Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Perspective(s)

I would have to say that the past month has been one of the best in recent memory. Actually, the past month has been filled with some of the best memories and best times in a long while. To recount them all might take awhile, but I'm OK with that. I just hope that you're willing to read through them all and feel like sharing along with me. I have resisted returning this blog to more of a journal format, but I could not resist sharing my story through this medium, mostly because I know how powerful story (and narrative) can be in terms of effectively communicating with people.

As many of you know, things have been really that comfortable between my parents and myself since March of 2004. At that time, I chose to leave the church of 5 years and the Pentecostalism of 10-15 years in which I had been living. My mother did NOT take this well, did NOT understand it, and did NOT like what I had done. To be totally candid, my mother told me, on more than one occasion, that, since I had left "the truth," I was not saved anymore and that it hurt her that she wouldn't see me in heaven. Granted, as he is a observant Roman Catholic, my Dad (in the strict Pentecostal sense) isn't going to heaven either, but my Dad is mostly concerned with my mother's emotional well-being. He didn't weigh in on the issue really, but just simply loves my mother (and she loves him equally as much).

But, over the past few months, things have been on the upswing. I have been simply living my life in front of her, not getting into spiritual discussions, but trying my best to live as Christ would in her presence. Actions do speak louder than words and there is no better example of this than the scenario that played out on December 23, 2005. My mother was going through the phone numbers of old friends, making her annual check-ins with people from our family's past 25 years or so. She made a call to a friend living in the Alabama area (I think) to talk about what was going on in their lives, as both women had children very similar in age together.

My mother's friend recounted all of the rather tragic events going on in the lives of her two eldest sons -- 1) the eldest is convinced that he is either homosexual or a woman in a man's body, though he doesn't have any experience in the homosexual/transgendered community; and 2) the second son, due to his severe problem with alcohol abuse, never really started college, dropped out of a trade school, can't seem to keep a job of any kind, and has had run-ins with the law in regards to his behavior when inebriated. And all that my mother can say in comparison is, "N doens't go to church with me anymore."

My mother completed this phone call and immediately came to find me to talk about what had been discussed. She told me that, even though there are days when she still doesn't understand or agree with that I've done, she can't deny the fact that the conversation she just had with her old friend gave her some really important perspective on the situation. She told me that she couldn't even begin to compare or contrast our situation with her friends. Paraphrasing my Mom, she told me, "I had no way of even sympathizing with her over the phone. Her sons are going through and putting her through so much more than I could even imagine. All I can say is that you're not going to church with me and you're involved in a church in Houston. I just needed to tell you that my talk with my friend allowed me to see things through new eyes." And at that time, my Dad walked up and my Mom recounted everything to him, including our just-completed talk about it all.

All I could do as I drove to Houston that afternoon was thank and praise God for what had just happened. After 18-21 months of strange, harsh tension in the house, things just came to a beautiful conclusion, a lovely resolution that we all needed in our heart, lives, and spirits. I've shared this with several of my close friends and they all agree that, as tough as this time has been for me, it has been so necessary and it will allow me to be able to share this story with others, to be able to help others who are going through similar circumstances. And I can simply agree with that statement.

And on a much simpler note, but nearly as noteworthy, I am out of my parents' house and into a room at a friend of mine's house in the NW Houston area. My new locale completes my hard-fought and oft-sought sense of independence from my (self-imposed) tortured existence in a 10'x10' room at my parents' home. It also sets me in an equidistant location between work and church, saving on money for gas and allowing me greater opportunity to spend time with people important to me. I get to begin the year on a high note, with good spirits, and in possession of a great number of options to sift through in relation to how my future unfolds. Seminary anyone? Grad School maybe?

Happy New Year to you all.

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