Thursday, October 05, 2006

Terribly difficult

This challenge has been terribly difficult for me, and I have done a lot of murmuring myself, but as the Lord has helped me to see more fully His dealings with me and the rest of His children, I have felt much less inclined to murmur and more inclined to faithfully submit...

It has been difficult for me--as one who experiences same-gender attraction, a challenge that often seems impossible to bear and remain faithful--to recognize the possibility that my cross is not more unbearable than those that others may be called to carry; to be sure, it is different, but it is not unequal or more unbearable...
Ty Mansfield in In Quiet Desperation

It turns out, being gay is hard for a Mormon. Who knew? I've felt pretty darn sorry for myself a lot of the time. I've battled depression and hopelessness, searched for what I thought was an acceptable solution where I thought none existed. I felt guilty and worthless. You know, the usual.

When I read the Oaks and Wickman interview on lds.org, there were a few parts that raised my eyebrows. One such part was when Wickman said:
We live in a very self-absorbed age. I guess it’s naturally human to think about my own problems as somehow greater than someone else’s. I think when any one of us begins to think that way, it might be well be to look beyond ourselves. Who am I to say that I am more handicapped, or suffering more, than someone else?

I read this as minimizing the challenges someone with same-gender attraction faces. He proceeds to describe the challenge his handicapped daughter faces, and my reaction was to wonder if he really had any understanding of what all is involved with same-gender attraction. I wondered how he could compare a physical disability that would rule out marriage in this life with a situation like mine--one of psychological torment in which I wrestle mostly secretly with feelings of despair, worthlessness, and futility knowing that I am perfectly capable of finding physical gratification but that my incessant yearning must be squelched. In some ways I would prefer to not have the desire at all, to accept a physically handicapped life of being sterile or something of that nature. It's a combo package of loneliness, hopelessness, and unending temptation, or so it has seemed to me at times.

I suppose his point was an apt one after all--I do find myself thinking that I have suffered more than others when I know in my sane moments that that is absolutely laughable. I've never experienced poverty, genocide like in Darfur, domestic violence and sexual abuse, progressive terminal disease, intractable pain, a child locked in a basement for years... the list goes on.

I'll take my challenges I suppose. The Lord knows me, and he knows what will make me the man he wants me to be.

4 comments:

Kengo Biddles said...

In all honesty, -L-, I feel better about everything in life when I give my time in service. I used to volunteer at the MTC, but life has become too hectic at present. I think he's right. I think we're too focused on ourselves. We can't see anything beyond the big piece of paper sitting right in front of our face. As I get distance from the paper, things seem to settle out. I don't think his intent was to belittle the effort we expend, rather, to say that we should "lose our life" so we can find it.

The Ugly Swan said...

I have to agree with Mr. Biddles (Mrs.?). It's hard to be unhappy when your focus is outward, somehow.

However, the fact that we're lucky that the Lord is in control and the one helping us get to where we need to be does not grant other people to be lassez-faire about the difficulty or lack thereof of something they have not experienced and have such bad metaphors for.

Anonymous said...

I don't know about you, but I'm positive no one has it worse than I! (haha)

The problem I have with Ty's discourse is his constant "wo is me!" attitude. We all get this way as we muse over our personal angsts.

Get over it and get on with life! Get on with doing something!

--Beck

Unusual Dude said...

I've been thinking a lot about this lately. How I need to focus my thoughts outward rather than inward and just GET OVER MYSELF. This post has prompted me to move even further in that direction, and I truly appreciate it. -L-, thanks for the push to improve - I'll try to accept the challenge.