For several weeks now, maybe even a months, something has been bothering me.  I'll admit that I've been in a darker place emotionally, struggling, feeling weighed down and confused because of it.  It was not something I had even been able to formulate into words, like a shadow of a thought.  Visible yet without substance of its own.  And dark.

Wrylon and I attended a wedding celebration a few weeks ago of a friend.  Our friend had married her partner in New York and was having the celebration here where home is for them.  Wrylon asked if it would be difficult for me going and seeing them together.  I assured her I would be fine.

But it did bother me.  Not because of them, but because of my reaction.  Looking into my friend's eyes, seeing her happiness in finding someone she wants to spend her life with, threw me off guard at how happy I was for her.  She seemed to me to have it all, everything that you could hope for in this would.  She has a family, a daughter, a partner that she is in love with and that she has been able to find this while following her natural inclinations.

And so I've been upset.  I will admit to some sadness and a slight feeling of loss.  But that led to anger.  Anger at myself because I, too, have almost all of that.  I have children that enrich my life and bring me joy.  I have a wife that I fall more in love with each day.  How could I ask for anything more?  Because I had just witnessed someone that, by all appearances, had found more.

So not only was I feeling sadness and anger, the old feelings had dredged themselves up.  The thoughts that said, "you can never be good enough; you will never be accepted by God.  As a homosexual man, you are an abomination before God."  In spite of always trying to live true to my religions convictions, these are feelings I have dealt with most of my life.

I was talking to a friend recently who helped me sort all of this out, helped me make sense of it.  Not that he told me what I was thinking, but simply said, "When I have times like this, it's usually because I know what I'm thinking and I don't want to admit it."  As soon as he said that, my thoughts distilled and I was able to admit to myself the things that I have mentioned above.

He asked me what I thought God thought of me.  I replied that I know that God loves me and doesn't condemn me because of my attractions -- I just don't believe it.  Laughing, he suggested that maybe what I needed was just to choose to look at things in a different way.

"If you told someone else about your deep feelings of love you feel for men, and about your need for closeness, what would they say?" he asked.

That's easy, I thought.  "They would say I was gay."

"Are you?" , he asked.

"Yes," I replied.

"Who says so?", he queried.

He went on to explain how he had decided to throw out the perceptions that other people had tried to force on him.  One of these was the thought that the only way intimate feelings can be expressed is sexually.  This notion that the best way to express closeness and intimacy is through sex reverberates thought most of the popular media.

The challenge came:  Is this true?

He recounted to me the story of Jonathan and David in 1 and 2 Samuel in the Old Testament.  Said David of Jonathan, "very pleasant hast thou been unto me: thy love to me was wonderful, passing the love of women."  (2 Samuel 1:26)  Granted some infer homosexual references into this story, but I have also just finished reading the Book of John and many are the references of John as "the one Jesus loved".  For example, "Now there was leaning on Jesus’ bosom one of his disciples, whom Jesus loved."  (John 13:23)  Here are two biblical and historical records of men admitting to strong feelings of affection for other men.

In our society it has become "gay" for two men to feel close bonds of love for each other, especially if they express such physically.  It is not uncommon in our society for close female friends to hold hands or even kiss on the cheek.  What would you think if you saw two men following suit?

My friend's proposal was that God created some men with an ability and an affinity to love other men greater than average and more importantly that it was not inherently sexual.

So I have been testing this theory.  I have put aside my feelings that it is shameful for me to feel affection for other men, and I have also put aside the assumption that these feelings are sexual.  Granted that I have been cautious in doing so as the sexual attraction is very real, I have been amazed at the change in my thoughts and feelings.  Approaching my friendships in this manner, meaning giving myself permission to feel and show appropriate affection in my actions and words, has been much more emotionally rewarding and fulfilling and any sexual feelings are much diminished in these instances.  While a handsome man is still going to turn my head, having strong, intimate friendships is what I am looking for, not sex.  As a side note I was specifically thinking of male friendships at the time of writing this but I have found it applies to my female friends as well.

I believe what he says is true and I think it is the answer that I have been praying for.  Maybe God did know what he was doing when he made me this way?  Maybe it is possible to follow my beliefs and to not feel like I have had to give up something?  While I have believed so, I haven't seen a way that it could be true.  I think I am beginning to see the way.

Posted by Lucas Jones On 8/05/2013 09:36:00 AM 3 comments

3 comments:

  1. Lucas, I love how you wrote this post. This is one thing I have only very recently come to terms with, that it's ok for me to love another man so long as I use that love to create a strong friendship and close emotional bond, not as a way to have sexual relations or to participate in inappropriate behavior.
    One thing I love that you wrote was that God gave certain men the ability to love other man greater while not inherently sexual. Now, that's not to say that men who have SSA are better than men without it, but is merely to state that God gave each of his children different gifts.
    The story of David and Jonathan was always a struggle for me to understand, because before I had even read the story myself, I had heard things about how many people think it is a story based off of sex between the two men. There seems to be a lot of controversy around the whole story, but looking back on it now, having recently read that story myself I realize that that was not the case in the story. I really appreciate you explaining what the story means to you, and the good that can be found from it.
    I love reading your blog and it was so great to meet you and Wrylon. May God continue to bless you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Mitchell. I really appreciate the comments and the encouragement. Likewise it was great to meet you.

      Delete
  2. This is a brilliant post and I love what your friend said. Some men just need to be able to rely on another a man more, a dear friend, to really help them in life. The love I felt for my best friend this year wasn't sexual but it was still a great love. I had actually never even thought about him in any sexual way and a close friend of mine asked me if I had ever felt that way about my friend and it felt so enlightening to be able to tell her "No, never." It was even more enlightening to see her smile and say "Mika, I really think that friendship is of God."
    The musical artist Sufjan Stevens writes many songs about strong male friendships as well, and listening to those songs helps strengthen the idea of your friend.

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