Tuesday, April 10, 2007

To Love a Woman

So it's becoming less and less of a secret. I can't bear to live a double life or rather to feel like I have this looming secret that cannot ever be resolved. Coming out to members of the same party is not such a big deal for me, but when I venture out to connect with the straight world on this particular topic I always get pretty nervous. I know that eventually I will have to completely overcome this fear because how else will true tolerance and understanding ever be achieved if I cannot bridge the gap?

I have a dear friend, whom I have known for just over two and a half years. She is a star through and through. She comes from Europe and I will call her E. She is a BYU-I student, return missionary and is no stranger to hardship. Being alone in the states has been difficult for her on so many levels and I was able to be a friend for her in a place where she has felt so very alone. She is one of those people that you have a soul connection with. If I wasn't gay, I might marry her. [Am I allowed to say that?] There have been a few women that I have known that fit into this soul-friend category. But I could never bring myself to move it from soul-friend to soul-mate. Anyway, all of that is for some future post and for now suffice it to say that E has been one of the dearest friends ever.

After moving away to Provo I to a certain degree lessened communication with her. This was not unique to her though, as I began to deal with one of the most intense struggles of my life I retreated from my social life to discover answers on my own. Of course E became concerned and she could sense that there was a big something that I was withholding from her. Again she was not unique in all of this. She came home with me at Thanksgiving and during her visit she could sense something was deeply bothering me but also knew that there was nothing she could do.

E came and visited me during General Conference weekend. I decided it was time to tell her. Without more prelude and fanfare I'll just say that she took it harder than my parents, my brother or anyone else I've told. She was shocked and had NO clue that this was even coming. I guess I'm not that obvious. I've not tried to hide it from her. I just never directly told her. She cried and cried and sat in denial for an uncomfortably long time. She just looked at me through her green teary eyes and sobbed, I can't believe this! Oh no, no no... I just can't believe this... I don't want this for you! No!
I didn't know what to say. She was devastated and I couldn't help but feel that I had caused her to hurt so much. Throughout the course of the weekend this was obviously a looming topic in our conversations and it was not a pleasant time. She isn't shunning me, but she doesn't want this for me and it is tearing her apart.

On that Sunday she confessed to me through deep sobbs something remarkable. She said:

Caspian, last October when I knew you were going through a difficult time I always made sure to pray for you the same as I pray for everyone else, my family, friends... I just made sure to include you. While I was praying one night though, I had an amazing experience. I saw you for who you are. God moved the mortal veil and showed me your heart, who you are and all of your gifts, potential, capabilities, and who you are destined to be. I cannot even tell you how intimately God showed your spirit to me. But I saw you for you, and I have never ever loved a person as much as I love you because I know you better than you know I know you. I don't want to ever loose you and I don't want this for you. I cannot see that you will never be able to be what God wants for you to be if you act on this. It seems so wrong to me.

Then she began to cry again. I don't know what to say to her. But I feel that she truly knows my soul and loves me unconditionally. I fear that she will allow this to unintentionally stand between us though.

I received an email from her last week that was even more revealing.

Dear Caspian-

I need to share something with you that I did not have the courage to do it when I was there. Maybe you know it and it's not a surprise but it's hard for me to say it. First of all I'm so grateful that your came into my life because you have blessed my life with so much love. Because of who you are without even knowing how, I fell in love with you. I don't know when it happened and how, but it did. Since I said that prayer [last fall] everything changed. I think the Lord gave me that feeling to see more clearly how special you are. I don't know what to say and how to say it. I feel lost but I thought that you have the right to know it. This is what I was trying to say Saturday night when I was talking to you, but I had no words. I'm just speechless. I feel like I'm going through hell right now, but as you said I'll be fine.
I love you more than anything else and if anyone will ever have the desire to marry me he needs to know me the way you do and he needs to love me the way you do. There has never been a guy in my life that has seen me for what I am and has loved and done for more than you have done. You have become my measure for many things in life. You have opened my eyes concerning many issues and you have helped me to see the world from another perspective. My love for you is so deep and I don't want to loose you for any reason in the world. It's not based on the love of a girl for a guy but on divine love. When I was going home I was thinking about us and I don't know how to explain it, but I believe we were meant to be in each other's life. I don't know for what reason but sometime it seems as if I know you for a long long time. Maybe we were friends in premortal life.


I haven't responded to her email and I really ought to. I've talked to her on the phone a few times since then, but there is all this uncomfortable space that wasn't there before. We've not talked about the important stuff either. I feel terrible about it and I wish that, for her anyway, I wasn't gay. E is a remarkable woman and I love her as much as I can, but I cannot bring myself to love her romantically. They say love know no bounds, but I don't know that I completely agree. I love her as the dearest friend in the world, but I could never love her as a boyfriend or a husband. Knowing that makes being gay painful.

In truth there have been 4 women, beautiful both inside and out, that I have loved deeply. I would likely have married all four of them at one time or another were it not for the fact that I am gay. I just cannot move it that one step further. I tried... but it was dishonest, uncomfortable, and always felt deeply wrong.

In contrast to the etymology of the word, being gay can be quite sad sometimes.


iwonder said...

"I love her as the dearest friend in the world, but I could never love her as a boyfriend or a husband. Knowing that makes being gay painful...
"I just cannot move it that one step further. I tried... but it was dishonest, uncomfortable, and always felt deeply wrong."

Tell me about it. If it weren't for that little problem - the problem that makes it nearly impossible for me to even think about marriage, I likely wouldn't have such an issue with this whole thing.

playasinmar said...

Truly, if it weren't for issues we would, none of us, have problems.

It's okay to love her. That's not betrayal. It's okay to be her friend. You wont harm her. But if your intentions aren't romantic is it really love?

You might be interested to know that Aristotle said, "Love is composed of a single soul inhabiting two bodies."

So love it is. Lucky you. :)

Stephalumpagus said...

It's tough, it really is. I wish you the best of luck.

Mary said...

OK, I am old and there are many degrees of separation between us, but I was blogbrowsing and was touched by your friend's feelings. It reminded me of an experience I had years ago on my mission. There was one companion that I loved. It was like a gift. I loved her so unreservedly, with such total acceptance that I thought this must be how Heavenly Father loves his children. I thought, when I find a man I can love like this, I will marry him. It was never romantic or sexual - it seemed bigger than that. Life took us in different directions. She married; I married. We lived continents apart and she died a few years ago. I never did experience that kind of love again.

I cannot identify with your struggles... but there is nothing wrong with platonic love. It is to be embraced and cherished. If this friend truely loves you, she will come to accept who you are and continue to love you.