Sunday, February 20, 2011

Help: Ask an Apostle a Direct Question

I have the opportunity to go to a Q&A fireside on Friday with Elder Bednar. What question should I ask, if any?

- Horizon

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Coming Out, Part 5

I'd finally done it. After all of the anxiety, self-loathing, guilt, fear, trepidation and uncertainty, I told my parents I was gay.

And I was still ok.

I hadn't been kicked out. I wasn't rejected. I wasn't cast out of the family.

I was loved. I was accepted. I was still me.

I cannot accurately describe the feelings I experienced in that moment. After a lifetime in the desert, it was a cool drink of water. After years of carrying burdens almost incapable of bearing, it was a suddenly lightened load. It was a shout of joy, a needed relief, a celebration of life, a moment of zen, and a manifestation of love and acceptance.

The feeling was akin to the divine love I felt in the temple when I asked God if He accepted me as His gay son. My earthly parents had accepted me too.

Dropping to my knees in my room, I offered a prayer of gratitude. I always prepare for the the worst and hope for the best, and the near best had happened. That prayer was said through tears of joy.

I was giddy. I was thrilled. I was enthralled. I was humbled. I was happy.

I messaged my friends who had offered their best sentiments before, wanting to share the amazing news with them. There is no way I could have gotten through without their constant support. I smiled as their responses of joy came back. They had all been waiting in eager anticipation. I was glad I was heading to Salt Lake the next day to meet some of them for the first time.

Glancing at my packed suitcase, I laughed softly at myself. I had been so worried to the point of being sick, and now it all seemed so silly. Of course my parents accepted me. I was their son! Why hadn't I told them years ago!?!

I headed back downstairs to be with my family, finally feeling normal for the first time that entire reunion. I was smiling again, I was myself again.

Thinking to myself, I knew the path ahead would not always be easy. Hard decisions await me in my future along with heartbreak and grief as well as joy and happiness. But I was at peace knowing I had a foundation of godly and familial love as I took another step forward in my journey across the moving horizon.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Coming Out, Part 4

What happened next is what I had always secretly hoped for. We talked.

It felt like such a relief after years of forced silence on my part. I did not say everything, but I wanted to establish a foundation of understanding for the future. I opened up like never before.

We discussed my experiences growing up, what my reality was like, the church, single and prominent members (Sheri Dew, I am looking at you), priesthood leadership, if and when I should tell other family members as well as many other things.

One of the most significant things happened when my mom apologized for pressuring me to date, to marry and to give her grandchildren. She said she was just trying to be a good mom and the things she said were not meant to be malicious in any way. I replied that I knew they weren't malicious and that my coming out to them was not motivated by anger or intended to be malicious either.

I said I was done hiding and that if the occasion presented itself to use their best judgement to decide to tell anyone else. I asked that I be able to tell my sisters but aside from that, I trusted them.

Both of my parents expressed their sorrow for what I had been going through and how hard life had been living with the secret alone. They both were sad for the difficult path that lay before me, but were encouraged that I was finding more happiness.

Suddenly, there was a knock on the door and we were suddenly thrown back into the timeline rather than suspended in conversation as the door swung open. My older sister came in to grab something out of the room, not even noticing what had just taken place and left door open as she exited, only a slightly curious look on her face.

With that, the conversation was over. We could feel it. Not a tear had been shed. I gave them both a great big hug for being the amazing parents they are. In that moment, a hug was exactly what I needed. Accepting love from my parents, freely given.

I went back to the old decorative church pew I had been sitting on, aware of the ironic connection between me baring my soul and the origin of that seat. I retrieved the copy of "No More Goodbyes" I had intended to give them, but I took it with me as I exited the room. They didn't need it yet. I'll save it for a day when things become a bit more difficult in their eyes (like a relationship).

I bounded out of the room, with newfound happiness, energy and freedom I had not experienced ever before. I felt light as a feather, the burden shared. The knots and butterflies in my stomach were gone.

My older sister saw me leave the room with the book in my hand and asked what it was. Smiling to myself as I headed up the stairs to my room to process, I replied without looking back, "Just something I am reading."