I received another call in Michigan and was very excited about it. It seemed like everything that I wanted in a congregation. They were energetic, active, and willing to try new things. I was really excited to be back in the congregation again.
But almost immediately, I was asked by the senior pastor, “What should we (meaning he and the secretary) say if people ask us about if I have a girlfriend and what to say if someone wants to set me up.
I was prepared this time! I said that I really don’t believe in dating people in the congregation or people close to the congregation. If I become the love interest of someone in the congregation, it is difficult to be that person’s pastor. The same would go for close friends or family members. I would not want to count on breaking up, but if I were to date someone from the congregation and it went south, it could be a bad scene in the congregation. I thought it was a pretty good response.
It was great to be back in the congregation and what was kind of nice is there were several people in the congregation who were older and lived alone. So it was great that people didn’t consider it odd that I lived alone. I guess I thought I had dodged the bullet. No questions, no need to explain.
Everything was going fine until one of my parishioners asked me to come to her house on Christmas Eve. I was totally shocked because I didn’t know the woman was interested in me.
My whole view on life changed! Maybe God was giving me a sign. Maybe this was going to be the “good woman” who was going to turn my roving eyes from the guys around. Maybe she was going to be the one that God had planned for me. Since I have been faithful and didn’t give in to the temptation to be with men, God was going to bring just the right woman into my life.
Christmas eve was nice, a nice dinner and then I had to head off to church. Then we started to meet to take her dogs for a walk or to go to a local festival. We might get together to go to a movie or have Easter Dinner with friends. The problem was that this was a person from my congregation and I still didn’t feel what I would have called “in love.”
I didn’t know what to do. I was feeling that this may be my last chance to get married and I didn’t want to mess it up. I actually got to the point of asking my therapist how I go about moving things to a more physical level. I haven’t even kissed her yet and I was afraid things would go even farther. But for the life of me, I didn’t know what to do. I say that not to sound pathetic but to give you a feel for the simple things that most people take for granted in their lives but that I missed out on.
Remember, I didn’t have the “normal” adolescent explorations. I didn’t really have a girlfriend with I was a teen and I didn’t do the usual experimentation. And being around girls/women was more a friend thing to me not a lover type of thing. So I was at a loss for what to do.
I was mustering up my courage to try to kiss my parishioner the next time we were out when she had mentioned something about her “boyfriend.”
WHAT! She had a boyfriend?
I was devastated. Here was my last shot at finding a wife going down the drain. Here was the woman God had planned for me seeing someone else! Didn’t she know? Didn’t she know that she was God’s plan to bring love into my life? I went numb. I graciously said good-bye and drove home.
I sunk into a sever depression. My whole world was falling apart. Everything that I had staked my life on was now gone. I could not see beyond the fact that I had been rejected and my last chance for a “normal” life was going away. All of my dreams to be a happy hetero had just gotten shot down. Now it was certain, I was going to live the rest of my life alone. I thought this is was the one that God had chosen for me! How could she have a boyfriend? How could God have abandoned me?
And truly, that was the way I felt; I felt that God had abandoned me. Even though I am embarrassed to admit it, I still believed what the fundamentalists were saying. I believed that I could pray, plead, and act my way into heterosexuality. And I was praying, pleading, and the goody-goody was trying to act in a manner to make the parent happy. But, obviously, the parent was not pleased.
This is something that had always bothered me about the fundamentalists’ view of homosexuality. I was told to pray, to study the bible, to have faith. I did just that. But why is it that I would pray, I would study, I would have faith, and still I felt this homosexual attraction. Did God not love me? Was I not doing it right? If I were to believe that God had answered others’ prayers and made them straight, why wouldn’t God do this for me?
The fundamentalist view left me wondering: Did God not love me? Or was I destined to go through life denying my feelings never being able to truly find someone to love? Was it better to lie to the world and pretend to be straight, or better to be true to myself and be an abomination in the eyes of God? The fundamentalist point of view left me suicidal, lying, unacceptable to God, and still all alone.
The journey continues here.