Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Post 102: Apologies, Friends, Church, and Family--My Life at the Moment

I want to apologize for my last post. It’s not one that I really wanted to write. I’d been considering it for some time, purposefully putting it off, and then in a moment of loneliness, feeling sorry for myself, and frustrated, I penned the note and published it on here for all to see. And I asked a question that, really, I already knew in my heart but didn’t want to accept, and am still having trouble accepting.

I’m not ready to accept that I’ll never be with another man. And the reason for that is because I know to accept it means that I’m accepting a life without a partner. It means I’ll be accepting a future I really don’t want. I don’t want to grow old all alone. I don’t want to always live alone, or only with family. I want my own family. And it hurts me knowing that there is someone out there who I love so strongly, who I’d like to share the rest of my life with, to build a life with, but that I know I can’t be with.

I no longer hold any illusions that I’ll someday find a woman, fall in love, get married, have kids, and live happily ever after as a heterosexual male. I feel foolish for ever having believed this. It’s not that I think it can’t happen, but that I really don’t think I want it bad enough to ever see it happen. I don’t want that sort of life. The idea of having a wife doesn’t seem like such a great prospect at all to me. It seems more like a burden—not only for myself, but to whomever my wife would be. I’m afraid of it, to be quite truthful. I don’t think I’d ever be able to connect with a wife the way a husband should. And as far as kids are concerned, I just want to make it clear that I really do love kids. My nephews, for instance, have brought me so much joy in life. They’ve been a blessing beyond anything else. But I really don’t think I ever want to have kids of my own. I worry I’d just screw up their lives, or that I wouldn’t be able to be a dad to them in the way they’d need, and, frankly, I believe this world is so harsh that I want no part of responsibility bringing another being into it.

I know I can do a lot of good by not being with anyone—male or female. I think about the Apostle Paul and how remaining celibate allowed him to do more things he’d not have been able to do, perhaps, had he had a family to have to take care of. He was free, in a sense, to do other things. I try to keep that in mind. And I try to keep in mind that I don’t want to be responsible for my friend, the one I mentioned in my previous post, falling into sin. As Sweeney pointed out to me, or caused me to see more clearly, this life is short, eternity is forever, and I’d much rather be with my friend in Heaven, for all eternity, than to gain a husband for a few short years here on earth.

I whine around too much on this blog, and I’m sorry for that. I hope you’ll forgive me. It’s just that this blog is almost entirely my only means of communicating the thoughts that I’ve shared with you. If I didn’t write about such things on this blog, I’d only be bottling everything up all the time. So, I thank you for putting up with me.

I hope you’ll be willing to bear with me a bit more though.

I’ve not been in church for a long time now. I think Mother’s Day was the last time I went, Easter before that, and then only a few weeks running around Christmas. I’ve not gone to church regularly now for about a year.

This bothers me.

I quit going to church for many reasons. One reason was due to childishness, as my friend Erik suggested, and I believe was right to say so. I didn’t like the way I was being treated, so I decided to run away and go play alone in my own sandbox—as he put it. To a very large extent, I got tired of trying and putting up with others at my church, and so I left. I allowed my frustrations and anger and bitterness at them to well up within me and cause me to just give up on them, and to a larger extent, the church itself. I’ve not been very forgiving for some of the things done to me, even the things that were probably just misunderstandings on my part. But another reason is that I got tired of seeing others being mistreated as well. Last summer, one of the youth at my church announced he was gay (which was quite literally a surprise to me), and the way everyone responded to him made me sick, to say the least. And it saddened me, because I realized if I shared my own struggles, the people I’d spent my whole life going to church with would treat me the same as they did him—I finally knew what would happen if I actually came out to more people at church. I knew already what had happened when I came out to my preacher; he wouldn’t have anything to do with me, except to ignore me, put me down, and act like a total… well, let me refrain from name calling, but just say that he treated me like crap. And then I saw how not only him, but the rest of the congregation as well, treated this young teenager like crap. They did nothing to help him. And I saw how they did nothing to help a few other people with some of their problems.

I’ve felt so much anger, and at people I hate feeling this way about. I care about them, but they’ve shown me that they care so little about me. I mean, here it’s been several months since I’ve been in church and not a single person has checked up on me. It’s like they don’t miss me at all, like I wasn’t even wanted in the first place. And now I’m left wondering what to do. I think I should go to church somewhere, but I don’t know where. I’ve heard others talk about how their churches are, I’ve been to some of them, and it’s just like none of them are any better. So, should I go back to my church? I really don’t know. And then again, I’ve been having doubts about what I believe in. I’m not sure what I believe. I have one friend who’s been telling me about Catholicism, and I have to admit I like and agree with a lot of things he has taught me about Catholic doctrine. But I don’t agree with everything he’s told me. I’m not sure I know what doctrine I believe in to even know what church to go to. And maybe that’s not the most important thing anyway. Maybe Christians get too caught up in doctrine when they should be focusing more on the basics, rather than the little details. There again, sometimes the devil’s in those little details.

So, where does that leave me?

On top of all that, I’ve lost my job this year, friends, most of the support or encouragement of my parents (who refuse to help me as well—on practically anything), my counselor, and almost any feeling that God is intervening in my life at all. And to be honest, I feel angry and confused with him as well. I did everything I thought He wanted me to do, that I felt led to do (and for that matter not to do), and I can’t see how any of it made any difference in anyone’s life. If anything, I think things are worse off. I don’t understand how God could allow the church, what should be a place of refuge, hope, strength and salvation to become something of the complete opposite. And I don’t understand what purpose it’s served me, or others, to go through some of the things I’ve gone through. I know I’m nobody to be questioning the ways of God, but I do question what God wants of me. What is my purpose?

Erik reminded me also that church isn’t always about getting something in return. It’s also about giving to others and serving God. This is something that I largely felt I had been doing, but got discouraged with when I truly needed help and nobody was there for me in return. It’s like somebody getting their arm cut off in church and everybody just looking at that person and doing nothing to help stop the bleeding. After three years of asking for help, I think I just finally bled out.

And I wonder how my preacher and others can make comments like they don’t understand why people leave the church. This baffles me. When people come to the church expecting it to live up to its words, to do the things it’s supposed to do, and then they find that not to be the case, it’s disheartening and disillusioning. People don’t want what isn’t real. I don’t want what isn’t real. I either want the real thing, or I don’t want it at all.

I want to ask anyone who reads this post to please pray for me to find a good church to go to. I want to be in church again, to be with other Christians, praising God, doing good for others, and being filled with the Spirit. So, please pray for me about this.

I just feel stuck right now. It’s like everything I’d worked for at church, at work, at home, with everything has fell apart. And I feel powerless to do anything about any of it. I didn’t want to leave my church, but I felt like I couldn’t make a difference there, and just almost had to leave. I tried to reach out and nobody ever reached back. I tried to get involved and was always pushed aside and pushed out. I worked so hard at work to do a good job and the people I worked for evidently couldn’t have cared less. I made all sorts of improvements, never caused anybody any trouble, and it’s like that didn’t matter (If I’d slept around with someone’s wife, stole money from the register, and/or blown up the place I’d probably still be employed right now). I give and give and give to my family and have done all I can do for them and it’s like it’s never enough. And from all three, if I ever ask/ed for anything in return it was like I was asking for somebody to cut off their arm or something. I mean, it’s not like I ever ask much out of anybody. But when something comes up that I desperately need help from someone, I’d have thought or hoped that that help could be returned from time to time—especially when I’d so willingly offered/given it myself.

Take my parents, for example. My dad knows all the things that have happened concerning me at church. Has he tried to help me any—talk to my preacher, defend me, back my ideas? No. Has my mom helped me with anything concerning being back in school? No. Here she is a teacher, went to school only about fifteen years ago, knows a lot of the stuff I’ve needed help with (I’m becoming a teacher too), but she won’t help me with anything. Both of my parents want to pretend that I’m not gay, which is of no help to me whatsoever. I can’t talk with them. Dad keeps leaving little hints that I should try to get with this girl or that one, and mom is currently doing all she can to get the daughter of one of her friends interested in me, which is just a nightmare I don’t need at all right now, or want, but tell her that. And the list could go on and on, but I think I’ve proven my point. There’s just no support.

And so there’s where I’m at. As I already said, I’m sorry to be spilling all of this out to everyone, but it’s either do it on the blog or bottle it all up and go insane, so I chose the blog. Hopefully next time I’ll have something better to write about.