I started counseling with a local psychotherapist in hopes of hashing out some of my distress. In a robotic tone, I recalled what had happened in my childhood up until the massage therapy event. I knew my story well and did not hesitate to share. I did not want to waste my hundred- dollar session.
The psychotherapist affirmed gay relationships, and with hesitation, he told me he was not confident I was a homosexual, but only struggled with masculinity. In a strange way, this confirmed the vision Jonas had and whatever shift Wade saw in me years ago in that basement apartment. It also stirred up a lot of emotion wondering if the past twenty years of wrestling meant anything. Or maybe the psychotherapist saw the result of a twenty year surrender and hardship.
He pointed out, a lot of singles found community in the LGBT community versus the family-orientated church atmosphere.
The psychotherapist, in his light blue cardigan, sat in his oversized chair and affirmed who I was as a person. A lot of single folks, who attend Asbury Seminary, would come to him to discuss sexuality issues. Some were homosexuals and others were simply lonely. He pointed out, a lot of singles found community in the LGBT community versus the family-orientated church atmosphere. Church single groups often edify young twenty-somethings. But those in their thirties and beyond needed to be coupled up before getting too old to bear children. Sadly, the saying “Come as you are” really pertained to those within the LGBT world, because they understand what it means to be marginalized. The majority in the American Church never felt this kind of tension.
Thirty somethings should not have roommates. At least that’s what I was told. For the first time, I moved into a one bedroom apartment to live alone. I settled into a hipster apartment appropriately titled “The Retro.” The lime green and grey walls did not match my interior decorating style. Well, if I had one, it would not be this, but the large windows filling the whole wall let in the light that I needed most during the winter.
The Lord told me not to purchase any furniture, so I had mismatched pieces given to me by different friends and strangers. I felt the tension of acting like a college student by not purchasing my own belongings and choosing to live in a rougher neighborhood, but I decided the cheap rent plus the close proximity to taco trucks made it worth it.
I laid on a burgundy couch given to me by a friend who was moving to Japan. The noonday sun hit my face as I recovered from working multiple twelve hour shifts in the emergency department. I pulled out my phone and scrolled through my Facebook newsfeed like every bored person in the twenty-first century would do.
A particular picture caught my eye - someone I had not seen since Nate’s wedding in upstate New York. Maria, with her olive skin tone and shorter hair, posed in a photo with her acoustic guitar. She and I lost touch somehow as she made her way to Nashville to pursue a career in music. She posted multiple articles of her new music being featured on NPR and other national news links. Despite all odds, she had made it. I kept scrolling further down to see another photo. Maria stood there with another woman, whom she proudly declared as her lifetime partner. Maria got all that she wanted.
How long did someone need to wait for the sexual orientation to change or those desires to completely go away to find a life partner?
I was neither hurt nor disappointed. I could understand her change of heart from years prior. How long did someone need to wait for the sexual orientation to change or those desires to completely go away to find a life partner? Would those days actually ever come? Maria certainly was not the first I knew of to leave her original orthodox thinking of gay desires. Several college friends were in same-sex relationships. New friends in Kentucky made the same shift.
I could understand. Loneliness and waiting painfully marked most of my days. I worked a lot to avoid coming home to an empty place. I spent most of my paychecks eating out because who wants to cook for one? I stopped calling certain friends to hang out on the weekend only to be told they were hanging out with another couple to go on a double date. Singlehood in the Church, especially as a celibate gay, was one of the loneliest places. I deeply understood Maria’s need to find love and attachment.
I recalled my sessions with the psychotherapist after I stopped looking through Maria’s feed. I felt saddened by my discussion with him. It seemed like the Church had a long way to go in meeting folks where they were and being the light of Christ. Still, I kept fighting for my place within it and held onto sexuality questions I did not want to let go of. Why did some go into same sex relationships? Why did others remain celibate and yet call themselves gay Christians? Why did others go into mixed-orientation relationships knowing how difficult and painful it could be? Why did God let sexuality become so skewed in our society? And how long must I wait for whoever to come?
I closed my eyes as the Lord took me into a vision to process all of my questions.
An open cardboard box sat alone in a black room. Capital letters labeled the box, “SEXUALITY.” A ten-year-old version of myself walked over to the box and stuck his head inside. I pulled out a baseball bat, a Raggedy Andy doll and a few other toys. Colorful bouncy balls rolled across the floor as I kept digging deeper. In desperation, I held the box over my head and shook it. Nothing else came out. With satisfaction, I folded the box and walked out of the room as I dragged the box with me.
In desperation, I held the box over my head and shook it. Nothing else came out.
A present-day version of me stood there waiting with Jesus as the ten-year-old entered the next room. He handed the box to Jesus as my older self bent down to greet the ten-year-old. We smiled at each other, hugged and integrated with one another to become one. I took a deep breath, stood up and turned around to have Jesus looking at me. His face radiated gentleness and favor. I felt no shame in his presence. Only the full acceptance and inclusion I had been longing for.
Jesus placed one of his hands on my shoulder and stated, “You have no more questions to ask about your sexuality. The questions may try to come. Remember what I have done and will do.”
Jesus placed the box a few feet from us. The box engulfed in flames from the holy fire in Jesus’ eyes. In silence, we held hands to watch the box labeled sexuality burn. In that moment, the weight of figuring out my sexuality and what it meant ended.
Even more so, each time I had a vision or dream of her, it felt like coming home.
Over the next several weeks, I started to have visions of her again. The color of her hair changed. She was not a blonde, but this time a brunette. I guessed she fancied getting a new hair color. I already liked this about her. Even more so, each time I had a vision or dream of her, it felt like coming home.
Jesus reminded me to keep waiting, for the time to meet her would come.
And so, I kept waiting.