Picking up the Pieces

I want to continue the conversation of Saturday’s post.

The analogy I used for finally accepting my place in this journey was to “burn it down”. A better one would have been to “let it collapse”. I mean this to say, I had to separate the mess I had made of myself, and collect what was left of who I really was. I had to pick up those pieces.

After I had reached a place where I could accept the uncertainty of my future, and begin to look at my sexuality as a “discovery” and not a “struggle”, I was able to reach the refuge of peace.

But there was one moment- A defining moment- I will never forget this.

For several days I had poured over theology for and against homosexuality, in addition to testimonials from happily married gay folks, celibate gay men and ex-gay individuals.

It was an honest attempt to be more informed. It really was.

If I was going to one day make a decision about something that so intimately ties into my faith, I wanted to have all the available evidence before me to make an informed decision. It may seem a bit silly since I am no where near ready or willing to settle down into any type of domesticated lifestyle. But for some reason, I needed to be moving towards… something.

I struggled with giving up the game plan. I wanted what others around me took so easily for granted- the pursuit of happiness. My friends knew what that looked like for them. They would talk about what they were looking for in a spouse, how many kids they wanted, where they wanted to live, and whether they would get dogs or cats.

I couldn’t let myself hope for anything.

I didn’t want to entertain the idea of settling down with another guy, because I wasn’t sure whether that was a sin or not, or whether that was what I even wanted.

I couldn’t bear thinking about a life of celibacy with all of its loneliness and stag holiday parties.

I couldn’t bring myself to the electric chair of ex gay therapy. The writing seemed to be written on the wall for that route.

So I sat. No I walked. Backwards. Ten steps backwards.

I think the medical definition for what I experienced was cognitive dissonance.

In a flash I would know that I wanted to pursue a partnership. It just made sense and having realized that, I relaxed a bit.

Suddenly- no, I couldn’t do that. There’s still too much muddiness in the scriptures to figure out what God’s best was for me. And could I really see myself happy with another dude? It seemed so foreign and strange to me.

So I settled upon celibacy. It is, after all, one of the highest honors in the Bible, and it frees me from chains of the domestic life. I could do anything I wanted without a family holding me back.

A few seconds later I would start to imagine what my first kid would look like. How I would hold him or her in my arms for hours. And suddenly, I couldn’t give that up.

So ex-gay seemed to be the only way. Well- if it worked- it would make it more likely that I could find a wife and be a part of a traditional family.

But I don’t think I could support something that has resulted in countless suicides. Nor would I want to set aside several years of my life to essentially wage war against myself. There was no way.

And oh how the tears rained down again. I turned down the lights, laid on my bed and blew the balloons for my own private pity party.

A little later, dizzy from my mind’s pinball games- I set out for the same spot where I had my “I am not like them” night with God. I leaned up against the same tree and looked out across the lake in my backyard. Having calmed myself, I spoke straightforward with Him.

“You’re my whole life. There’s so much more than I can see. You say you want me to have all of the joy on this side of heaven. I don’t know what you mean by that. What are the best joys? What do you want me to do? I could pursue a relationship or celibacy or reparative therapy. Just tell me what you want me to do.”

After about a half an hour of silence and ripping at the grass, something happened. A simple three worded response began to ripple through my heart, as if the Almighty had just dropped it in. At first I dismissed it as a simple thought of the head, not necessarily God. But as I continued to pray, it to took up more and more space in my mind.

“Embrace the tension”

So simple.

In that moment I started to look at my three options differently. They weren’t right before me, they were… somewhere else… in the distance perhaps. But what was before me, what I stood on the precipice of, was a faithful discovery. It would be a time teaching, I would learn more about myself and get a stronger clutch on Christ.

The confusion and questions I had were honorable to God. I think that when I went to him and to His Words for the answers, he felt me wrestle with him, he felt me struggle to see his face. We grew closer and closer as I desperately desired the answer.

And how strange it was when I realized that the answer to my question was to keep questioning. Keep searching. Keep looking for Him.

Embrace the tension.