Breathe in the Love

8 02 2014

I was fortunate to have pretty easy labor and deliveries of all three of my kids. Don’t get me wrong, it was still the worse pain that I have ever gone through, but fortunately for me it was a short duration. Of the three deliveries of my most precious children, my son was by far the easiest. I wouldn’t even say there was a lot of pain. I had my first child twenty eight minutes after arriving at the hospital. To say that I was paranoid my son, my second child, would be born at home or in the car, would be an understatement. One morning I felt a sharp pain and then some contractions. We jumped into the car and headed to the hospital. You can probably guess that I was not really in labor.

It was ten days before my due date and since my sonograms showed that I was having a girl, apparently girls do better if born early than boys, my OB/GYN decided to induce labor that morning. They started the drugs. Then an hour after that they broke my water. Fifteen minutes later I was holding a screaming red-faced little boy. We were told the screams of “It’s a boy!” were heard all over the hospital. We were thrilled to have a boy in the family.

If I close my eyes, I can still faintly remember the smell of that brand new baby. There is something about love that involves all of our senses. I remember the smell of my Grandma’s house. It always smelled like love to me. During those years, when my children were small, I would come in from work so excited to see them. I would burst through the front door and they would run to greet me. I remember the feeling of their arms around my neck and I would just breathe them in as we hugged. It was like no matter what had transpired while we were apart, we were now back together and all was well with the world.

I often say that I did not know my son was queer. That is not entirely true. I can remember glimpses, as he was growing up, when a question would pop into my mind. I can still remember that paralyzing fear that would follow the thought. It was too much. The fear of the possibility that my precious son would be something that I had been taught and also believed myself to be perverted, bad, wrong, and broken, that fear was too much. Those words could not possibly be associated with my precious son. My boy was not perverted, he was innocent and pure. My son was not broken, he was fearfully and wonderfully made. At this point in my life, I had no idea that someone could be queer and love God. I thought those were two islands that could never merge. I thought God was just as disgusted by same-sex attraction as I was. I thought my disgust was actually God’s disgust, I falsely believed this based on the bible.

The day came when I had to face my fear. My son is queer. I don’t believe it is in God’s plan for a parent to reject their child. God would never ask that of me. Unfortunately, man asks that of me, the church sometimes asks that of me, but never God. Sometimes we humans mix God all up in misinterpretations of the bible, and legalistic teachings from our churches. As unfortunate as this is, it doesn’t change God. If we stop and step back from all of the opinions out there, take a moment to just wrap our arms around God’s neck and just breathe God in, we will smell love. Pure, unconditional love that is not mixed up with misconceptions or opinions. It is just love, healing accepting pure love, and all is well with the world.

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Work Meeting Gossip

4 06 2013

I recently found out that a group of former co-workers discussed our family at a business meeting. Inappropriate? yes! More specifically, they discussed the fact that my son is bisexual. One lady even went on to talk about how disgusting it is that he is in ministry with the church. Funny thing – I found this out two weeks after this same lady had asked my husband a very large favor – one of which my husband was willing to do for her, but she had already found someone to do it when he returned her phone call.

You see, we were not just in business with this group of people, they also professed to be our friends. This is where the pain comes in, yet, is it good to know the truth, even if it is painful. An actual friend shared this story with my mom. A friend who has a gay relative and happened to be at the business meeting that night. Want to hear something ironic? One of the people at that meeting that night also has a queer child, but they don’t know it. The kid has shared this secret with me, but not with their family yet. It feels like karma in a way, and that almost makes me want to laugh, yet, it is just too sad to laugh. I know that there will be much pain in that family ahead before healing can take place.

When someone out right judges my kid I tend to go to a place of wanting to compare morality. My son is yet to be in a serious relationship. Yet, two of these women are divorced. Jesus had a whole heck of a lot to say about divorce and not one word about homosexuality. So, that is where my anger takes me – to a place of wanting to shove their own immorality in their face. After a few days or weeks, and some serious prayer, reflection, and just some plain ole deep breaths, I realize that is not the right way to go about this. First of all, they would still walk away believing my son is an immoral, unethical, pervert. They would just be very angry on top of all those beliefs. Secondly, it is not my place to judge them anymore than it is their place to judge my son. I don’t want to be known for judgement. I want to be known for love.

After several weeks, I have come to a place of forgiveness. Although I still feel sad by the betrayal and will not be allowing these people into my life again, I do feel that I have forgiven them. I realize that they really do think they are following God. That also makes me very sad. One day, they will realize that the few Bible verses that they are clinging to about homosexuality are being interpreted wrong and were written about pagan worship rituals and are not talking about committed same-sex couples. When that day comes, we can be acquaintances, but we can never be friends again.

Friends come to you directly when they have a question or a concern, they don’t discuss you in a group of people at a party, a business meeting or any other setting. Friends love you and stand by you, even if they don’t understand what you are going through. I luckily have a lot of real friends, and through this journey they become more precious to me every day.





Short Story

30 05 2013

I was asked to give a short statement about why I believe in equality to Fair is Fair Montana. Here is what I wrote:

Grabbe 3 sepia

“For most of my life, I believed that homosexuality was both a choice and a sin. I was raised in a very conservative church and state in the south. About ten years ago, I began to have a switch in my thinking. I realized that what I had always been taught about homosexuality did not mesh with what I was learning to be true in my relationships with gay friends. My faith is very important to me, so I was still confused about how to rectify the scriptures regarding homosexuality. At that point I began my own research of what the bible really says about homosexuality. I was very surprised to find out what I had been taught and had believed most of my life was not even close to the truth. My faith has grown so much through this journey.
As life usually happens, the rug was swept out from under neath me during this process as my own son told us that he is bisexual. I regret that he didn’t feel comfortable coming out earlier due to my own homophobia. He had to carry that burden alone for many years. I am very grateful to be his Mom and to fight along side him for equality. I have three American children who are all proud Montanans. I believe that all three of my children should have the same rights. That is why I speak up for equality in the great state of Montana which I dearly love.”





Dear Me…

8 04 2013

Lately I have thought a lot about the old me. The me that was a much more closed-minded, rigid soul of a person. I often ponder what words would have caused me to become more open-minded and less rigid person earlier than I did on my life’s journey. Here is a letter that I hope I would have listened to back then:

Dear Younger Me,

I am going to say some things that may make you feel uncomfortable. Listen anyway. I know that you tend to get defensive and that comes from your insecurity. Please realize that you can trust me, I have grown to love you over the years much more than you love you now. You have a lot of good to offer this world – spend more time looking at your good qualities and less time focusing on your shortcomings.

I want to talk to you about something very dear to your heart – your church. There are many good people and good things happening there, but there are some things you need to be aware of. First of all, if any leader uses fear tactics to sway you – beware. Fear is NEVER from God, so when your youth leader tells you that Catholics, Mormons, and the like are all going to hell and that if you hang around with them that they will draw you away from God, do NOT believe it. I am still not sure where this mentality came from, but it is garbage. You do not need to fear being drawn away from God by anyone or anything. He loves you more than anything, and you have a heart to seek Him. Trust yourself and your faith and all will be well. Love people, and leave their eternal destiny where it belongs – in God’s hands. That is one thing you do not need to worry about.

Also, when you are told that if you do not tell every single person that you meet about Jesus, and they end up in hell, then on Judgement Day their blood will be poured on your hands – literally – don’t take that on. That is entirely too much pressure for a young person, or any other person. Can you imagine if a human was responsible for the eternal destiny of every other human? Eternity is God’s job – not yours. Again – Love people, and leave their eternal destiny where it belongs – in God’s hands. Trust me, He is capable of handling things.

Are you still with me? Take a deep breath before you read the next part. Everything you have ever been taught or told about homosexuality is false. Everything – all of it. Yes, I realize you have seen that in the bible and this is not making sense to you. I know that fear and unbelief are rising up inside your chest right now. Take some more deep breaths and remember that Jesus is truth – and that God never uses fear. This fear is not from God. This fear is from what you have been falsely taught, and it is ok move past the fear into truth. You will begin to research and will find out some amazing things. For instance, the word homosexuality was added to the bible in the 1940’s and the original Hebrew and Greek are FAR from what the bible says now in many instances, not just about homosexuality. You will learn to take the bible seriously, but it can not be taken literally in many instances. That is fine and dandy, and again there is nothing to fear because the best news is that God is right with you while you are learning and growing. and God is still speaking today. The bible is a great resource, but God is the best resource – tap into Him.

If I haven’t blown your mind already I want to tell you one more thing. One of your children will not be straight. I won’t tell you which one now because I do not want to rob you of the wonderful journey it will be when you find out. I will tell you that they know at a pretty early age and because of your previous stance and beliefs about homosexuality, they are afraid to tell you. The great news is that now that you know the truth, you can alleviate those fears. Talk about it – make sure they know that some people are born different and that it is fine with God and you. God doesn’t make mistakes. Buy more gender neutral toys for all of your kids. Boys can wear pink and girls can play trucks. Open your mind and make your home a more welcoming space for everyone to grow in whatever ways they desire. Life is full of possibilities – open up your mind to them.

One more thing, life is wonderful. I know right now, you must feel overwhelmed with all of this information, and maybe even a bit sad and grieving that life is not what you thought or expected. Allow yourself some time to adjust, but know this – once these truths begin to set you free, your life will be better than ever. You will feel more free to be yourself and that also helps you to allow those around you to be themselves without judging them, and it is a great place to be! Bottom line – just love people exactly as they are, leave the judging to God, although I think He spends much more time loving than any of the other things people accuse Him of. Just love people and the rest will fall into place.

Peace out – Me

 





Another Step for Equality

28 12 2012

Right this very minute it is midnight in Maine. Right this very minute couples are getting ready to be married – Same Sex couples no less. It gives me chills. This next Tuesday the new law goes into effect in Maryland as well. 1/5th of our states now recognize marriage for ALL couples – that is 10 out of 50 states. It is very exciting indeed.

I hate to always harp on the same thing – but I often find myself going back mentally to how far I have come in my beliefs of equality. I used to be such a bigot. I never considered it a Civil rights issue – only a moral one. I felt these people were disobeying God himself – so why should they receive the privilege of marriage. It should be upheld for those of us who were obeying the heavenly Father and living a moral life. What a farce – it is just still so embarrassing to me that I thought that way. So, prideful and high and mighty – considering myself so much more moral simply because I was born straight. I know I have apologized – but I must do it just one more time. I want to apologize for all of the people who have hurt you – openly and behind your back. All of the people who have considered themselves closer to God – more in sync with Him – simply because of who you love.

I feel like I want to write the exact words that would get the religious right’s attention. I feel a burden to do so. Yet, I know realistically that until they are ready within themselves to receive the truth, my words are not going to matter. I will put my energy into something that can be useful. I will hug the brokenhearted, I will be an adopted parent to those who are parentless, I will love as much as I can and continue to speak up and share my story with any who want to hear it.

I will rejoice – rejoice right now with the couples who have been waiting many years for the chance to publicly embrace the one they love. People who have paid taxes just like all of the straight citizens have all of their adult lives now have a civil right that the rest of us have taken for granted. It is a thing to rejoice and be happy about. One day at a time, one state at a time, one couple at a time.





Prodigal Son

20 12 2012

My son is home for Christmas! He moved to the east last September. He left a hole here – sometimes it feels as big as the Grand Canyon. We have done pretty well of adapting to life with him gone. We have “moved on” as much as a family can when a member moves away. We have fallen into a new swing of things, but he was missed, every day.

Yet, there is always a joy at seeing someone you love blossom and bloom and follow their dreams. We are happy for him as well. I do not love my son more than my daughters, but as all mom’s know – there a special and unique bond with each child. My son is the most like me of my three children. He is often loud and can be dogmatic at getting his point across. Yes – I can own up to that. Two people who way can butt heads – and we have plenty! Of all of my children, my son caused me to grow the most. If you met my girls – you would understand – they are much more compliant, in fact, they do a pretty good job of parenting themselves. They have an inherit gene to watch how things are to be done and then to do them that way. They get that from my husband.

When I was growing up, I was the difficult child in our family. I was just plain awful most of the time. I rebelled at every chance I was given – just give me a rule and I would find a way to break it. I can still remember my Mama saying, “One day you will have a kid just like you – and then you will understand!”, in exasperation. I exhausted her. I didn’t have a kid like me – I had a kid 100 times more rebellious than I was. Imagine… Karma I suppose!

I love this kid so much though, and am so grateful for all of the things I was forced to face about myself as a person through parenting him. I have a friend, Bob, who says, “Our children force us to face our own issues”. That has been true for me through the years. I had to overcome my own fear of homosexuality – and that was a big one. I didn’t know it was a fear at the time, I truly just thought I was following the Bible. Now, that I have done the research and realize the bible’s original meaning in these “bashing scriptures” we all hear, I now know the bible was just an excuse so I didn’t have to face my fear of something or someone “different” in a way I did not understand.

I am so grateful for the growth I have had over the years because of having the blessing of being Jake’s mom. I can tell my growing isn’t over since he is talking of moving to a foreign country – one where they do not protect LBGT people with their laws and in fact they are often killed. I can not imagine my life without this kid in it – yet he isn’t a kid anymore. Somehow since September, he became a man. It isn’t my decision anymore – it is his – and I will just keep growing I suppose… and continuing to let go.

 





Love

18 11 2012

I wish I had something profound or fabulous to write about today. I wish I could gather up that feeling deep inside me and put it into words. I wish I could convey to you the feeling of talking to someone who has been rejected by their family and friends when they came out to them. The pain and hurt in their eyes. The confusion that their parents would spend their whole lives teaching them to love God and others and then to reject them whole heartedly. Or even the pain when someone tells you they have hidden who they actually are for their entire life because they couldn’t face who they were themselves, much less come out to anyone else.

All because of who they love. Since putting words around it all is impossible – I can just hope and pray that everyone will one day be able to experience it themselves – then hearts would be softened and people would listen to others and actually hear them. Then hopefully the hurting and judgement will stop – because once you have seen and felt another’s pain for yourself – then you can never go back to the way you were before.