26 January 2011

PE: Learning to Love

Today I realized just how much I've changed in just a short time.
"Love thy neighbor as thyself."
When thinking of that phrase, we often forget the "as thyself" part. Before coming to terms with being gay and learning to accept and love myself, I didn't express love very easily. In fact, I'm not sure how much I felt it. Saying "I love you" was pretty much reserved for my immediate family. But at the time, I hated myself. I didn't love myself, so how could I love others like myself?

That has changed now. And the way I feel about people... it really is love, and I know it. I feel it. It is different from the way I felt towards people before. It isn't conditional. I guess it is charity. I think I've just learned a little more about what it means to have charity.
"Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away."
I would have never thought that to have charity, you must first learn to love yourself. Love yourself with all of your flaws, your imperfections, and your mistakes. In the end charity is the only thing that can be counted on. Just like the scripture says... eventually your knowledge will fail you and God will surprise you. Sometimes prophets, although inspired, err in their prophecies. But real charity never fails. Not even when it turns out your son or your brother or your friend is gay.

Today I can say I love you comfortably to friends and even sometimes strangers, and I am being completely sincere. Just five months ago I would be uncomfortable saying those words except to a handful of people. I love you.


Martin in NYC said...

Congrats on making it out safely, Jonathan. I was rookie faculty at BYU and fortunately, in my last semester of seven years, I was able to hold up when I realized that I had to leave my family as well as transition over to UVU. Too bad UV was screamingly MORE conservative! Sometimes us MoHos that are a generation upline get to feel wonderful when another young man makes it. Almost like the Schindler effect (from Schindler's List) - except that you did all the work. I wish you the best both professionally and personally.

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

Great post! I love learning about charity. It is a topic that is often on my mind. (I actually wrote about it on my blog about ten days ago.)

May I ask yet another question?

I do not know what your dating experiences have been, either gay dating, or non-gay dating. In my experiences with gay dating, which have been rather limited, it feels like everything has been cranked up to move VERY fast. And, it feels like everything is very sexually charged. Maybe it has always been like that in dating and I have just been too naive or trusting to have noticed it. Maybe I felt my guard was up when dating the opposite sex and feel less guarded with the same sex and that is why everything seems to move at warp speed. Have you felt any of this in your dating? am I even making sense about what I have been feeling?

Thank you for being so open to answering questions from us on the Internet. I know for myself that I truly appreciate your perspectives, both as a man, a gay man, and a gay man who loves the Savior. It is refreshing on many accounts.

love and respect, always.

Anonymous said...

Another question, Jonathan: have you thought about creating a film about MoHos who keep the church in their lives? I know there are many films, etc. out there about those who leave the church for various reasons, which I fully understand. But, it would also be really nice to have film made about those who want to keep the church in their lives, also.

Thank you.

And, I will answer your e-mail soon. :)

love and respect, always.

Jonathan Adamson said...

@Martin- wow I wouldn't have imagined UVU was a MORE conservative environment. Interesting.

@this blog author- Great questions... I will definitely address them

Steven Lester said...

As I personalize this particular article I realize once again that whenever somebody says they love me, I immediately discount the statement, because I can't figure what there is about me TO love. I, therefore, always consider the statement to be a lie, and a manipulation technique. By the way, did you enjoy my little attempt at humor to make sure that you stay humble?

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