Saturday, May 5, 2012

A Good Life

Do I have a good life?

Let me think on that for a moment…

I have a roof over my head.  I have more clothes than I really need.  I daily have something to eat and drink.  I have friends and family who love and care about me.  I get to work with children who each day do something joyful and uplifting.  I have two nephews that I absolutely love spending time with.  I usually can find some time during the day for my talents and interests.  I’ve been able to travel many different places.  I have good memories that often flood my mind.

Overall, yes, I would say that I have a good life.

So why have I felt down so much of the time lately?

To begin with, I get tired of being patient.  I have dreams and goals that I am constantly working on and, after awhile, I can get tired of what seems to be a lack of progress toward achieving those things.  Especially on those which have taken years at this point.  For instance, four years ago I decided to go back to school to become a teacher.  I only needed two and half years to graduate, so the last year and a half I’ve been looking for someplace to hire me.  It is a wait that was far from expected when I went back to school.  In the meantime, I have been substitute teaching, worrying that every little move I make will be looked at badly somehow by the very people who could potentially hire me.  Little to say, this has been stressful.

I have also been coping with the loss of my grandma.  Everything in the last few months has been a first without her—the first Christmas, New Years, falling snow, Easter, spring, summer.  It is hard experiencing so many things without her when she was such a huge part of those things before.  She lived right across the road from us, and so every time I look out front of the house it has been difficult.  We’ve been to her house many times as well to take out her belongings.  I keep expecting her to show up any minute to look out the door and wave hello or goodbye to us.  I keep expecting to see her go to the mailbox, or walk her dog in the yard, or come across the road to do a little gardening.  When we’re in her house, I keep expecting to see her come around each corner or to say something from the next room.  And I’m reminded of all those many times I saw and heard her do those things.  I miss my grandma terribly.  And I keep wondering if she knew what was happening at the end.  How much pain was she in?  Did she know it was going to be the end of her life?  Did she have hope?  What was going through her mind?  Was there anything she still needed or wanted to tell us before she went?  Is she in Heaven?  What if Heaven really doesn’t exist and everything she was is now gone forever?

I’d give everything and then some to have her back.

And then I’ve struggled with some of my religious beliefs lately.  I really don’t think I believe it’s wrong for people to be in homosexual relationships anymore.  My mind isn’t completely made up on the matter, but the more I look at it, the more I’m convinced that the arguments against homosexuality are severely loosely based.  When you put everything together, it all just comes across so much more like a series of misunderstandings and prejudice than anything else.  Why would God mind if I fell in love with another man, chose to live with him the rest of my life, to share everything of my life with him, including my sexuality?  What is so wrong with that?

You know, I hear people so much of the time try to devalue homosexual relationships.  I think that’s wrong.  If they’re sinful, then they’re sinful.  That’s all, and that’s all that should be said if that’s true.  But to say that no two men can love each other like that, that no two men could have a healthy life together, that no two men could actually produce something together through sexual means (to achieve a stronger bond, level of affection, love, and commitment for each other), I think it’s all just shameful.  Do we say that all heterosexual relationships are wrong because of prostitution, drug use, open marriages, premarital sex, or divorce?  No.  We say that each of those things individually is bad, but we never use those things as reasons to devalue and demoralize all of a particular type of relationship.  So, why do so many do that when it concerns homosexual relationships?  Not all homosexuals are just out for sex alone.  Believe it or not, some of us actually do want A RELATIONSHIP.  Sex would only be a part of such a thing, but not the entirety of it.

I’m just tired of feeling different all the time.  I want to be able to do what everyone else does.  I don’t want to hide who I am, or be afraid of people knowing me.  I want to go on dates and be romantic every once in a while.  It’d be nice to have a steady boyfriend even.  I’m just so sick of the course I’ve been on.  I don’t want to do it anymore.  I’m so physically, emotionally, and even spiritually exhausted from it.

I’m gay.  I didn’t ask to be, I’ve never wanted to be, but I just am.  It is something that encompasses a large part of my personality and how I interpret and view the world.  It’s not something I can just turn off, like the flick of a switch, or hide, as if I’m some sort of freak.  I’ve tried doing that and it just doesn’t work.  I can’t make it work.  And, frankly, I don’t want it to work because if it did I’d no longer be me.

Isn’t this what Jesus’ mission was all about though?  We can try and try and try, and fail and fail and fail on our own, and never make things right.  But with Jesus, He makes it right even when we can’t.  We’re not given an open license to sin, but when we just can’t make a go of it on our own, God understands.  That’s the whole reason Jesus’ death was so important, so that we could be offered a means of forgiveness that isn’t dependent upon ourselves, or what actions we’re able to do, but dependent upon God and what He is able and willing to do for us.  God knew we just couldn’t do it on our own.  Right now, I don’t think I can do what I’ve been doing anymore.  I can’t keep hiding who I am, pretending I don’t like what I like, and killing myself little by little in the process.  If God’s going to accept me, He’s just going to have to accept also that I’m gay.  If He wants me to be something different then He’s going to have to send down some sort of lightning bolt or something, because nothing I’ve done has worked.

I’m so angry all the time.  Really, if I had to describe how I’ve felt lately, these are the words I’d use: angry, lonely, worried, sad, afraid, bitter, confused.  To be honest, this is one of the worst bouts of depression I’ve ever felt, and it’s lasted about the longest.  I feel very confused.  I’m angry and frustrated that certain things are the way they are.  I’m sad at the loss of certain things.  I’m worried, scared, and hopeless seeing what options seem to be presented for my future.  And I’m just so tired.

A few days ago I asked a friend if he’d want to be my boyfriend.  It was the first time in my life I ever asked someone out like that.  Anytime I was ever with anyone before, it either just happened or they asked me first.  This time I did the asking.  I wasn’t surprised when he turned me down.  Nor was I surprised by how gentle and nice he was in doing so.  But I was and am a little disheartened by the rejection.  I’m okay though because I know we’ll still be good friends, and I value our friendship too much to let something like this ruin it.  The possibility of us being together, and the drive to want to love him in such a way, though, just consumed me to the point that I had to ask him.  I was drawn to him because of how great his friendship has been to me.  I think he is such a great person in my life, and I honestly can’t think of anyone better to be with.  If I were to ever be in a relationship, I would hope it would be with someone like him, built on such a great level of friendship, love, and common interests.

And in all of this and more I’ve just felt so withdrawn from everyone.  Some of this has been unwanted, but some of it, too, has been forced.  I just haven’t felt the strength to be around anyone much. 

A friend wrote to me on my facebook page a few days ago that it really was time for me to update it.  I took his advice and decided to do so.  This began a conversation between the two of us, and also began two other conversations with friends I hadn’t talked to for awhile now.  The new status also got a few likes.  What my friend did was humble me out of a state of isolationism, which I’ll thank him for.  It was a blessing.

I’ve been told by people before that I need to break out of my shell more.  I know I guard my privacy more than I should.  And when I’m feeling down I tend to converge within myself and just totally keep myself in a state of seclusion.  Then I whine around thinking I don’t have friends or people who want to be around me, when in reality I do.

I know, overall, I do have a good life.  A lot of things are really good.  And I do have a lot of things to look forward to.  But I know I just really want and need for certain things to be different.  I want to work to make things different.  And when it comes to relationships, I really don’t want to care anymore if it happens to be with another man.  In all the vastness of everything, I really just don’t think that it matters.  If it does, then I trust God will lead me to a better understanding of it all.  And in whatever I do, I will continue to seek out His wisdom and guidance.


naturgesetz said...

Brandon, God does accept that you're gay. As with every other fact in our lives, the question is what to do next. It seems to me that you are right to want to stop hiding. There may be a middle ground between hiding and coming out — a position of just being yourself rather than doing, or not doing, things because you're afraid of what other people will think.

I'll say, as I have before, that it is at least possible to have a loving relationship without sexual activity. There is certainly nothing wrong with that. As for sexual activity, I'm sure you know all the arguments, and I hope you're praying for guidance in forming your conscience on the question. So I'm not going to try to convince you.

What it comes down to is being yourself, being the person God loves and always has loved. Being yourself doesn't mean doing whatever you feel like. For example, parents have to give up the things they might do in their free time, so they can care for their children. But you don't have to pretend to be something you aren't, and you have a right to love and to accept the love of others.

I think that asking your friend if he wanted to be your boyfriend was both brave and sensible. I hope the friendship will continue to be strong. It is part of being yourself. Updating your facebook page is another part — small, perhaps, but still a part.

Losing your grandma is something that can't be changed, of course. But after you get past all the "first times without her," you can expect that the pain of the loss will slowly diminish, while the love and memory never die.

So hang in there, keep the faith, and be yourself.

God bless you.


naturgesetz said...

The second of the three readings at Mass today was 1 John 3:18-24. I thought of you when I heard the reader proclaim, "Beloved, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence in God."

The whole letter is good reading. It's all about God loving us and us loving God and living in love, which Jesus tells us are the two greatest commandments.