“Gerald talked nonstop about how happy he is and how much he’s learning.”
“ Did you believe him?”
“Not entirely. He’s chosen a position now that he has to defend.”
“Chosen? Okay, Mario, just how much of all this did Gerald choose?”
“Not his homosexuality. I don’t believe he chose that. That part just came. Homosexuality is not a sin. But unchastity is. I know people who are as homosexual as Gerald is who have made other choices and are working out very satisfactory family lives.”
“Have they changed? Really changed?”
“Changed. Adapted. Made deliberate choices. I don’t know. But there is more than one way to deal with all of this. I love Gerald. You know that. I’ve always considered him a very great man. He taught me some of the most important things I’ve ever learned. I have thought about him—about both of you—at least once a day for the last ten years. But everything he was telling me about having to follow the ‘real’ him… I don’t know, I just can’t buy that. Listen. I have watched someone close to me go with the ‘the real him’ all his life. And in order to be ‘true to himself’ he destroyed lots of other people along the way. Sacrifice is sometimes not a bad principle. Sometimes it leads not to death but to life. When you don’t ‘follow the music that’s in you,’ if there’s a noble reason for putting it away, maybe you will find an even richer music. I will always love Gerald, but his light is not as clear as it once was. He’s dealing with a lot of sadness and guilt and confusion. I’m sorry.”Carol Lynn Pearson,
in Good-bye, I Love You
So, which is it then? Be true to yourself, or forget yourself? I'm certain there are times when both are appropriate goals. Which is appropriate in the case of sexuality?
I was alarmed at the phrase "waste and wear out your life in service" when I was young, but it has grown on me like a fondness for ever darker chocolate. But there's also something hugely comforting in the words a friend of mine offered today: "you have to allow yourself the experience of being human."
I think the "real me" took a backseat when I got married. I signed up to give myself away. And I think the promise that, "He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it," rings true in this instance. I'm very happy even when I suck. Even when life sucks. My wife and my son make me so.
But I still wonder about the conflict between Emerson's, "See how the masses of men worry themselves into nameless graves, while here and there a great unselfish soul forgets himself into immortality," and Holmes', "Many people die with their music still in them. Why is this so? Too often it is because they are always getting ready to live. Before they know it, time runs out."
True to yourself, or forget yourself?
I really think God wants me to sacrifice certain things, and I'm game. Game to keep trying.