Thursday, July 31, 2014

"Well That Escalated Quickly..." what you'll be saying when I admit, in only my second post, that I happen to be attracted to men.  I'm also, as I said before, married to a woman, and happily so.  Add to that the fact that I'm a practicing Catholic who actually believes what the Catholic Church teaches* (hey, what a novel idea, amiright?), and you start to put together the picture that although I'm attracted to men, the gay lifestyle is not for me.

Now, this is not a topic that I intend for the blog to be exclusively about.  I'm bringing it up so early on because I know it's a topic that could make some readers squeamish.  And yet the topic does have a pretty big impact in my life, so you can expect to read more about it in future posts.  So it's better that you brace yourself for it now, so that those of you in the "People like that should really just keep it to themselves" crowd can run, post haste, for the hills.

Screaming Optional

A few things to get out of the way, now that this actually-common-as-dirt revelation is out there (I mean, it seems rather popular these days for men with same sex attraction to blog about it, so am I really breaking any new ground here?):  Yes, my wife knows.  Yes, she's known since before we dated.  Yes, we're happy.  Yes I really do love her, and I do enjoy our "private" life.  No, you can't have her.  Whatever your gender may be.

How does this impact my life?  Well, there's the obvious:  It can present a cross, a source of temptation, the proverbial "thorn in the flesh."  Mine is not a pretty, pre-packaged success story.  This has caused some real pain, some real struggles.  I've known guilt, shame, and failure, I've stared them each in the face, shaken hands with them, and walked away feeling the grimier for it (Where's the Germ-X when I need it?).  

But thanks be to God there has also been beauty, things I'm not sure I would have ever known if I didn't have this struggle.  I've experienced real love from some of the people closest to me.  Not the condescending "I love you anyway" love, and not the superficial "I love you because there's nothing wrong with two men sleeping together" kind of love (honestly, what's so earth shatteringly generous about loving someone whom you don't think is ever tempted to do anything wrong in the first place?); no, I've known love that puts a face to Christ's love.  

My brother has told me that he's not sure he would want me any other way, because he likes the way I am.  I found one of the best friends a guy could ask for because we both share this cross.  I've made profound connections with others, through commiseration and fellowship, whom I would have never even met if I'd never known what it was to be attracted to other men.  I wouldn't trade that for the gift of being "straight."  I've also experienced amazing proof of my wife's love for me, by her bearing patiently with me in all this, that it takes some couples years to have truly tested and proved in their marriages.

And finally, it's thanks to the same sex attractions that I have been more open to something that is a passion to me, something that I will probably blog about often:  Close male friendship.  In our society, there are still vestiges of a taboo about two men being extremely close.  If two men love each other, are affectionate with each other, need each other, and make no apology for it, it's still at least mildly suspected of being "more" than friendship.  And many men are afraid to really let themselves feel that.  "What if it means I'm gay?"  Well, for me, that ship has long since sailed, so I feel free to just admit to myself my deep emotional need for the male friends closest to me.  That means all the world to me; and I suspect I would have held back if not for my same sex attraction.  

But it doesn't really matter whether I accept this cross or hate it.  It's mine to bear, so I may as well learn to appreciate whatever good it can offer.  Fortunately, I'm pretty sure God knew what He was doing when He allowed me to be burdened with it.  

NOTE:  If the day comes when you're reading this as someone who already knew me, especially when I was a kid, and you think this is "obvious news," please give this other post a read.

* The Catholic Church teaches that sex is intended to be only between one man and one woman who are married and who do not deliberately render the sex act infertile; this obviously means people in my shoes are not supposed to act on any sexual desires we have for the same gender.  Part of being Catholic is to accept what the Church and Scriptures teach, so I do.  This doesn't mean I've been perfect at following those teachings throughout my life, it just means I submit to them as true and valid and that I, not the Church or Scriptures, am in the wrong if I stray from them.

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