Sometimes life is found in the negative space. That area that exists somewhere between the seeking and the longing. Our eyes turn in one direction thinking that there we must surely find our hearts treasure; only to discover that it, too, is a desert place. We turn a 180 thinking that perhaps it is just over the far horizon. We strive and abandon all restraint to get to that place… only to once again discover that it is not all we had hoped it would be…. We spend our life wandering too and fro over the earth seeking that home that should be ours, that place of belonging that others take for granted yet we find so elusive. Is it any wonder that many of us give up on the task, or that we are even afraid to begin?
I think that the essence lies not in the destination, but in the journey. Our hearts desire – though we think it first here, then over there, is in fact at neither place. In moments when we are truly honest with ourselves I think that we would admit that we don’t have a clue about ourselves, let alone about who would complete us; and it is in that realization that we finally give up on the destination and concentrate on the journey.
So many of us gay men are stuck… simply stuck. Journeying from one relationship to another. Ever afraid of discovering what it is that the negative space will reveal. And when we begin to get glimpses of what is there we abandon that relationship for another… and another… and another….Never realizing that if we can never get comfortable with ourselves and what is in that space we will never be comfortable with another.
If I cannot reveal the true me to myself, I will never reveal the true me to another. I will doom myself to purgatory, the endless quest to expunge myself of what I cannot face.
When I face the true me and quell the need to continually change direction… there I find grace. The ability to have what I not only want, but what I really need. Those not necessarily being the same.
My journey has been long. The quest has been difficult. So many changes in direction. So many different horizons to obtain. Communal living, bible college, street ministry, seminary, teaching, pastoring, counseling, working in prison. Reparative therapy, believing that I only had to marry to become a real boy – a straight man. Living on the down low, having multitudes of nameless partners. Trying to live in the inherent lack of integrity that a CLR brings. Finally grieving and believing that all I ever would get would be this half measure that was no measure at all….
This road is not for loosers. It is not for the faint of heart, or for those that lack courage. It takes every ounce of strength that we have. It involves death… and life… It involves seeing ourselves as we truly are… needy, hungry, naked, poor… desperately seeking love and acceptance and causing harm to those we love despite all we do. It involves seeing that endless cycling through relationships for what it is… seeing the options that others so loudly proclaim as being valid for what they really are… dirty, ripped, torn and wholly unworthy of the character we so desire.
Sounds like fun? It’s not. Sounds like something we don’t want to live? It is exactly what we must do… live through it and into it, and eventually beyond. It sounds like a loosing proposition to the perpetual indulgence of our baser selves. Depressing. Perhaps immoral. Wrong.
But it it the only path to freedom. The only path to grace. The only option that allows us to face what we are and move beyond – the only path that gets us outside of ourselves so that we can truly be with another man in a relationship that is all we desire. A relationship where love is not based on sexual desirability, or on what YOU can give to me. Love based on the concept that the YOU and the ME are in this life together; that we choose each other and will weather the good and the bad together. Yes we have stepped outside the conventional… and many of us have overthrown all that the straight world proclaims as truth. Only to discover that we have thrown the baby out with the bathwater. There is grace and mercy and true love in the phrase…”in sickness and in health, for richer or poorer… till death do you part.”
I am worth that type of love. That love that gives up all for me and for whom I give up all. It is the love that every gay man seeking a ltr truly wants.
You are worthy of that type of love. Don’t give up. Face the demons, look into the negative space. And find the freedom to be and discover the man that for you will be that love.
Somehow in my journey I think I have found that man and that love. I sorrow that it has taken me fifty years of life to find this man who is himself sixty. I grieve that we have so little time to live this love.
And I rejoice that I have not gone to the grave without knowing this love.