Facebook is an awesome tool and great way to communicate, but tonight it’s provided me with a reminder of being “different.” I scrolled through a friends’ friends list attempting to locate a mutual friend and as I scrolled I found one picture after another with a boyfriend and girlfriend, husband and wife, even whole families as profile pictures. And then there’s me.
There are days when I really just don’t know if I belong on this planet. I live caught between two worlds, both of which are denied me for one reason or another. I’m enrolled in college, I have a direct path to a seminary that will take a year off my M.Div for credits earned at my undergrad, I know what I want to do; my professional life is directed and I foresee success in that endeavor. But when I look at my relational future, it’s like looking out from the masthead of a ship in the middle of the Pacific Ocean – nothing but ocean all around as far as the eye can see.
In my life I’ve been blessed with some really great female friends. These women have been my rocks when I simply didn’t know what to do. I’ve felt very close to these women and bonded with them in a way that I have never done with any of my male friends. I’m very comfortable with women in ways that most men simply can’t be. I’m not attempting to evaluate their attractiveness the size of their breasts or whatever I’m simply being there and enjoying their company. I reckon my relationships with women to be like that of what straight guys experience with other men.
With men it’s different. My “different” mind finds itself attempting to evaluate how attractive or unattractive the men I’m around are. There are times when I’m around attractive men that I struggle vigorously simply to be present, i.e. my mind focused on what they’re talking about or the activity. So I remind myself that they’re my brother in Christ and they’re a precious child of the Most High God as I am to bring myself back to reality, back to the sense that I’m not different I am one of these men.
My struggle then is how do I reach the place where I can simply enjoy a man’s – even an attractive man’s – company as I do with my female friends? Selah
This is the life for folks like me. Even as I write about this I can remember having a conversation about this with one of my SSA friends and our seeming “otherness.” But my struggles aren’t altogether alien. While I find myself struggling to find healthy companionship with men, my brothers in Christ find themselves facing the same struggles with women. I suppose the dividing line between my struggles and theirs is that my brothers in Christ will eventually find one of these women they’re attracted to and marry, raise a family and grow old together, I will not.
As I sit here and write my mind goes back to the years of lies that I told myself and the lies that I believed. I sit here with tears filling my eyes as I mourn the wasted years of torment wishing that I could just be like the rest of the guys, praying that God would somehow “fix” me. I can still feel the anger that I held against an unjust God who demanded that I be fixed, but would never fix me. I replay the moment on the second floor of that horrible church crying and telling God how much I hated Him. I remember the months of just hoping that someday I would be able to find a man who would be mine and we would settle down together and I remember the evidence piling up that this was simply a fantasy and a broken cistern.
Here in my chair, these thoughts swirling around me like a torrent of melancholy, there is still yet light. The light is fleeting at times and much clouded by doubt, fear, and anger, but it remains. This light is the hope of the future. Yes, my past remains as a dark cloud behind me, but it is not that to which I look. I look to God and have faith in that which is not seen, knowing that He is able to supply all my needs according to His riches in Glory in greater measure than I could ask or think. I store up treasures in Heaven for myself as I stand in this world that is not my home lacking. What the enemy of my soul has taken from me is being stored in Heaven where nothing can destroy it. My hope is in a world far from these worlds to which I do not belong. My hope is in the Lord. And whether or not it is my privilege to experience this provision in this life, I will receive all in the next and it is therefore my duty to ensure that I have done all I can to help those in need as I am, that they might not lose hope and that they might find rest in God.
God has, in His wisdom, determined that this be the path through which I walk. The reality of this is not fatalistic, but reassuring. It is my reliance upon a sovereign God that causes me to be able to make the next step and journey onward to the task to which He has called me. It is with the strength of knowing that He declares the beginning from the end that I step towards that end knowing that God does not regard the lives of His servants as cheap and has a plan for my joy and His glory. It is when I am in the shadow of death that I rely on the rod of a Sovereign God to guide me through the darkness to His everlasting light.
Grace and peace be with you.