Monday, June 11, 2007

Where is God?

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 disju
nct 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 a
nd 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 que
stion 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 t
he 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.


Le Mec said...

Wow. Thanks for posting these thoughts, Caspian. I really relate to your frustration and feelings in church. Although I think most of the time I am not asking where God is but am ignoring him or hoping he isn't looking. Kinda like an old pen pal. Still, I have faith that he is there and loves me and that I just need to turn my life over to him and he'll take care of it. Somehow I just can't seem to let go.

Brady said...

Wow, that's a cool story. I've also felt more reassured in the church lately - and despite my propensity to complain about my lot in life, I feel as you do that I will have an empty side no matter what I choose. And in that case, I might as well take the side that promises a purpose in life and some form of reward at the end.

My personal decision to be faithful in the church is based not on logic or reasoning or hormones, but on a simple hope for something better.

playasinmar said...

I think God doesn't give us answers if we already know the answer.

pinetree said...

God is tough to figure out sometimes. I really liked your hourglass analogy. I hope you are doing well.

Distinguishing Preoccupation said...

Brady, I wouldn't go so far as to say that I feel any more reassurance about the Church now than I have in some time. I feel really frustrated with it all. Whats more is that you know as well as I, that simply living off of blind faith that you might receive a reward based on a supposed purpose in life will not give you that reward. I mean, only real faith will bring that just reward. I have to know it's true, not just take the route that seems safer...

Playa, I don't think I KNOW any answer here and I get the feeling that God is just toying with me sometimes... I mean, he leads me to make peace with being gay and all, and then really leaves me no answers as to how to react to the Church and then taunts me with this random experience only to really tell me nothing more than, "I am here." But I think I already knew that. I dunno... I should be glad that God is talking to me, but I just end up getting more frustrated because when He does this I have no sense of inspiration or peace. Perhaps I should just say, "Thanks for acknowledging that I exist."

Brady said...

You're right, and I get frustrated at times too. Sorry if I came across as preachy, I have a tendency to do that lately. I'm working on it (apparently unsuccessfully).

I've wondered a lot too about whether there is a way to "know it's true." I mean, if we knew it was true then what would be the purpose and need for faith? And does faith without absolute assurance have to be classified as "blind faith?"

And I completely agree with and understand what you mean when you say that believing in a reward does not actually guarantee it. In fact, the chances are probably really really small that the reward actually exists as we believe. But even still, isn't a 'one in a million' chance better than no chance at all?

gentlefriend said...

I, too, have times when life gets bland and confusing and then a feeling or an incident suggests that God is saying to me: "Hey, remember me? I am still here. I still love you."

I am able to cope with those times of feeling empty or confused or left all alone by letting go of my existential pain and focusing on what I can do to help someone feel cared for or needed. Losing myself in nurturing others has helped me rediscover my inner worth.

I experience boring three hour blocks very often. I get through them by looking around for someone who seems alone or troubled. Whether it be an elderly person or a teen or a child, to see his or her face light up makes my day!

For me life is hard and full of questions without answers, but it is also full of opportunities and little precious moments such as a brief embrace of the Spirit or a smile I helped bring on another's face.

A few minutes ago I was feeling blah so I turned to the computer and clicked on your blog, read through your shared feelings. I resonated with your doubts and fears and came in touch with feelings I just expressed.

I feel better now. My existential questions are still there. But your are still there also. Thanks!

Waterfalls said...

Hey There, I just got your comment from back in May. Thanks for you kind words. I was hoping you wouldn't mind if I link to your blog.

gaydad said...

I hate to see pain in anyone, myself included. I know that each of our paths is unique, but I was right where you were a few years ago. Dirt biking, surfing, riding, balls out Dad of really cool kids. Returned Miss, temple married HP. I never dreamed I was gay, much less thought anything of my heritage could be anything but all I need to know about the world.

I'm curious to see where you go, and how you get yeah I'm hooked on your blog.

I got the kids and the marriage and they are my best friends and are amazing. I got to go on my journey with them and their Mom. ( She just got engaged to my missionary companion this weekend, I'm happy, but a bit sad, and feeling protective, yet not necessarily needed anymore ...and THAT'S pretty hard) But anyway, I wasn't alone, but until we all (kids and former wife)let go and let God (trite, sorry, but true) it was a very scary painful deal. While I say "let go" I don't mean we didn't have to be totally disciplined, honest and covnant keeping.

The church, TGT the gay thing and all is quite a deal to deal with. I don't think I'll ever quite believe where life has taken us. Hard to believe it could turn out this good, but hard to believe how hard this all was too.

Really hard to watch you, but an anonymous

Jed said...

"If I am in a gay relationship, I will always long to be in the Church and married."

I used to feel this way. It was the thing that kept me going to church for months as I became more and more comfortable with my sexuality. I never imagined that I could have a relationship that rivaled the companionship and love of a wife and family. And now I have Chris, and I can't imagine wanting anything else. It doesn't even occur to me that what we have is less than any heterosexual relationship. I have the foundation for a "marriage" and in many ways I still have the church. And I have the relationship I was always meant to have. Yours might be waiting out there for you Caspian. Great post.

Distinguishing Preoccupation said...

Thanks everyone for their comments, I wonder sometimes if people really read my blog... I guess the answer is yes!
Le Mec:
I don't think that turning one's life over to God means that somehow he just takes care of things. In my experience, God just adds more and more to our task-list and then expects us to perform all the while giving us the necessary tools to accomplish what he wants us to.
Again, going back to what I said about basing faith off of the chance, it's not a "better safe than sorry" scenario with the church. You have to know and believe because if you don't then your faith will not save you. So even if the odds are not in your favor in regards to it being true, the odds really don't matter because you have to KNOW it's true for it to work. Now, I understand that you have to have faith first, but you also, cannot base even the beginnings of faith in chance, you have to believe with your heart. Follow me?
Gentle Friend:
Thanks for your kind words. I agree, helping others really makes a big difference. It feels good to serve others. You're a good soul I can tell from what I've read of you in your blog etc. Thanks
Thanks, feel free to link up or email me to chat sometime.
Gay Dad:
Wow, I cannot even imagine what you are feeling right now! Yeah, being replaced has got to be tough, but by an old companion??? Thats crazy. Funny thing I feel I should mention, I have fallen in love with a girl once. Completely head over heals for her. It's the only time in my life that I ever really wanted to marry anyone. I was on my mission and I baptized her. She married my companion and it broke my heart. It felt so unfair to me because I knew he could have had any girl he wanted, but he had to take the one girl that I fell in love with... It was really hard for me.
I'm really happy for you and Chris. I'm glad that things have worked out for you. My concern is that things won't work out for me in either situation. I don't ever want to feel like I am not being authentic with myself and I want to believe that I can have God very active in my life. As of late, as I expressed, God has been silent and I'm not sure why. I don't want to be godless.

gentlefriend said...

Sometimes, when it seems that God has left me alone, I believe that He is still there, but has taken a few steps up the path and is challenging me to stretch upward. I think of the Carol Lynn Pearson poem, ”The Lesson":

"Yes,my fretting,
Frowning child,
I would cross
The room to you
More easily.
But I've already learned to walk,
So I make you
Come to me.
Let go now--
You see?

Oh, remember
This simple lesson,
And when
In later years
You cry out
With tight fists
And tears-
Oh, help me,
God, please.

Just listen
And you'll hear a silent voice:
I would child,
I would.
But it's you
Not I,
Who needs to try

Sir Robert Chiltern said...

You know, I really enjoy your posts. They're so thoughtful. You've spun me off into a world of thought.