Sunday, June 29, 2008

In Hiding

It'd be so nice if they knew; but then again, would it?

My dad and I recently spent a week together on our motorcycles riding to and from and around AZ. Camping, talking, advising, cliff jumping and everything else fathers and sons do. I was indescribably excited for this week; but during the week, things started to feel short-changed and when it was over, I was really upset. From the outside and maybe for him, the week was great. We did anything that you could have wanted to do. But there was something very real putting distance between us. This thing that is 60% of my life (I'm trying to bring that down...) I couldn't say a word to him about it or ask for his thoughts or philosophies.

I used to talk with my parents a lot-each one,twice daily. I know it sounds excessive, but they were always really nice calls and we always had good stuff to chat about. Up until April (when I "came out") there wasn't a part of me or a worry or a joy that I didn't share with them. Now, we talk twice a week, and our conversations seem to take place because they're supposed to. It's not their fault. My mom has asked me if something is wrong...she wonders why we don't talk much anymore. My sisters and cousins,who I see often, have asked the same thing wondering why I'm not as energetic and outgoing and happy as I used to be.

As I've described, I tried to tell my sister. That didn't go well. Today, I spent the whole evening with my dearest cousins, but a large part of me wasn't there... I've come to understand what Calvin meant when he said that if he continued on without telling his parents, he felt he would explode. I'm slowly isolating and distancing myself from my family, and they're asking me "why". SGA would explain so much and they would understand so many more of the things that make me feel empty or full.

This evening, with my cousins, I did a little imagining of what it would be like if my family knew.........
It was horrible. People would walk as if they were on egg shells. I would be the "gay cousin" that had everybody confused for so long. If my parents knew, I would go from being their only son to their gay son. They wouldn't alienate me or shun me. They'd love me; but, I would no longer be their only son, I'd be their gay son. Everything would change. The distance between us would grow, not diminish. It would grow cause I hated myself for being the problem and because they wouldn't know what to they wouldn't say much at all. The gay bashing would be stopped at the tips of the tongues and the resulting silence would be mystery to none, rather would serve to remind everyone as to why we don't make those jokes anymore. There would be a homosexual in the family, and so things would have to change...........
I know that I could keep it at just telling my parents, but that would start nasty secret keeping that would be really rotten whenever more of the family was together and either shared their views on homos (you'd be surprised at how often this happens) or asked some "why" questions of me wherein the answer would be "well...cause I've got this gay problem."

I was really starting to consider telling my parents and maybe some others... No, not after tonight. Maybe I can fix this distance problem without disclosing anything. Our relationship has been excellent in the past. It just seems that now, the hardest issue I've ever known - the one that kicks my butt; the one that's been the source of the greatest fear, shame, and uncertainty of my life; the one that I need help most in - I have to hide...
P.S. My imagined outcome of "what could happen if..." is just my best honest guess at what coming out to family would cause. My family really is incredible, they think that I'm going to be and do great things. They really do give me a lot of credit, maybe I'm not giving them enough. I'm just too afraid that what used to be so amazing could be lost for good. The less risky thing would be to try and bring things back to the way they were without telling them about this struggle.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Cool Conversations

So, I've had some really nice conversations lately via email, over the phone, or in person that have really given me some food for thought. Some of the people I talked with were really liberal, none of them were ultra-conservative, and the rest were in the middle.

I've got a friend that nobody knows that would like me to "just be what God made me, the way that he made me; because He evidently intends that I be that way." He wants me to accept who I am because if I don't, I'll just cause a lot of pain to anyone who I include in my guaranteed-to-fail attempt at a hetero lifestyle. He said that he had done a ton of research about these attempts and said that they really did fail. I know that he wants to keep me from sadness and so he's really just sharing what he's experienced. I wrote back that I've done a lot of research too. Ultimately, I've found that there are so many strong opinions out there about this (really, try to find someone that doesn't have a strong opinion about this issue and I'll give you a candy bar) that I've got to base my hopes and beliefs about future possibilities off my own experiences and the ways that God helps me to understand them. I know that I'm gay. It's been a long time and a hard road for me to be able to say that. But at the same time - or even before that, I was and am Robert; and Robert is whoever I make him to be. Homosexuality and homosexual characteristics is and are an influence in my life - they influence me, they don't determine me. This is the hardest, scariest, and biggest challenge I've ever known. Sometimes, it seems like it controls me. With the challenge being such, I don't think that I can hope to win by exerting any amount of effort, faith, patience, or trust that I've exerted in the past. For this challenge, the difficulty of which I haven't even fully fathomed, it'll take effort, determination, endurance, and heart the likes of which I've never known before. I'll be required to go deeper within myself and trust, not seeing, in the Lord in a way that I've not yet done. But...if I do...if by some miracle, I can have a will strong enough to last in this...then I can only know that I'll find myself grateful for enduring the indefinite trial. The indefinite part may well be the hardest part. Being gay doesn't necessitate immorality or compromised integrity. I can still hope and work to be totally moral, in spite of sga. I never need to break covenants, oaths, or promises - my word should and can be my bond. I know these are lofty goals, but it was revelatory when they hit me...and they hit me hard.

The other conversation was with an elderly couple. We had a chat about their son and his challenge and their subsequent involvement in the lds sga scene and the things that they learned in light of it. Our talk really helped me to remember that I once knew that God knew where I would be long before I got there and that where I am now is not by mistake. I'm Robert, born to Mike and Billie, sga lds, brother to four sisters, and friend of amazing souls all because that's exactly the slate I was asked/allowed to take and accepted in pre-mortal existence. I really learned, a few years ago, that where we are and who we are now was foreseen before we were born, and that there are more callings on the road ahead...all of them shaping and molding each individual in the only way that he or she could have been shaped and molded. This couple shared experience upon experience that affirmed and re-affirmed this principle. In consequence to their sharing as well as in consequence to things that I've learned in my walkings, I saw once again a very large picture. Same gender attraction was put into the context of mortality and trials, and mortality and trials was put between pre-mortal preparation and post-mortal progression, and that was put between eternity and eternity; all in the context of the work of Heavenly Father and Christ and the Holy Ghost for bringing more souls to live in celestial glory, love, and light. I know that our conversation sounds like it was all a little melodramatic, but it wasn't. It was really just a very fitting, quiet, and comfortable chat to have shared.

Someday, I'll have a family. God asks us to remember the things that He's taught us in such a way that we can make decisions based on those things even if we aren't filled with a burning belief in them a the time that the decision needs to be made. If once, long ago, we learned, undeniably, that in spite of our wrongs, God was willing to guide us out of our dangerous corners to light, happiness, and destined callings, then we can rest assured that the same is the case now...and forever. For a bit of humor and irony, a quote from The Boondock Saints fits to end this post: "The question is not how far. The question is, do you possess the constitution, the depth of faith, to go as far as is needed?"

Sometimes, I don't think I posses it; sometimes, I think otherwise; and then again, sometimes, I just don't think about it cause it feels better not to. Sometimes, I don't think I can do what I know I should...or more truthfully said, sometimes, I don't do what I know Heavenly Father would help me to do because I lack the heart to continue to try...that is, if I'm being totally honest. But, often, I remember what I've experienced and the awakenings and testimonies that God has shared to me...and I make choices based on what I know I once knew (and therefore still know)...and I do better.


Saturday, June 14, 2008


Hmmm. It’s been too long. Since I last posted, I’ve messed up a lot. Boy, I’m really sorry for that. I’m at the point now to where I don’t know if I should just throw up my hands with this or whether I should keep fighting. “Throw up my hands” doesn’t mean “embrace homosexuality.” It just means “drop the issue and live life aside of it.” I know it won’t go away, but I don’t think it’ll do any good to turn a lot of attention to achieving progress—especially when I don’t even know what kind of progress to achieve. By throwing up my hands, the pathway I’m living life on will no longer be measured by success or failure in being gay or straight. I’m not sure whether this is a bad case of give-it-up-itis or whether it’s smart…or both. Whatever it is, I’m doing it.

I haven’t talked to my bishop in a little while because I don’t want to tell him how things are going unless I can tell him how it’s going well. A little more than a month ago, I started to do a nightly scripture and prayer with Aaron via video chat (skype). Wow, that was really nice. One of the thoughts that he shared was from The Problem of Pain by C.S. Lewis. It talks about divine love and goodness.

“By the goodness of God we mean nowadays almost exclusively His lovingness; and in this we may be right. And by Love, in this context, most of us mean kindness—the desire to see others than the self happy; not happy in this way or in that, but just happy. What would really satisfy us would be a God who said of anything we happened to like doing, ‘What does it matter so long as they are contented?’ We want, in fact not so much a Gather in Heave as a grandfather in heaven—a senile benevolence who, as they say, ‘liked to see the young people enjoying themselves’, and whose plan for the universe was simply that it might be truly said at the end of each day, ‘a good time was had by all.’ Not many people, I admit, would formulate a theology in precisely those terms: but a conception not very different lurks at the back of many minds. I do not claim to be an exception…”

And about love: “The lowest type, and one which is ‘love’ at all only be an extension of the word, is that which an artist feels for an artifact. God’s relation to man is pictured thus in Jeremiah’s vision of the potter and the clay, or when St. Peter speaks of the whole Church as a building on which God is at work, and of the individual members as stones. The limitation of such an analogy is, of course, that in the symbol the patient is not sentient, and that certain question of justice and mercy which arise when the ‘stones’ are really ‘living’ therefore remain unrepresented. But it is an important analogy so far as it goes. We are, not metaphorically but in very truth, a Divine work of art, something that God is making, and therefore something with which He will not be satisfied until it has a certain character. Here again we come up against what I have called the ‘intolerable compliment’ (basically that God loves us so much that he will not leave us alone—thus intolerable and complimenting). Over a sketch made idly to amuse a child, an artist may not take much trouble: he may be content to let it go even though it is not exactly as he meant it to be. But over the great picture of his life—the work he loves...—he will take endless trouble—and would, doubtless, thereby give (be the source of) endless trouble to the picture if it were sentient. One can imagine a sentient picture, after being rubbed and scraped and recommenced for the tenth time, wishing that it were only a thumbnail sketch whose making was over in a minute. In the same way, it is natural for us to wish that God had designed for us a less glorious and less arduous destiny; but then we are wishing not for more love but for less.”

Maybe we’re not supposed to fix every broken thing in life. Maybe, we’re supposed to do the most possible good with what we have. Maybe, these broken things are the very same things that will enable us to achieve greater levels of service that would otherwise be impossible. Maybe, we’re not all supposed to have the “traditional” life here...or maybe it’ll just happen a little later on. And along with that, what can we hope to become without learning to deny or control our passions…ourselves? Please don’t think of me as trying to preach. The only person I’m trying to teach here is myself. Otherwise, I’d be bordering hypocrisy. Maybe, we should just do what we can, find happiness where it is now, and hope (sometimes blindly) that the rest will work out according to some/the divine plan…

And maybe I just think too much…