I’ve been living a lie.
That is what a few people have told me. The fact that I’ve haven’t always lived life as an openly gay man means that my life has been a lie. The fact that I’ve lived in a mixed orientation marriage for nearly 25 years means that the last 2+ decades have been a lie. The fact that I’m not abandoning my spouse now and embracing a gay lifestyle is a lie. I think I understand what most of those comments mean…some of them very caring, some of them abrasive and hurtful.
For me, it’s different. It’s not so much that i have lived and continue to live a “lie,” but instead, it’s that my life has been lived in ignorance, fear, and refusal to deal with reality. I’ve been boxed up into all kinds of little compartments. My sexual identity was one really big compartment that I kept strongly secured. But not any longer.
I’m living in the real world. My world.
My world is a place of pain from abuse at the hands of those I should have been able to trust the most. My world is a place of condemnation at the hands of those who didn’t know any better and who wouldn’t have known where to find the help I needed. My world is a place of unrealistic expectations that a different road chosen would make a change to my identity. My world is a place where throwing myself into my occupation and calling would drive me further away from evil.
My world is a place where I’ve discovered what is so wrong in all that…and I’m not letting any of that determine what my real world looks like.
My real world is a place filled with love from a wife who is enduring unimaginable pain to walk this path of life with me instead of throwing in the towel. It is a world filled with the unbelievable acceptance of my children who still love their daddy and show their affection often. My world is where extended family and friends unconditionally love and accept me just like I am. The God of my real world loves me just as I am and is being eternally patient with me as I figure out my real faith.
I am blessed with all this…my real world.
It is here that I live.