Over two years ago, I met the love of my life. Gentle, intelligent, and incredibly present, I knew from the first phone conversation that we would be together. I had only been fully out of the closet for about two or three years – not nearly long enough to reverse a lifetime of training that homosexuality is intrinsically bad, disordered, and ugly. When I met my partner, those tapes were still playing deep in my subconscious. When J and I got together, those voices exploded from the nether realms of my brain. They came out like vengeful spirits, torturing me. This is what, in part, sparked my total meltdown at the beginning of 2015.
My mind was made up: gay marriage is good, and God blesses it. I’m gay, and that’s not a deterrent to integrity, dignity, and humanity. But my heart hadn’t fully gotten the message, and the dissonance shattered me, as if I were a pane of glass.
During that psychotic break, I prayed, desperately. “What do I do?” I asked, “what should I do? How do I survive this? What if I’m wrong?” The thought tortured me. Never in my life had I met a man so good – good as in noble, upright, principled, present, loving. And never had I known such a healthy love with a healthy person. I found myself cleaving to him – wanting to be with him first thing in the morning, wanting to fall asleep with him at night. Before I knew it, he was becoming my family, and I would fight for him, protect him as viciously as any wolf, as any man or woman would defend their family. It was an instinct deeper than any rational thought. If that was wrong, as the tapes in my mind insisted it was, that shown a light on a cosmos I didn’t want to live in, a God I didn’t want to serve. I admit my weakness: I simply wasn’t strong enough for that.
And then, through the psychological storm, came the voice. Perhaps it was God, perhaps it was my higher self: “Be a saint. Do good.”
I’d done – was doing – as best I could. I found a man I loved, a man who was adding years to my life, a man who was good. I’d come through storms and near death to a place of relative safety. I’d studied and prayed and come to a conclusion that made the most sense in light of the best evidence I could find. What more could I do? If I was wrong, I was wrong with integrity.
All that’s left is to live as fully as I can. To be as kind, as present, as caring a person as I can. To feed and clothe the poor, to be present to the brokenhearted. To make beautiful things in a dark world, to live with integrity, to admit my faults, to cultivate humility. To live a life full of presence, service, and creativity.
In other words, I want to live fully, morally, and with integrity, regardless of whether I am right or wrong about homosexuality. I don’t believe I am wrong, but if I am, I now believe that integrity and service and sainthood are more important that whether or not I am right on this subject. When I die, I want to be remembered for being good, rather than dying on the hill of my sexuality.
I traded a myopic obsession with the ethics of my sexual orientation for an expansive obsession with integrity and doing good. That’s what I want to be remembered for, and that’s how I’ve found peace.