Monday, June 11, 2007
I woke up Sunday morning at 3:00. It had been a rough Saturday and I was feeling a bit out of sorts. I was not in a good place mentally. My mind had been reeling all night long in my sleep and I had little peace.
Choices. I was exhausted mentally and physically. My whole body hurt and I could hardly conceive making good choices for my life while feeling so displaced. Surrounded by darkness. What woke me up? Something familiar. A song. I could hear a song. Beautiful. Angles in a place so far from heaven? No, not a song. A hymn. I was mournfully reminded that far too much time had passed since last feeling the voice of angles in my heart. Where has inspiration gone? Why do I get the feeling that God hears my prayers and responds with a simple "Thats nice, thanks for sharing." I had not been to Church in nearly two months and it has been nearly a year or more since I really felt anything worthwhile in church anyway. Where did God go and why did he leave me without answers? And why on some random Sunday morning did he decide to visit me in my worried sleep?
Perhaps then, God is reaching out to me. I decided to go to church. I canceled my Sunday plans and got ready to go. I cannot describe the disjunct I still feel there. Maybe I don't want God to give me answers. Then again, I can't imagine there being a satisfactory answer to all of this anyway. There will always be this empty place in my heart. I've made peace with being gay. I understand that I have unique perspective because of my experience as a result of my homosexuality. Not that my homosexuality has gifted me with inherent perspective, but rather that everything from my reparitive therapy experience, to rebuilding my relationship with my parents, to struggling with the church, to coming out to some, to loosing myself esteem and regaining it despite my imperfect life... All of it has shaped who I am. But I cannot live my life without revisiting the sorrow for that which will never be.
I have lied to myself by saying that I don't want to get married and have children. Like the Fox and the Grapes, I say to myself, "I didn't really want those grapes anyway." Certainly there are some benefits to living the single life. I am responsible to no one but myself. I am free to come and go. I can build my life around my own routines and set my own goals independently. But I won't deny that there are somethings that I could gain from having a traditional marriage and I sorrow that it will never be. I will never be accepted legitimately by most of the LDS world being single or in a same-sex relationship. How can I ever expect to feel comfortable in the LDS church when everything is so focused on marriage and family -something I am quite confident will never happen for me.
Why does homosexuality even exist? Perhaps this is an unfair question for me to ask God. If the Church is indeed true, then how come I have so many problems with it? If the Church is true, then why must I not be able to have this ONE thing, the most basic fundamental part of Mormon doctrine fulfilled for me? I understand that there are some people in the Church who don't suffer with homosexuality that never get married, but it's ABSOLUTELY going to be impossible for me to get happily married and stay happily married as I see it now. I've taken a break from complaining about being gay for several months, but I'm revisiting my sorrow for feeling that I've been gypped in life.
I know, I know... everything gets worked out in the Millennium. It's the best doctrine the church ever came up with, because if they don't have an answer, they just shift it all over to the Millennium as if it would wet my mouth just enough to promise quenching refreshment in this desert of a life.
I know that some people will always be denied certain blessings in life. My father will never have a father. He comes from a broken home and his father(s) have done nothing for him. He can hardly make it through the movie Frequency without going to pieces. Anything father-son oriented breaks his heart because he never had a father. That piece will always be missing for him and nothing he does will ever fill that void. Some people are wheelchair bound and will never experience a romantic relationship, and no matter what they do, they will always be stuck in their situation. Even if they make peace with being handicapped, they will still be single and that will always prick their hearts. I'm not debating trials in general, but as for me, I feel like I am a whole person and why shouldn't I fulfill my void if it is something I can fill? Or is it like an hourglass and shifting sand from one side to the other will still, always leave an empty side. If I am in a gay relationship, I will always long to be in the Church and married. If I am in the Church (married or not) I will still always feel cheated in life that I am not fulfilling my orientation.
Maybe I am just blaming the Church right now because I have no one else to blame for my frustration and God doesn't seem to react when I shout to him, but the Church will.
Fast and Testimony meeting was lame. There were the usual show-off self-proclaimed holy men and the overly analogous women mixed in with a couple heartfelt sentiments every now and again. Sunday school was dominated by facts without relevance. Priesthood meeting was well scripted as it consisted of a good hour of manual reading with intermittent opinion. The only thing that seemed to hold any relevance to anything was the closing hymn -which happened to be the very hymn that woke me up at 3:00 that morning.
I used to believe that I could accomplish anything that I put my mind and heart to. I am not the most gifted student, but I believed that I could work hard and earn good grades. I worked my tail off and over the course of two years of school I was able to maintain a 3.75 GPA. I wanted to travel over seas. I saved my money up and was able to live in a remote country in a place where few foreign visitors ever travel. I studied a foreign language. I took a challenging job. I stretched my musical abilities and was competitive and was awarded a scholarship. I involved myself in leadership and service activities and took on anything that challenged me. I problem-solved and always found a solution. I had little spare money but I was able to always find a creative way to make my ends meet. I was completely active in church. I was a leader. I relied on prayer and faith that I could change anything in my life. I was in complete control. I had my "big secret" that I was gay, but I believed that I could also change that. I followed all of the textbook counsel from the Church on how to change and cope with being LDS and gay. I joined Evergreen. I was devout and read my scriptures endlessly. I was a leader in my LDS peer group and was seen as the "example." I even went so far as to set my phone alarm to go off twice a day every day during times when I knew I would be able to stop everything and pray. I believed that if I could prove to God that I was devout he would heal me. I fully believed that I had the ability to change everything and anything in my life that I wanted to. I really believed that if I could show God how committed I was to the Church and "choosing the right" that he would take away my homosexuality or at least put it to rest so that I could fall in love with a woman and get married.
However everything in last fall came crashing down when I realized that there was nothing within my power to change my sexual orientation and that God really didn't intend to change my orientation. The one thing that I wanted to change more than anything, I realized, was in fact, an inherent part of the life that God created. [By that I mean, God intended this to be part of my mortal experience] I learned that there are many things that I just will have to live with and that I cannot change. It was a traumatic realization for me. All of my life goals and aspirations came into question as a result of this paradigm shift. This realization caused me to loose hope.
But I didn't give up on life and I learned some valuable lessons from this experience. I learned to not stress out about life when it comes at me full force. Things happen to people and sometimes there is nothing that can be done about it. And in many ways this was a healthy change for me and my paradigm. I learned that painful experience is just part of life and that I was not meant to white-knuckle my way through life but rather make peace with life and be positive. I became less pessimistic about life and for the first time I began to open my eyes to the reality of my mortal life. It was a positive change for me.
However, yesterday I had a bit of an epiphany about how I've changed. I realized that in the process of making peace with my life that I now look at life as destiny as a living, breathing, entity with its own agenda that I cannot control nor manipulate. I believed that my life really was beyond my control.
Essentially, I had been successful at so many things and had made so many changes in my life. Yet the one thing that I felt I needed to change, I could not change. I felt, in essence, like I had failed. Suddenly I realized that I was not as invincible to failed attempts at life choices and situations and I became terrified of failure again. I lost all desire, began to fail classes, and eventually withdrew from school; afraid that I would ruin my hard earned GPA. I began to question my life mission and nearly decided to settle for a mediocre life.
Things have gone really well over the last month or two and I have finally felt the return of many of my goals that I had lost. I am feeling more motivated, but not only do I have fear of failure, but also of success. Like I said, I used to believe that I could succeed in anything and I was pretty successful because of that belief. Knowing that I cannot achieve everything I set out to achieve makes me hesitant toward pro-activity when facing challenging situations and trials. It's easy for me to say, "Oh well, I couldn't help that things went this way or that... It's not my fault that I felt that way..." It's this false belief that "life happens to me" rather than "I'm in control of my life." I suppose then the truth is that there is probably a balance and harmony between the two. I just need to know how to find that balance.
I understand that I am the master of my own ship and that there is a thin balance between what I can control and cannot. It makes accountability very difficult because I must question how much control I have in any given situation. Obviously I cannot hold myself accountable for being gay. It's not my fault and I refuse to guilt myself for it. God intended me to have this in my life and I have a good life. I guess the question is then, how do I know what is in my power to control and what is not. Am I held accountable for deciding that I am done with repairative therapy? Is giving up on that a sin? I don't feel guilty for a lot of things I do because I don't let myself feel guilty. I know that guilt is a terrible motivation to accomplish something, but why work at something that you believe you have no control over. It's a gray area and I really don't even know if I am articulating what I am feeling. To sum it up, I don't know how much of my life I have control over and that which I do have control over I am afraid of failure or afraid of convincing myself into believing I can succeed only to find that I cannot.