from the first paragraph came in, almost like it flipped on inside me. I don't remember much that we talked about that evening because I was so worried and off-set by this really different and odd way that I felt. As the evening ended, and we went for our cars, I said to my friend, "Hey, Johnny (not his real name), remember how I said that this issue is something that I really have a lot of interest in? Well, I guess what I was trying to say is that this is something that I deal with myself. This is something that is a real problem for me..." My friend was really kind and understanding, having decided to face his own SGA one year earlier. So he told me to contact him if I ever needed help or support.

For the next week, this different feeling really kept me off balance and I stayed pretty secluded for it. I constantly felt exposed and afraid. I didn't want to explore what I was feeling; all I wanted was to be still and safe. I don't know that I've ever felt that way before, and I didn't think that I liked it, except that I did feel better for having been to the fireside and talked with people like I did. Just today, I think I found how to define this new something: a new light. It's kind of like I've had this door that I've refused to open or think about, and now, I've opened it and turned on the light, and there's all this stuff in here that I've always hid and it's time to maybe take a look at it and sort it out - the trash from the keepers. I'm still very lost as to where to go, and what to do. But, now I know that I'm not alone, and that I have good friends that have experiences and are willing to share with me ideas.

Long ago, on the mission, I made a promise to the Lord that the testimonial experiences that He had given me would never be discarded. That I would always know what He had given me to know: that He loves me and is always ready to take me in and comfort and heal me; that He is in control and as long as I keep my choices true to what I know He wants me to do, I am where he foresaw me to be and therefore safe in his hands; and that repentance is the way to become right again and is a gift given by Christ to all who will use it. I will forever keep that promise. I've come to accept that some challenges will never go away, but I have a real hope that the Lord sees the end of our mortal journeys and will lead us to the best exit.

So, this blog will chronicle a new beginning in life, and the places it leads me.

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