So, I’ve been thinking about silkworms and cocoons.
Have you ever wondered what a worm thinks? (No worries if you haven’t, because that’s really strange, I know.) Like, what does the worm think when mother nature is telling it to begin to spin the cocoon? What does it think while it is fully encased in cocoon? What does it think when it is being transformed into something totally different…something beautiful. More beautiful than it could have ever imagined. Kind of like a “beauty from ashes” type of thing.
Strange…yeah, that’s how I think sometimes. Just ask those closest to me. 🙂
Except, in this case it’s not nearly so strange, and not nearly so abstract. What I’m about to write about is not in the abstract, it is my reality. I’m not writing out of a sense of enjoyment, but of giving a voice to my state and my struggle. In doing so, I trust that you might be helped.
So, let’s get some key basics covered: I’m a husband, my wife and I have 3 beautiful children, a gorgeous granddaughter, and I’m a christian. We have a good life – not grand and far from perfect, but good – real good.
And I’m gay.
I didn’t pick this. I didn’t choose this. This is just the way I am. Always has been. Only my wife and a handful of trusted friends and family know that I’m gay.
I am a PK (preacher’s kid), reared in the shadow of the local church(s) that my parents pastored, and in the environment of loving and Godly parents. It wasn’t a perfect environment, but was a blessed upbringing. I treasure my parents and the truth that they worked so hard to imprint upon my life. I attended parochial schools all my life and answered the call of God into ministry at a young age. I spent nearly 20 years in local church ministry as a pastor.
About 18 months ago I confessed to my wife that I had been having an extramarital affair…an affair that had been going on for several months. The affair was with another man.
As you can imagine, the effects of this were swift and extremely damaging. We are working our way through the tall weeds; it’s painful, but necessary. The family strength our children previously enjoyed is now in shambles. We immediately lost our church family…both to worship with and to minister to…things we have been blessed with the majority of our married life.
From my very first sexual impulse, I have been sexually attracted to men. Being that I was raised in a ultra conservative environment that was not open for any discussion of sex – straight or otherwise – I could not talk about this to anyone. If I have prayed once for God to set me “straight,” I’ve prayed it a million times. A prayer that was never answered. The resulting pain landed me in the bottom of a bottle, as I abused alcohol for a few years. That pain has also brought me to the brink of suicide more than once.
I am blessed in that it is because of my upbringing that I am not in a worse place than I am in now…for that I’m thankful.
However, it is also because of my upbringing that I am not in a better place than I am in now. Growing up I had learned quite well the art of compartmentalizing my life and how to avoid being a truth-teller in how I lived my life, because I had no safe outlet to share my life experiences and my forming sexual orientation without facing condemnation and judgment. Everything was lined up nice and neat externally for everyone to see…yet the interior of my life held this one big secret that I knew nobody was really interested in being exposed to.
I heard preaching and teaching about how more prayer would solve it all. Hey! I prayed and cried and begged and bargained and cajoled God…asked God to cure me, to fix me, even to kill me…that didn’t work. I heard how reading the Bible would give me all the answers. I read the Bible all the time…I never found the answer. I heard how I should just throw myself into ministry, put the right foot forward and I would be led away from sin. Only to find out that spiritual activity was not the answer, either. And the message I received in all that “hearing” was that they didn’t want to hear about me, I just needed to get myself fixed. Sadly, I’m still getting that message today…literally, in those words…get it fixed. How sadly insensitive and demeaning.
The cocoon has been formed…fully encasing my life.
So what’s next?
Can anything be made of this worm? (Please understand that when I say “worm” I’m not putting myself down.) Can I be more than a silly worm…hanging from the skinny limb of life…encased by the silky, yet strong, fibers of the cocoon? Can life be found in the cocoon? A beautiful life? A joy filled life? A happy life?
Through the aid of intensive and Christian therapy, I’ve come to the point that I can embrace the truth of who I am. I.Am.Gay. I’m able to form the thought. I’m able to actually speak the words.
So maybe the cocoon is loosening just a bit.
But that doesn’t solve anything. It just opens the door for more discovery…much of which is more challenging than most can imagine.
Maybe, just maybe, that is the worm in the throes of transformation.
Some of you may not get the process of simply understanding and admitting to being gay. This might be of help to you.
And, you might be curious about what it means to live in a mixed-orientation marriage, this blog may be of assistance.
Pain. Despair. Depression. Regret. Hopelessness.
Those are some words to describe my life right now. But maybe this worm will eventually change into something beautiful.
Time will tell.
So, from time to time I will write about my life “in the cocoon”, all in the hope that it will show a transformation to full beauty, and to help someone else along the way.