Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Dear Anonymous - Part 2a

This is my second post responding to a comment from an anonymous reader, left on this linked post.
I am sorry for your pain.. and i won't go into the rights or wrongs of being gay.. But one thing I do have to ask.. and perhaps you should as well.. You made a vow when you and your 'wife' got married. You have children.. you have a responabilty to them.. even though you have 'come out' so to speak.. does that mean you have the right to throw away the life you have, the one you built with YOUR wife? with your children? Does your happiness come before your families?? Is it really worth the destruction that your causing??not only to them.. but to your soul as well.. ?? Think about it. please
posted by "Anonymous"

But one thing I do have to ask.. and perhaps you should as well..

Reading this line leads me to think that you feel I have not asked myself any of the questions which follow in your comment. There seems to be an assumption on your part that my decision to come out was made lightly, without much thought for anyone else but myself. Truly, nothing could be further from the truth.

There have been years, years, of struggle for me on all the issues and questions you raise. And still they linger for me. This is no easy thing for me to do.

Are you thinking, “surely if he has asked himself these questions, then he would come to a different conclusion.” In other words, if I have asked myself these questions, then why have I not come to the same conclusion as you? Do you think that your conclusions, your answers are the only ones? Then you have found an answer and are simply trying to find questions to go with them.

Indeed, my decision to come out has been based largely ON these questions, because of my love for my wife and children and concerns for them.

.. You made a vow when you and your 'wife' got married.

First, I do not understand why you have placed quotation marks around “wife.” She is my wife; no need of quotes as if she is not really my wife. No need to put her down. This is not her fault. This is not about her. Yes, I know how greatly is effects her, but it is not because she is anything but the wonderful, loving woman that she is. I’m more than a little bit insulted that you would place marks around her like that.

Yes, my wife and I made vows to one another. And we made them with all sincerity and honesty.
I … take you … to be my wife. To have and to hold from this day forward. For better for worse. For richer for poorer. In sickness and in health. To love and to cherish. Until we are parted by death. This is my solemn vow.

I remember them well. I remember the day well. I felt from the depths of my heart that God was calling me into this marriage. I have no doubt now that that was the truth. Was I dishonest in my entering in to those vows? I do not believe so.

I have struggled with this sense of same sex attraction since I was about 12. But with no frame of reference, no information, I did not even know what was happening. When my first homosexual experience happened to me (and you can read about that, here), I was so devastated and lost. With no way to process it, to talk it out with someone, I had no where to turn but to God. And I did.

Close to the brink of deep depression (or worse), I asked God, “If you are real and if you love me, let me know.” And God did. An overwhelming sense of Presence and warmth filled me. I knew that I was loved and that I would “make it”. I would survive and be blessed. And I have been both.

I never dated but once or twice till I was in college. I had a very chaste relationship with a girl there, but it was unfulfilling. I was so inattentive, so emotionally unavailable. It was terrible for both of us. Through college, graduate school into my mid twenties, still I dated almost none. Still I was attracted to men. Still I had similar sexual encounters with men, always anonymous, faceless, purely physical, brief encounters.

When a man’s sexuality is awakening, he turns to others for help. If too shy or isolated for that, he can learn some things (however poorly) from television, from the culture around him, from watching others, from books or magazines. He can do all that if he is straight.

But if he is gay, if he feels that pull to other men that is different, then where can he go to learn about building healthy relationships? To whom can he turn to understand the wonders of his body, his mind, and his spirit as they blossom into that marvelous image of God in which he is made? How or where can a young man learn about being gay, or be around other gay men?

Today, there are some options, in some places. In 1970 or so, it was a different story. Where do you learn? Porn. “Adult bookstore” (in this case, somewhat of an oxymoron). Looking for love in all the wrong places. And you learn all the wrong things.

From this perverse training we learn that being gay is all about sex, lots of sex, seedy, dirty, empty sex. Is it any wonder that I (and many gay men) deal with such self-loathing? We are trained and taught in all the wrong ways to hate ourselves and what we do.

Surely this is wrong, I thought. I’m a selfish sinner. I must conquer this. I must pray, and pray. Dear God, change me, heal me. Make me someone else. Take this away from me. I try, I strain, I sweat. I ache. This is hell.

Why did I marry? Why did I even seek to marry? With several years of therapy, trying to repair me, I thought I would get better. I thought it was just a problem with relationships. I’m just running away from them by using this perverse sexual behavior to throw me off balance. But God kept pursuing me.

Maybe I am using this to get God to leave me alone? In Katzanzakis novel The Last Temptation of Christ, Jesus wants to make sure God will leave him alone, so Jesus uses his carpentry skills to become a cross builder for the Romans. I thought I was there, too.

This is turning into far too much. And yet I feel it is all part of my story. If “anonymous” never reads it, at least it has helped me articulate some things. Perhaps it will help others, too. I will write more later.

Grace & Peace to all, Joe.


Gel said...

yeah, annonymous had their purpose, its lanced something. You're ok mate. And God has you in his hand.

CanEragon said...

Bravo... I am totally speechless. Truer words were never spoken by someone as eleoquent as you, and yes, you nailed it right on the head. What is love? And how do we find it, and where do we find it, that took me almost 37 years to figure out. I know God speaks through you and has shown you humanity in its rawest form. Those you love must be blessed to have you in their lives. Such insight can only come from a true experience of Gods great love and mercy. Things that mere mortal "anonymous" people may never experience, but never say never right?

Each day you amaze me with your wisdom and inner beauty as a man of love and a man of God. A breath of fresh air in a world full of smog! Bless you my friend. I hope we can put this to bed now. Let's get on with the living of life as we were meant to be. I love that thought about doing "something" so God would leave us alone. I SO GET THAT !! How true those words. (That is wisdom - that even I could not have spoken!)

Keep walking my warrior friend, we are following you.

God loves you and so do I.

Blessings on your head

somebody else said...

This is articulation of the wonderful kind. Even if "anonymous" never reads these posts, you got the chance to process these thoughts and we got the good fortune to read them.

Love and God bless, as you walk this difficult path...