I’ve been doing a whole lot of reflecting in the past year. How could I not after all that has transpired? I’ve thought about the things I’ve done, the mistakes I’ve made, the ways I would have done things differently, and the reactions I’ve gotten from everyone around me. To say the least, I have chosen a very difficult path in life. One never knows when they start down a path exactly where it will end up. I never knew when I started seminary that I would go through ex-gay therapy, get married and have kids, struggle with my identity for years, have a rough marriage, get divorced, fall in love with a man, become estranged from my kids, and struggle to have a good-paying job afterwards. All of that causes one to think and reflect.
So today I start a series of posts on my reflections on this journey thus far.
One of the things that I’ve thought a lot about is “What if I had just come out when I was younger instead of putting so many people through so much pain?” (((sigh))) This is a biggie for me. I have thought about it a lot. Here are some things I’ve come up with…both positive and negative.
If I had come out when I was younger I would have…
…come out right when the AIDS crisis was hitting. I was saved from that!
…had a lot more sex with men
…felt better about myself at a younger age
…possibly not had children
…had more disposable income
…not met many of the wonderful friends that I have in life
…possibly still be living in California
…not gained the emotional healing that I received from my former in-laws
…learned earlier that fundamentalism kills
…saved a lot of dollars on therapy, let alone the emotional wear and tear
…probably been happier for the last 20 years
…missed out on so much of life that I never would have experienced any other way
…not deeply hurt the people closest to me
Those are just a few of the things I came up with. There are good and bad things on that list. How can I even say, “I should have come out sooner”? In some ways I would love to say that but in other ways I can never say that. My painful, twisted journey has brought joy and sadness, difficultly and safety, and an understanding of life that I could not have had any other way. There are times I think, “I should have…” or “If only…” and there are other times that I just have to be present to my reality and say, “It is what it is.”
So I live with the tension. Even now as I write this, I am both content and disconent…happy and sad. It’s not dualistic. It’s not black or white. It’s not good or bad. It just is. I have a feeling I will probably always live with such a tension in my life. That tension comes when you make peace with your life and when you have a deeper knowing. It’s reality. It’s what I know.