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.





Betrayal

3 10 2012

A Letter to my “friend”:

Dear friend – in fact you were my best friend for years. We have watched each other’s children grow up and get married. We have laughed together and cried together. We have spent countless hours praying together. Other than my husband, if there was another soul on this earth whom I felt would never betray me – it was you. You can imagine my shock and disbelief recently when I found out that was not the case.

When my precious boy Jake came out as bisexual, it took me weeks to tell you. Because of your conservative religious views I didn’t know if I could trust you with that information – I now know my gut feeling was right. Way back then, years ago, I decided “If she really loves me and we really are friends then this will not affect our friendship.” I told you and were supportive and wonderful. You even exclaimed to me that you believe in your heart “people are born that way”.

Imagine my shock to find out you told people: “why does she have to wear that button? I mean I don’t go around wearing a button that says ‘I love my heterosexual kids’ ” I will explain the reason I feel wearing this button is important. First of all – it was a “coming out” of sorts for me as the mom of a queer kid. I mean it is one thing to tell my child I love him no matter what – but it is an entirely different situation to step out in the open and tell the world by wearing this small button. Is it the end all be all? NO – but it is a beginning. A beginning of my coming to terms with my own demons. It is often said that when one’s child comes out of the closet then the parents go into the closet. This was certainly true for me. Beginning to wear this button was one of the ways I began to step forward. It is a representation of my love for my son, but it is also a sign for all the people I come into contact with whose parents have not yet emerged from the closet. My prayer is that it gives them hope that one day they will again feel the love and acceptance they hope for from their own parents – and in the meantime I will give them all the love and support as a “mama” that I can. I also believe this button can give other parents courage to step forward in support of their children.

I feel NO shame at loving my son exactly as he is. No person, church, religious group or institution could ever shame me into wishing him to be different or shame me into not being 100% supportive of him. No family member, no priest or preacher, no friend – NO ONE will ever drag me to that place of shame again. Do you want to know why? Because the shame attached to being LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, or Transgender) or the parent of a LGBT person is a made up phenomenon – it only exists in people’s minds. It isn’t real – never has been, never will be. There is absolutely nothing wrong with being different. We are all born our unique selves, and if a heterosexual didn’t choose their sexuality, then quit assuming any other sexuality is a choice. It is preposterous! So, get over it – like NOW!! If you are a LGBT person or the parent of one (and you may not even know it yet) just remember these words – if anyone has a problem with it – it is THEIR problem. We don’t have to carry that around.

So, back to my friend – you need to do the bravest thing EVER and delve deep inside of yourself and discover why you have such a strong prejudice that you allow your bigoted, racist, homophobic husband to influence you over and over again. My daughter misses her friend whom he has not allowed to play with since her brother came out. Here is the truth, friend, this is NOT about my son, this is NOT about me wearing or not wearing buttons or marching in Pride parades – this is about YOU. You can use these things as excuses, but what you should ask yourself is why in the world does what happens at our house bother you and your family so much? Why in the world would me wearing a button stir such disgust in you that you would bash your best friend and her kids? Because honey, I know one thing – this is NOT about me – and this will not be the only time you are confronted with this. You will have to face it either now or later. Homosexuality is not going away. More and more people are coming out of the closet and more and more parents are speaking up. You can deal with your issues about it now or later – but you will deal with them one way or another – because there will be an army of buttons eventually.

 





Stories

17 07 2012

I have had several people tell me that either they don’t really have a story, or that their story is nothing special. Let me tell you – if you are LGBTQIP or even straight, we all have a story. It is our stories that help us draw together as people. Stories are what break down walls and help people find common ground. I would like to encourage you to find your story and tell it whenever you are given the chance.

We never know who might hear something they have never heard before and another barrier is knocked down. My son is telling his story this week at PFLAG. We were talking about it last night. He volunteered a few months ago to do the B for Bisexual. We have been doing a series of education using all the letters – we called it Alphabet Soup. Well, now that it is actually time for him to tell his story he is not too sure he should. He, like all of us, has a beautiful touching story.

I will just summarize some things that I learned about my son last night. He says he always knew he was different, even as a very young child, but didn’t understand why. When he became a young teen and realized he had same-sex attraction he started doing research on being gay. Just when he decided he was gay, then the next day he would be sitting somewhere and a beautiful woman would walk in and he was drawn to her boobs. Then he was like “how can I be gay and like boobs?” Anyway – this is a short summary remember – he finally realized he seemed to be equally attracted to men and women. So he was SUPER confused.

Then one day he saw a drunk woman on MTV who was talking about being bisexual. She said she slept with both men and women. (Now you must imagine my son telling all of this in a strong british accent at midnight last night. We were rolling with laughter) So, he determined that this woman was a slut – but that he might also be bisexual even though he wasn’t sleeping around. He started researching bisexuality (which has far fewer information to find) and determined he was, in fact, bisexual.

He thinks he was about 15 at the time. He told it out loud to his sister for the 1st time at 18. That is a LOT of years to carry something that heavy alone. I so wish I knew then what I know now and could’ve been more open and talked to him then so he wasn’t alone. He talked of years of begging God to take his same-sex attraction away. It breaks my heart – how could God take away what he created in the first place. Being LGBT is not a choice – people are born that way. How do I know that? From all the 100s of stories I have heard about people knowing as young children. When you are 5 it isn’t about sex folks.

If you are a parent of small children – don’t let your religion interfere in your relationships. Start educating yourself now. Have the right talks with your kids now, so that if they have questions they will feel they can come to you and ask them. Don’t be afraid. It is NOT the end of the world to have a queer child – it really isn’t!! That is our culture speaking – NOT the truth. Don’t believe the lies any longer.

I dream of the day that parents and children alike don’t have to feel shamed for who they are, for any reason. Lift up your chin – look people in the eye and tell your stories. We all need more humanity and less judgement in our lives. It is scary to be vulnerable – but it is so worth it to be true to ourselves. We deserve it!!





Pretending…

8 05 2012

I saw a quote today that grabbed my attention. “Please if you are reading this and are not convinced that you should think in a more diverse way….go buy the movie “Prayers for Bobby.” I want you to watch that movie as if it were you and this Bobby was your son. If at the end of that true story you do not feel changed in some way….well I believe it may be too late for you to live in the way life was intended to be.” It got my attention because I never thought I would have a queer kid. NEVER. I was raised in the south and was southern Baptist two-thirds of my life. I was taught that being queer (only we used the word ‘homosexual’ then) was a choice and was a sin. I carried that belief with me most of my life.

About five years ago I began to wonder if that was actually true. I had met several gay people at that point and they seemed like good people. I even knew a few who claimed to be Christian – now that REALLY confused me. One day while standing in the deacon’s office at church I noticed a copied piece of blue paper. It was folded like a card and on the front it said “What Jesus had to say about homosexuality”. It caught my attention – but it also brought up that familiar feeling of fear that I felt right in my gut every time this issue came up around me. I was too uncomfortable to actually open it up and look. It haunted me for months – every time I walked by her door I thought of it. Then one day I walked by, the door was open and no one was in the office. I quickly popped inside – opened that card – and it was BLANK!! BLANK I tell you!!! My mind was reeling then!! Jesus said things about homosexuality – I KNOW He did. I was taught it all my life and I had seen those scriptures.

Well, that was the beginning of my own research and exploration on the matter. I have always heard the phrase “God works in mysterious ways”. I have no idea what I would’ve thought if I had known then that it would be only a few short years and my own son would come out as Bisexual. Dang – I didn’t even know what bisexual was!!!

Remember that fear in my gut I mentioned earlier? When I heard the words “bisexual” in the same sentence with my son’s name – that fear became a fist that felt like it went all the way from my belly button to my spine. I couldn’t breath – all while trying to pretend on the outside I was OK… but more on that story tomorrow…

Yep – all those years before, I had no idea that my son WAS “bobby”. Maybe when he was two years old and was playing football in his sister’s pink tutu I should’ve had a bit of a clue. Sometimes I just think it is easier to keep your head in the sand – well, easier until your head is suddenly ripped out of the sand into the blinding sunlight! Although – the light is the source of life – so once my eyes adjusted I found out I could actually see the truth and the truth could be a wonderful thing.