I haven't posted in a bit, mostly because I don't really have much to say lately.
It looks like I'll be working in Utah this summer, which I have mixed feelings about. On the plus side I get to spend some time with my family, and I'll be performing, which, of course, is my ideal version of a job. On the other hand, I'm away from Jonah, and while I'm excited to work with some old friends again, the show I'm performing in is not necessarily the genre of theatre I'm most excited to be doing. But, who knows, maybe I'll have a good time. At least I'm acting, which I'm extremely grateful for.
I spent the day with Jonah yesterday. It was good to spend time with him. Like he says, this is good practice for us because our careers may very well cause us to be apart for indeterminate amounts of time. We both feel it will make our relationship stronger in many ways. The thing we are both extremely grateful for is how much we genuinely trust one another. I honesty don't give a second thought that Jonah's heart would stray away from me, and I'm sure he feels the same way about me.
Yesterday we napped in my bed, and it was just so nice to be held by him and to hold him. I just thought as I fell asleep in his arms, "What is so wrong about this?" We made out, and it got pretty hot and heavy, which was fun and exciting, but I'm still not ready to have sex yet. I guess my thing is since I still have one foot in my religion, I know that sex is the line I can't cross without risking excommunication from a church that I love and hold dear. I know it must seem ironic to some that I cherish so highly a religion that is not accepting of homosexual relationships, but I do. I really do. Just as much as my sexual preferences are a part of who I am so is the religion I was brought up in.
I've always promised myself that if I leave the LDS church that I will not become bitter or resentful towards it, like many people sometimes do. They feel the church has somehow wronged them or that they lost time devoted to a cause they no longer believe in or blame the church for their circumstances. I would contend that the Mormon church has afforded me some of the best qualities I have and some of the greatest opportunities and experiences I have known in my life. And I certainly do not feel that I have lost or wasted any time belonging to it. The circumstances of my life, both good and bad, have made me who I am and brought me to this point in my life, and if circumstances had been different, I may have never met Jonah, who has been such a blessing in my life. And, call me crazy, I still believe the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is God's true church on this earth. I simply have come to a point where I have tried my hardest to live according to its tenets, and I don't know that I have the faith to do so anymore. And I'm learning that maybe that's okay. I'm here to learn and be tested and to love, and I'm doing all that. What I have felt lately is that God loves me and wants me to live and wants me to experience, and nothing I do is going to change that.
We often have this human understanding of God and can't really understand the full magnitude of his love and mercy. We somehow feel (myself included) that if we make mistakes or if we fail in our human endeavors that God will be disappointed and not love us as much as he does someone else who we mistakenly perceive to be doing better than we are. Does that mean I don't believe that people will pay for the wrongs they have done and not repented of or that some people won't get a higher reward in the eternities than others? No. But I do believe God loves all of us with a love that we cannot even fathom and that he wants us to be happy more than anything else.
I just feel I'm at an odd place in my life where I'm discovering eternal truths in places I never expected to find them. I love my religion very, very much. It is a huge part of who I am, and there is so much good to be found there. There is also good to be found in other places, too, and I am finding some of that as well.
Recently on another blog I read some comments from someone I presume to be an active member of my church. He was snidely berating a fellow member for choosing to leave the church to more fully accept his being gay. As I read the comments, I was ashamed of his self-righteous, callous attitude and thought to myself, "Jesus wouldn't have dealt with his brother in this manner." Likewise, on the same blog, there was a letter from someone who had served as a bishop along with this man. While he still did not agree with this brother's decision, I found the tone of his letter to be much more loving. My brother wrote me a similar letter when I revealed my relationship with Jonah. We don't have to agree with people's decisions, but there is a much more Christ-like way to handle our disagreements than was evidenced in the comments section of this person's blog.
And the bottom line is each of us has to make our own decisions and do what we feel is best for us, and ultimately that decision is between us and God alone, and we will answer to Him and no one else. The Spirit whispers different things to different people. There are times lately when I feel the Spirit telling me things that on the surface seem contradictory to what I have been taught. But what I have to realize is that God sees the whole picture whereas we as humans only see parts, and sometimes what is best for us is not always to be found in your standard "Sunday School answers." God told us not to kill, but there are many examples in the scriptures where God commanded someone to kill for a higher purpose (Nephi killing Laban, for example, or the numerous holy wars in the Old Testament and Book of Mormon). God told Adam and Eve to multiply and replenish the earth, but he also told them not to eat from the tree of Knowledge, two seemingly contradictory commandments.
Perhaps I'm rationalizing or trying to justify my own actions. I'm not beyond admitting that. But all I'm saying is that what appears to be the cookie-cutter right answer for some may not work for others, and what God allows a person to do may actually have positive results even if it goes against the grain of what is expected.
I had a really interesting lunch with a friend of mine. I told her about Jonah and me, and she was very happy for us. When I met her seven years ago, she was an active member of the church married to an active husband with an active family. They were doing all the "right" things, but she was miserable. Her marriage was in trouble and she was not happy. She has since left the church and remarried a wonderful guy and has started a new business and adopted some new beliefs, and frankly, I've never seen her happier. I remember being sad when she left the church, but the more I saw how happy she was, the more I was confused by how leaving the church that was supposed to help her achieve a greater joy actually was bringing her more joy (in this life, at least). Like me, she holds no bitterness or anger towards the church. Life is what it is. Am I saying that her path is right for everybody? Not at all. But it seems to have worked out very well for her. Some people find what they need in their religion. Some don't and need to find it elsewhere. There are many questions and concerns that I have that I can't find answers to where I'm told they will be. I have done all the things I have been asked to do, and I'm simply not able to do what is required of me. There has to come a time when you say, "This just isn't working for me. Let me try something else." And perhaps in doing that thing, you will discover what brings you the most joy.
It is a hard thought to think about leaving the LDS church (although I know it will never leave me), but it may come to that. Not because I want to, but because I might have to. I truly have nothing but kind words for my religion. And I know that my relationship with God is still good no matter what I choose to do.
You know, I was thinking about how excited I am to be in this relationship with Jonah. I dawned on me that if Jonah were a woman, I could share this news with all my friends and they would be excited and happy for me. But because this is a homosexual relationship, I know there are some (not all, by any means) who will be saddened and disappointed by the news. And I thought, "What difference does it make what sex a person is?" All I know is I've found the person of my dreams, and I'm happy with him. I just wish all people could see the love and look past what they perceive to be a sin.
I'm getting better at doing that myself. I don't feel as guilty as I once did exploring these feelings I've never allowed myself to previously explore, and I think in time I'm going to realize that all the guilt and fear were needless and didn't come from God in the first place. I'm just glad I've taken everything at a slow, thoughtful pace and didn't rush into anything before I was ready to face it.
I hope all of you in blogland are well and that I haven't said anything to upset or offend anyway. This is just what I'm feeling lately.