It’s really been six months? It’s hard to believe that six months ago I put myself out there, wrote that initial blog post about my sexuality, and shared it on Facebook. I wanted to do something special for my six-month post and it finally came to me as I was on the way back from a North Star guys’ night last weekend.
While driving back with David and another North Star friend, I was reminded of an experience I had while I was still in Toronto… in the very late night of August 20 or the very early morning of August 21, 2010, I told Elder Call about my SSA. In the evening of August 21 I think it was, this experience happened: some members from the Heart Lake ward asked us to take some clothes to the thrift store for them, so we did. As we were dropping them off, Elder Call started talking to the girl that we gave them too. As he started talk to this girl about God, she responded by telling us that she hated God, because He’d made her gay.
With my coming out experience so fresh in my mind, having happened less than 24 hours before, I was emotionally vulnerable and I really felt for this girl who felt betrayed and abandoned by God. I wanted to be able to tell her that I knew how she felt. I wanted to be able to assure her of God’s love for her… but being so early on my own journey, I didn’t know what to say and I didn’t have the emotional stamina to be completely authentic with her either.
Looking back on the experience recently, I took myself back in my mind… If I could go back to that day at that thrift store with the assurance I have now and with the things I have learned and experienced in the past (almost) three years, what would I tell her? This list is only a beginning of the things I’ve learned and experienced… but this is what I’d like to tell her (and I’m going to write it as though I’m talking to her).
- “God loves you! You don’t have to stop being attracted to other women to earn His love. He loves you now as you are. He longs for you to follow Him, but no matter what you feel or what you do, He will always love you.”
- “Being attracted to women does NOT mean that God hates you or that He has abandoned you. He gave you this experience because He loves you.”
- “You might feel abandoned at times… and at times I feel like I’m abandoned for days or weeks on end… but He will never abandon you.”
- “Sometimes it’s easy to feel anger toward God because of the trials that we have, and at times SSA is a beast of a trial, but like any trial, it can bring you closer to God.”
- “The Atonement of Jesus Christ can help you! Though it may not take the SSA away at once or ever in this life, you can find comfort and peace through it.”
- “You can be happy. No matter what trials you have in life, you can be happy. Whether you like being gay or not, you can be happy. Happiness is a choice. It may be a hard choice to make, but it’s a choice.”
- “If you let it, your attractions to other women can refine you and turn you into someone even stronger, more loving, and more capable in life.”
There is probably so much more I could say. I have learned a lot since that day (August 21, 2010) about what my SSA means and what it doesn’t mean. I’ve learned a lot about what it means to love myself and to love others. I’ve learned a lot, but I’m also still learning. I’m not expert, but I’m not sure such a thing exists. Instead, I’m a disciple, wanting to testify to the world about the love that I know I have felt from God, even if it’s hard for me to let in sometimes.
Sometimes it’s very abstract thing to say, but I honestly do believe the phrase that I like to end my posts with and that is the final thing I want to add to my list: “Through the infinite Atonement of Jesus Christ, it gets better… even more so, you can be better.”