I just got back from vacation. It was nearly a week away in the sunshine spent with my wife, my kids, and my in-laws. I was curious how it was going to go with everything we have been going through. Plus with the added impact of having my in-laws with us, I was really hesitant about having any high hopes for this trip. While it wasn’t the best vacation we’ve had by any means, it wasn’t horrible either. I guess it ended up being exactly what one would expect given the circumstances.
I felt like an outsider a lot of the time on this trip. My wife and I didn’t communicate any more than was necessary. And it seemed like she was always together with the kids and I was frequently “left behind”…separate from them and separate from my in-laws. It was like I was an outsider in my own family on my own vacation. I tried to make the best of it…was very patient with the situation…and tried to keep a good attitude. But inside, I was feeling hurt. I even made a bet with myself at the beginning of trip…I said, “I bet I will never be asked to be in any pictures that are taken on this trip.” It ended up being true. This is the first vacation I’ve ever been on when I wasn’t in any photos. I could have asked to get some pics with me and the kids…but that felt awkward since my oldest son hates me right now. So I just let go and let it be what it was.
My in-laws were extremely loving and gracious towards me during the trip. My father-in-law even tried several times to ask me questions about the new church I am starting. We ended up getting some time alone on our last evening and I shared a ton of things with him. While he doesn’t agree with my choices right now theologically, he took a great interest in learning about my life, about the gay Christian community, and about our new church. I think I ended up teaching him a lot! One of the cool things is that he commented on what he saw going on in our family during the trip. He said, “I can tell things are very difficult for you right now with the way you are being treated. I don’t know how you do it…how you can deal with it.” That one statement meant the world to me. He saw what I am going through and he empathized with me. That really meant the world to me.
I guess the best part about being “on my own” a lot of the time during this trip was that I got some good reading done and I had the time to think about and reflect on a lot of things. I ended up coming up with some great ideas for a potential para-church ministry that I think I would like to start. Yeah, I know. I’m crazy. Start a new church AND start a para-church ministry? Well, I think it may just be part of the calling that God has on my life.
So I relaxed. I got tan. And got away from work. That was good. I just wish I could have been more of an integral part of the family time away. But I guess it could have been worse. The split-up of our family is on the horizon. It probably was as good of a vacation as a family could have in the midst of dealing with the impending family breakup.