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?