Thursday, October 23, 2008

What do you wan't first? The good or the bad?

The Good:

Well, for the last year or so, before I ended up confronting same gender attraction, I've been very close to an incredible girl - Hillary. She's the third girl that I dated seriously, and definitely the closest person that I've ever been connected with. Words can't describe the relationship that we share. We've toured Europe together, had numerous life or jail experiences in numerous countries on two continents, we've shared a bed many many times during our travels (of course nothing ever happened nor was anything even hoped for, it's just incredible to wake up next to someone you love so deeply), we've driven some 10,000 miles over our several cross-continental road trips, and she's done emergency surgery on me and I did emergency care on her when she fell off a cliff and couldn't get to a hospital for 4 days. We were going to get married, but both of us found that the fear we were experiencing was more than just nerves...lo and behold, last April, it all ran over and spilled out - I'm crazy attracted to guys. Hill stuck with me through a cancer diagnosis, surgery, and then coming to terms with being gay. She's still the closest person I have and we continue to help each other forward every day (she says that I help her too).

About a month ago, we had a serious talk. Our relationship was still reaching for romanticism and hopes for the future were around every corner. The possibility that, if I could figure myself out and get right with things, we might marry some day was really about the only anchor line holding me in place so that the storms didn't blow me away to being completely lost. Well, we had this serious talk because, for a while, I had felt like something was not OK. I had been feeling something was wrong, and I finally asked her how she felt about about us. She asked if I wanted her to be totally honest. I said yes. What she said was exactly how I had been feeling...the reason that I asked the question in the first place. It was this: I was struggling and stuck in a rut...and she was staying there with me while life passed on. Of course friends help friends out; but if I get lost, she couldn't help if she was lost with me. She could help me best if she was on solid ground following her promptings in life. We are so close that we've just stuck together through anything; and while we still will, we can't be lost together. And yes, I'm lost. I'm trying to follow guidance to get me out of being lost...but I'm lost. She had to move forward in life. The thing is that while she can help me with my problems, she cant do them for me. They're my life problems and, truth be told, only I can do them. Well, with that conversation, the hope for marrying her extinguished. My strongest tie-down and anchor line (I know it should be the Lord, but that's not the case now) was cut, and I felt very different inside. One day I caught myself thinking that if someone plowed into me on my motorcycle and I died, that would actually be OK - I could then be in a place where I'd have the possibility to move forward on the whole baptism, deacon, teacher, priest, elder, rm, married,... path. Now, just understand, I'm not suicidal.

Fortunately, my thoughts lead me to a bit of a discovery. It dawned on me that I needed a different purpose in life - a new something for my mortal existence to culminate in. I mean, shoot, there is no other right life aside from the track of baptism, priesthood, mission, married, and children. That's the purpose of life! or was... Well, I thought about it for a while, and I decided it was OK if my life's culminating purpose - the thing that I could say was my mark for having lived - was my work with adolescents and their families. I hope that doesn't sound like a build up to a mediocre answer, cause in no way do I hope to have only a mediocre impact on a mediocre number of individuals. I thought, "If I don't have a family, then all the time that would have gone to them can now go to my work. The people I work with can be my family and expanding and building that business bigger and bigger so as to increase our capacity to help more and more families could be my life and the thing that I invest my heart into." My question to the critic would only be: "What else am I going to do with it?" I see that this is quite idealistic, but "ideals are like stars," right? I mean, I'm not foolish enough to believe that things will turn out just like I see them in my detailed daydreams; but, that's not to say that they can't actually turn out to be better than the dreams. The biggest reason for failing, I think, is cause people fail to dream and then believe in themselves. And again, I can see that this is a stretch, but it's what I'll shoot for. So, the good is that I might have found a new purpose in life.

The Bad:

I'm drinking and smoking more. I'm afraid of the future...of me in the future. I'm afraid that I'll become someone that I'll regret, or that I'll regret living alone, or that I'll regret marrying, or that I'll regret something I didn't want to type. I know what I want, I know what is true, and I know where I should be...but knowing all those things has never precluded me from making grave mistakes. It always comes down to that moment when you face the decision. I think it's that moment that I'm afraid of. No matter what I want or know or see for a hundred days in a row, that moment is decided by what I am able to see then and there. I'm afraid cause I don't have a good track record. I'm a wild card, even to me. I feel like a coward by saying all this, or like a person that plans to fail, or like a premature quitter. But I'd be a liar if I was to say that I know what will happen or that I know I'll be where I'm supposed to be in 2, 5, or 10 years. Don't misunderstand, I don't question my testimony; I don't question my love for God and Christ; I don't question prophets, revelation, leadership, or the power of faith. I question that moment and me in it. I've just learned from so many other experiences...that no matter how I feel now, I can't tell you for sure what will happen at that moment. I'm afraid of not being where I should be some day down the road when I stop and take a look around and then look at myself.

There are the good and the bad. I'm not in a crisis. I love my friends, I love my family, I like my work, and I really don't like my classes. So, I guess I'm normal...maybe I am.

Monday, October 13, 2008

About me

I'm sitting in prison in Utah with a little heater fan blowing on me and an inmate taking a personality profile measure next to me. The measure is 567 questions long, so I've had some time to do some thinking and I'm going to have some time to do some writing. What do I think? Well, life is most always a better deal than I feel it is. I say most always because sometimes, I am able to see it for the radiant and transcendent marvel that it is, and the beautiful future that it urges on us. Funny, I usually start to see that life is better than I give it credit for after talking with a few inmates. I guess, compared to them, I've not got such a hard case. Hahaha.

I hesitated to post this cause I'm not sure how good of an idea it is to open yourself up like so. I edited it down quite a bit and tried to make it as clear as possible. I'm posting it for two reasons: so that I can read it a few years down the road and maybe see how my thinking about the past has changed and because I really appreciate being able to learn about others' lives and the things that lead them to where they are now, so maybe others will appreciate reading this.

Well, I'm a small town boy. I feel so at home in the woods and in can be the outskirts of a small town, a cow pasture, or some meadow a hundred miles from anything and I'm home. Yeah, corny. But, really, you've seen man vs wild? Yeah, that's totally my thing. I finally acknowledged being SGA in April 2008, but that's not to say that I couldn't have admitted to it before. I got into trouble with boys starting at about the age of six. Sometimes we got caught sometimes we didn't. I never treated girls with anything but the utmost respect. I thought I was such a good guy. All of the immoral stuff stayed really well hidden, even from my parents. I played most every sport, fished, hunted, camped, and got into plenty of trouble - I've got a juvi record a mile long.
We moved to another town when I was 15 and on probation for the second time. This probation officer was a really good guy and helpful. That was the start of a new life. I remember my dad saying to me, "This is your chance to start new. Nobody here knows anything about what you've done." I don't know why, but after all the things that my parents said trying to turn me around, this time, my dad got through. I started being good as far as what people saw, but nothing ever changed with regard to immorality. I had some pretty life changing things happen in the latter teenage years. The most significant was a car accident that involved my whole family (mom, dad, me and my four sisters). I got some pretty serious head injuries that left me with few memories from my past and a bit of a changed personality. For the 4 months after the accident, I was on my own. I was one of the two people in my family that could walk and because of that, I was expected to take care of myself. It was a really rough time, my brain couldn't handle coherent thought, but I was on my own. After it was all over, I had become very independent and comfortable being alone. I had plenty of fun with friends, but my favorite time was being quiet and alone or having good talks with one friend.

When I went to college, I told my parents that I was planning on going on a mission, just because if I didn't tell them that, they would have probably broken (I'm currently the only active child of the four that moved out...and they don't know I'm gay); but, I definitely knew that I would never choose to go. I had tried so many things to get the Lord to fix me (I knew something was wrong) that by this time, I was really resistant with Him. Fortunately, I had some miraculous roommates that first semester and an incredible mentor...I decided that I did want to serve a mission. I went out on the mission right before they "raised the bar." Now, believe me when I say this, I served with everything I had and the most unspeakable things happened on the mission. Wow, I learned that I was where the Lord wanted me to be; and that God, his offer for redemption through the atonement, and the reality of his closeness are so true, real, and actual.
After I came back, I taught at the MTC for a year. These three years (the mission and the MTC) stood in sharp contrast to the rest of my life. After the MTC, I left UT cause I didn't know where life was suppose to go. I moved to Arizona and started working for a program that helped children who had gotten in deep trouble with the law, drugs, immorality, or other defiant or destructive behavior. I loved it, and I got a second job working with children in group homes and emergency care shelters who were wards of the state. Both of these were in Arizona. The two years there brought me to the knowledge of what my calling is in life - to help young people and their families to learn to walk together in harmony through the challenges of this world. I needed more education to do this, so I sold my house in AZ and moved back to UT to finish school. I'll be done in April and then move on to whichever grad school accepts me.
April will be the one year mark from when I admitted to SGA. I have nightmares sometimes that my family finds me out. It's going to happen some day. I don't have a partner and I don't ever plan to, but being single for too long is just about as much of a give-away. At any rate, the other questions and evidences will eventually give me up. But, I guess we'll cross that bridge when we come to it, no?