After a brief hiatus, The Book is back. The last part can be found here.
The subconscious part of me decided that since I was going to be all alone, that I needed to start getting on with my life. There was going to be no wedding presents to look forward to so I would have to start buying all of that stuff myself. I started to look for houses and eventually found one that I loved. It was pretty much everything I had hoped for. It had character, a fireplace, and a beautiful back yard. I also started to buy dishes and REAL furniture instead of the dorm room leftovers that I did have in my house. I decided that since I was not going to get married, I could not count on those things and it was time to stop living like a student and live like a real adult person.
Granted, the house could feel empty at times, but I am a pretty “big” personality and can manage to spread out to fill my space. Soon I had gotten the house pretty much how I wanted it. Granted, it was messy, but hey, no one was stopping over soon.
I was going to fight this loneliness and remain true to God. Even with all the information I had about the Bible and the problems of interpretation with the “clobber passages,” I was going to bury my emotions and play the happy hetero when the need be. Besides, my denomination was telling me that “We accept all people;” just don’t let its leaders be gay. Oh, I should say, our leaders can be gay, just make sure they lie about it or hide it.
So that is what I was going to do. I would hide it. I would look at gay porn when no one was around and I would keep the possibilities of finding a “good woman” open. I would go to the gym and get an occasional peek at a naked man and hope to remain sane.
But it wasn’t working. I was feeling like a shell. I was feeling like I was lying and that people were going to find out. I was feeling constantly exhausted because I had to work so hard to keep the façade up. For those of you who are straight, if you don’t think it is hard, try going for just a day paying attention to all things that might be a “give away.” You have to be aware of making sure you say “she” instead of “he.” You have to be aware of what you do, is it too “gay?” I tend to be an artsy person so am I being too “artsy?” And always, how to deal with the “girlfriend” questions? It just gets so tiring.
This hiding continued until the end of my second year at the church I was serving. It was then that a series of chance events occurred that would set my life shooting off on a trajectory that I had never anticipated. I say “chance events” because in retrospect I am still not really sure what happened.
I was at summer camp with a bunch of kids. The Supervisor was also there with a group of kids from his congregation. We planned on being there together so we could share the teaching duties. And also, we enjoyed each other’s company and it gave us a chance to catch up on “old times.”
Now there was nothing out of the ordinary about this week at camp. I cannot think of anything that I would have done that would have pointed a finger. I did not go searching for an opportunity to “see” the Supervisor nor did we spend an inordinate amount of time together. It was just an ordinary week at camp.
On the last day of camp, the adult leaders take some time to clean the house we have all been sharing over the past week. The usual things: clean and sweep. I was cleaning in the kitchen and the Supervisor came in and asked me where he could find a broom. I said “I think there is one in the closet.” And for the life of me, I could have sworn that the Supervisor said under his breath but still loud enough for me to hear, “That’s not the only thing in the closet.”
I was both shocked and pissed. I was shocked because a comment like that form the Supervisor was so out of character. In the eight years I had known him, he would never make a comment like that. If he had something to say, he would generally be right up front about it. And I was pissed because, “HOW DARE HE THINK THAT ABOUT ME!”
I had a good head of steam going. I was hurt and I was not going to put up with this. I decided I would just avoid the Supervisor until we had to leave and then I could regroup. Hopefully after I had time to regroup I could talk with him and set him straight. This was not something worth ruining a friendship over, but the air needed to be cleared.
So I was walking around camp feeling righteously indignant when it suddenly dawned on me, “Am I that transparent? Am I really fooling anyone? I am using all of this energy to keep up a façade that is not fooling anyone at all?” And it was in that moment that the house of cards that I had built for so long, it was at that moment that all delusions disappeared and I finally came to the realization: I was gay.
My feelings about realizing I was gay were many as you can expect, however, the feeling that I remember most clearly was relief. Finally, after 40 years, I was able to state truthfully what I was. I could finally look into the mirror and say, “I am gay.” I could let down all the pretense that I held in my life and just be who God made me to be.
Now I would love to be able to tell you that I was able to come out to my family, friends, and co-workers and everything was ok. But as I have told others, “Lying is a sin” and I would not want to lie. So, in coming to terms with my homosexuality I was not at the end of the journey, I was just starting a new leg of the journey.