28 June 2011

THT: Oh Say, What is Truth? (Part I)

I wish someone could tell me the answer. Someone that could have no possible conflict of interest. It is pretty ridiculous. Tonight I typed in "does God exist" into a google search. Perhaps the answer lies in the question? Why is it a question that we cannot leave alone? I've mentioned before how I am kind of on a teeter-totter when it comes to belief in God. Some days I believe, other I don't. Sometimes I wake up believing, and I go to bed unbelieving. More often than not though, I believe in a God. The next question is what God?

Whose God do I believe? My own God with my own definitions? The mainstream Christian God? The Mormon God? Why does it matter? Does it matter? My mind is so tired of trying to make sense of God and religion while at the same time mixing my own life experience into the equation.

I'd like very much for there to be a God... but then that thinking makes me criticize my own thoughts. Can I trust a mind that is biased? I feel like I have already gone through this struggle. The God question. I came out of that a believer. So what happened?

I accepted that I was gay. That's what happened. And then I had to face the hate and ignorance perpetuated by religion. And since religion is connected to God, derived from the idea of God, I was again confused. If religion is the fruit of God, then I'm not sure I want to know him.

I tried to talk to my family about religion today. Asking questions, etc. Didn't work out so well. So I am left to my own devices I guess in figuring out the answers. I think my problems really lie in religion. Then I let those muddy the idea of God. The truth is, I don't know that I could be atheist at this point. Belief has been too instilled in my mind. I just want to know that what I believe is truth. Is that too much to ask?

15 June 2011

THT: Will I Ever Be Able to Forgive?

I still hurt sometimes. When I am reminded of that dark place in my life when all I wanted was to end it, I hurt. The pain is real and it runs deep. It is the kind of pain you never forget. You know how you watch America's Funniest Home videos and there is a dad playing baseball with his son and you just know that somehow that ball is going to end up in dad's crotch? You know it, yet every time this scenario plays out, everyone's muscles contract and a grimace appears on every face. It is kind of like that, except it is emotional and spiritual.

I've been watching "Jack & Bobby" on netflix. It is an amazing TV series that only lasted one season. The episode I watched today involved a gay suicide. Gay suicides are common enough that they appear on tv shows, movies, songs, and just about any other story-telling medium. It is real. I remember back a couple conferences ago when the church responded to protests by assuring everyone that they did not condone bullying of any type. I had friends who avoided the direct idea that gay teens are being driven to suicide by making the problem general. No one was talking about how gays were being pushed to the point of suicide, they simply clutched to the idea that bullying was bad. Except, I don't think it is bullying that drives people to suicide most the time (though it sure doesn't help).

If kids felt like their family or their church or other people they were close to were proud of them and embraced them for who they were, a bully at school wouldn't cause them to become suicidal. Sure, bullying is bad, but that isn't the real issue. I'm started to go off on a tangent and I will stop there.

During those times I am reminded of the pain I went through, I hurt so deep. I am often brought to painful tears. Tears of betrayal, anger, sadness, and inadequacy. How do I forgive and move on? How can I forgive the men I believed to be prophets and a church I believed to be true for embracing and teaching a rhetoric that almost succeeded in causing me to take my own life and has succeeded in driving countless others to that end? Their number will never be known.

Is it possible? Is it possible even when the same rhetoric is being taught by the same people? Is it possible when the offender does not even admit to doing any wrong? Imagine that a person steals money from your wallet. After being angry for awhile you think, "well, perhaps there was a good reason, I will forgive him." But just then you catch sight of the offender and he is stealing from others right before your eyes. Can you turn your back on that and move on and really forgive him? Even while he continues stealing from other innocent victims?

I already know that I will never be able to forget the scars that are mine due to the anti-gay rhetoric men in authority taught as I grew to adulthood. But can I forgive?

PE: Holding Hands

I started dating someone recently. The first guy since Brig really. I mean, I've been on dates and I've had a couple almost-relationships, but never full-blown relationship. I don't think I was able to let go until recently.

Anyway, a couple weekends ago was PRIDE here in Salt Lake. I didn't really join in any of the festivities. Instead Sean and I went out for a quiet night. It was one of the first relatively warm nights and we were downtown getting a bite to eat. We had to park several blocks from the restaurant we ate at, so it was a nice walk. Typically I don't engage in any kind of PDA because I don't like to make people feel uncomfortable, but on our walk back to the car all the couples were out holding hands and it was such a nice night and I really wanted to hold hands. Every couple we saw were holding hands- no joke.

So initially I just gave his hand a squeeze and thanked him for a nice dinner, but it was apparent he wanted to hold my hand too, so we did. I wish straight people could understand what it is like. I imagine it is somewhat similar to what it felt like for Rosa Parks to sit in the front of the bus. You kind of hold your breath, knowing that you will be punished, but hoping you won't. Well we got punished.

Stares and double-takes don't get to me too much. I guess I kind of accept it as a fair trade. If I want to hold hands, I have to put up with the staring. But we had an SUV full of guys pointing, laughing and yelling at us. "EWW- THEY'RE GAY! DUDE, LOOK!" "GAY!" "BAHAHAHA!" It kind of ruins the nice relaxing summer night. And even though we continued holding hands, the truth is, I couldn't help but feel ashamed and hurt. I felt like I wanted to go and hide. You'd think those feelings would go away, that I would just be used to it, but they don't. I think we all get good at masking the hurt, but the pain is still real.

I yearn for the day when all people see is couples enjoying a warm summer's night instead of the two guys holding hands. I hope I live to see it.