"No one’s spirit is gay or straight, but right now, in this life, as Gerald Pearson, I am a homosexual. I have got to follow that. You’re right. I could be celibate. If I didn’t >need to know and feel and experience, if I were content to just live on the surface of things, I could give it all up. I could squash myself down and bind myself up and tell life to go around and not through me. But, Blossom, I’m a person who needs to live! I am not an empty person. I’ve got to plunge into a life and find out what’s there for me! If I don’t, I’ll gradually die, piece by piece by piece. And I’ll be of no value to anybody, not you or the children or myself!"Carol Lynn Pearson,
in Good-bye, I Love You
I found this highly offensive. I tried not to. But, Gerald, am I then an "empty person"? Is life merely going around and not through me? Am I not truly living? [Makes obscene gesture at Gerald.]
Gerald isn't the first I've heard make this charge, and he's no doubt not the last. I can imagine if I were him I would quickly add that what I say applies to nobody but myself... that I mean only that I could not live such a life, but that others might (although secretly to myself I would doubt it).
Actually, I have said something very much like that. When people ask me if I think every gay Mormon man should get married I say that my path is only for me. And it's a constant theme in the gay Mormon blogs that each one must reach down deep inside one's self and decide how to deal with this difficult situation.
But then there's that nagging absolutist deep down inside of me trying to claw out. Trying to say, "No, the answer for EVERYBODY is to trust that God knows more about our happiness than we do ourselves. What we can feel is so limited. We're like young children screaming to get away from the needle coming at us, the needle that will save our life."
And then the pragmatic L steps in and sasses back, "People know what makes them happy. They know it more than they know that something unseen and unsure can improve on the here and now." And then the absolutist L violently assaults the pragmatic L with an anvil and the spectator L grabs the popcorn.
The two L's invariably come to a compromise. The absolutist L, being much older and stronger, lays down the law that I internally acknowledge that everyone will be better off following God, but the spry and resilient pragmatic L won't back down until the concession is made that everyone should be allowed to figure that out for themselves, even if it's a tragedy. Gerald, for example, got a lot less life than he expected. And that's not just because he died of AIDS. He was unhappy as a gay man (although I'll save the quote on that for a later post).
But, pragmatic L insists, plenty of gay guys are plenty happy. It's not all tragedies. Absolutist L mutters under his breath, "Yeah, in this life." And spectator L throws his popcorn at the two and says, "Shut up, the poem is coming up."
...Alas! is even love too weak
To unlock the heart, and let it speak?
Are even lovers powerless to reveal
To one another what indeed they feel?
I knew the mass of men conceal'd
Their thoughts, for fear that if reveal'd
They would by other men be met
With blank indifference, or with blame reproved;
I knew they lived and moved
Trick'd in disguises, alien to the rest
Of men, and alien to themselves--and yet
The same heart beats in every human breast!
There rises an unspeakable desire
After the knowledge of our buried life;
A thirst to spend our fire and restless force
In tracking out our true, original course;
A longing to inquire
Into the mystery of this heart which beats
So wild, so deep in us--to know
Whence our lives come and where they go.
When Gerald heard this poem on Music and the Spoken Word, it was the first moment he knew absolutely that he was gay. Spectator L munches on a handful of junior mints and chuckles at the irony of why the poem was probably included in that religious program vs. how Gerald interpreted it.