Wednesday, March 18, 2009
Well, I sent the letter to my parents on Wednesday morning after I called them and asked them if they would be ok with me sending them a "pretty important and impactful letter." My mom wanted me to just tell them what's up over the phone, but I told her that she would have to be patient for the letter and that the letter would explain everything. They said, "yes, send it." So I sent it Wednesday morning and it was guaranteed to arrive Friday afternoon.
Thursday night, like usual, I stayed at my friend's place in Holladay. It's practically where I live these days. I got 2 hours of sleep because I was just too anxious. I went to the grocery store at 2am because it was the only thing open and I sat into one of those automated blood pressure machines and my bp was 143/87! It's usually 90/50. I felt it in every part of me. My capillaries were screaming for me to calm down! ;) Then Friday night, after I hadn't heard anything from my parents, I called my sister to ask her if mom and dad were at home or if they were out of town for the evening. She said that they were at home and that they seemed to be normal...so, I knew they had read the letter...but no call...was that good or bad? I knew I couldn't do anything about it, so I just tried to forget about it-which proved to be absolutely impossible.
That evening, I went to a house party with my Holladay friends (they knew about the letter and the timetable and all). I was soooooooo grateful for these guys. The next morning, they told me about how every little bit, I would kinda go quiet and my eyes would go distant and they knew I was picturing what was going on with my mom and dad...and their possible reactions... These friends didn't just care about what was going on, they cared for me enough to be really perceptive and every time my eyes went distant, someone would come over and talk with me about my worries or anything else. It was sooo incredible that they not only professed their care verbally, but that they were sincere in it enough to pay close attention to me during the night. Even though I tried really hard to stay upbeat and fun, they watched for the times when I was starting to feel really sad and they would come over and make sure that I didn't feel alone through the evening. Thanks to heaven for these friends. Wow. I didn't sleep a wink that night...not at all. I stayed over in Holladay and the friend I shared the bed with stayed up with me the whole night and we talked and laughed like there was no tomorrow. Stories (true or false), jokes, plans, dreams, wishes, regrets, longings, and philosophies. We covered it all. Yep, sooo grateful for dear friends. How can you not be?
Saturday morning, I had the Rex Lee 5k to run at 9am. So, without any sleep the previous night and only two hours the night before, I ran the race. There was frost on the ground even by the finish of the race! Ahhhh, that was cold! I was happy with my time and I had that great endorphin - happy feeling you get after a great competition. My mom had called while I was running the race - her message said that she knew from my sister that I was running...it wished me luck and told me to call her back after I finished. Because I ran hard, I was exhausted when I called her so our conversation was not very long. We talked about the race for a minute or so, then we went quiet...waiting for someone to breach the subject of the letter - of me being gay. She said that her and dad read the letter - that when it was done, they looked at each other and knew that it was true. It wasn't something that they were suspecting, but after reading the letter and remembering things from my childhood and the conversations we had had over the last year, they knew that what I said about myself, my feelings, my nature, and my attractions was the truth. She said that I had to know that they still loved me and that they always would. My mom said that my dad took the confession really hard - we couldn't pretend that I was going to have my family with 10 kids and all that I had wanted. I was coughing from running such a cold race, so my mom told me to go get a warm shower and some rest and to call her later on in the day.
My mom and I are talking daily again and it's not often that we talk about the letter or it's subject matter. I'm really happy about that. She called me on Sunday morning and it was a few minutes before I could understand what she was saying because she was crying so hard. She said that she was sitting in church waiting for the sacrament when she became so emotional that she got up and left church because she just couldn't contain herself. She said that she became so upset when she thought about the journey I've had over the past year and how hard that must have been. We talked about trials and learning and awakenings that challenge long-held beliefs. We talked about unquestioned faith and questioned faith as well as unchallenged faith and challenged faith. After about an hour, we were laughing some and we both felt so much better. Now, our conversations and interaction is normal again...but deeper. I'm grateful for it, very grateful.
I hope someday, I can become the kind of individual that my father is. He's strong, he's focused on integrity and honest conduct, and he greatly values kindness and compassion. My dad and I have spoken once since he read the letter. He called me and asked for some time to process things. My mom told me on Sunday that dad has been taking this really hard. I have only ever seen my dad cry twice - both times he was talking about how much he loved and missed his mother who died of Lupus when he was in Germany on his mission. When mom said that dad was taking this really hard, it made me hurt. I believe that we'll have a quality relationship in spite of this, but I worry that a good quality relationship will have to exist in spite of this - not along with or because of this. Only time will tell. I told my dad that it's taken me a very long time to process this part of my life, a very long time. I told him that I knew that it would take time to understand this news and what it means for us and the future. I said that I was prepared to and committed to be patient and understanding of his need for time. So...I wait. I wait and hope that he isn't hurting. I wait and wish that we didn't have to be in this position. I wait and remember that he's a wise father with an enormous soul - that this isn't his first rodeo, even if it is a bit unique. I know he loves me and that that's why this is so hard for him - that it's why he needs time.
Thank you to my parents for being wise in their reception of this letter. Thank you to my friends here in Provo and SLC for their support and attention over these past couple of weeks. Thank you to our blogging family for your love and support and advice and encouragement. I've said it before and I mean it as sincerely now as ever, I could not do this without dear friends who truly love me and care enough to make themselves known. I've got a marathon in DC this weekend. It'll be so nice to just run and feel love and health and gratitude. I have been blessed, no doubt about it.
at 9:33 AM