Wednesday, November 08, 2006

My Dad

My sister was talking to me the other day and told me something that got me thinking.

Now before I continue, I need to tell you, I had wondered about my father for a while. My father just seems different. He just has this social awkwardness to him. My parents marriage seemed "nice" but not much more.

Now, my sister was telling me about a conversation she had with my dad when he started reminiscing. He started talking about how he and his buddy would go out to the local bars. Then he started telling her about how he and his buddy were drinking and started dancing together at one of the bars.

My sister said there was a light in his eyes she had not seen in a long time as he talked about the dance. She also said he just had this giggle in his voice as he told the story.

For some years now, I had wondered if my parents' marriage was one that the ex-gay people would have approved. I had wondered if my dad denied his feelings and did what he was "supposed" to do. Now hearing this story, I continue to wonder.

If my dad is gay, it doesn't matter to me. It does make me sad, though. As long as I have known my dad, he seemed to be a husk. He would sit and stare. When we asked if he was ok, he would say he was fine. I now see that for most of my life, dad was depressed. I, too, take antidepressants, as does my sister. But I have to wonder if the depression was more than just chemical. Was my dad repressing his true feelings? Did he want to be spending his time dancing with his buddy instead of being at home raising a family?

Granted, I am here because of his choices, but, if my feelings are right, how sad for my dad and my mom. How sad to have to deny the feelings my dad was feeling. And how sad for my mom knowing she was only getting part of the man she married. I don't know if she ever had an inkling, but I do know the marriage was not a hotbed of passion.

When I hear about all the ex-gay movement pushing to banish those "dirty" feelings and go out and find a wife/husband, I have to wonder how many "nice," and not so nice, marriages they are creating. How many dads will be thinking back to that one dangerous dance all those years ago and suddenly light up and begin to giggle? How many moms will have to go though life feeling, if not knowing, they are only getting a part of the man they married?

I love my parents, and I hope my feelings are wrong. But if I am right, I feel so bad that they had to spend their lives pretending.


Lemuel said...

Benton, this, for good or ill, is my story. I wonder if one of my sons will think or even write your words about me someday.

Our choices were not as open - especially if we lived in small towns. From the perspective of the present day, those choices may appear to be cowardly or dishonest. Our decisions may have been tortured, but I assure you that we did what we thought was right.

don't eat alone said...


I love the grace with which you wrote. That's the heERT OF YOUR FAITH.


Ur-spo said...

that was (again) lovely
There's a whole generation of that sort of story. Some of them with 'gay lib' got out; others stayed where they are.
I am glad the next generations are not as prone to marry but be themsleves (conservativs and Mormon gays aside)

Old Pastor said...

Your post brought tears to my eyes. Ters for Dad, for Mom, for you kids who only got part of a Dad, terars for the masses of marriages of convenience, tears for that long remembered and longed for dance. When will this society wake up and smell the rainbow? You write with such power; keep those thoughts and feelings coming and do not allow them to get bottled up and packed away to be regretted in the later years of life. You are loved.