A New God
There was a lot that was said when I was first coming out to you. I remember the intervention like it was yesterday, staged with all the members of our immediate family. I remember the tears, the yelling, and your navy blue colored bible that sat argumentatively on your lap. Its words used to get me back on the track of righteousness and not the dark path to the eternal Hell fire that I was threatened. The message was clear: If you continue to be gay you will burn in Hell. If you do not reject your attraction to men you will reject the gift of salvation from God. A gift I was taught to believe would never be taken away from me was now a gift that would expire. Everything I had ever heard of omniscience and unconditional love was over. I had found the end of God’s compassion.
This pain was too hard to bear. I drank. I drugged. I tried to fill the void with meaningless relationships one after the other. The God I grew up loving no longer loved me back. The light of God went gray and I went to an altered state of life. A life where I felt nothing because feeling was too painful. My pain didn’t live in this world it lived in the afterlife. God took away everything that I once knew and replaced it with agony, sorrow, fear, and sadness. God lied to me and completely shoved me out of the mansion before I even arrived.
Then... I met God. I learned one day that the God I had grown up with was created in a lot of ways to constrain, not to love. He showed me that much of the scripture used as a gun to shoot bullets of shame and disgust into my flesh were directly based on facts through interpretation. An interpretation meant to control me. God helped me comprehend that my previously learned message of a freely given salvation was in reality a silent contract drawn up with guidelines and rules meant to remind me of how unworthy I am and how I will always fall short. The God I grew to know loved me for me. And why wouldn’t He? This God was the one who put my bones together and aligned my heart and my brain to work in perfect harmony. This God was the one who blessed my life as a reflection of who He is not who He isn’t. This God taught me how to love and how to accept love freely. He showed me how to forgive. He allowed me to recognize that holding on to past pains only invites injure to my heart. Above all, He showed me that to let go of pain means letting go of any negative residuals that no longer define me.
Mom, I do not blame you or even long for the past to be changed. Even as I am writing these words I feel so blessed to have been through all that we have. I would never have been able to begin to grasp or even fathom God’s love for me if I hadn’t experienced the loss of a love that I was told would never leave me. Thank you for continuing to love me even when God didn’t. Thank you for showing me your unconditional love - even when the religion we were raised in would have allowed you to push me out completely.
The resilience I have gathered is due in part to my journey but mostly because of my DNA. You and dad have shown me how to be strong, confident, and courageous in everything I do. Even during our hardest times I could feel the prayer that you were surrounding me with. God heard those prayers and He has made me the man you were praying for. Thank you for never giving up on us. I love you.