I don't understand people who have hope, or who don't see the world through the eyes of a cynic. It does not make sense to me that, when there is so much bad in the world, people can think positively. Even positively for change.
I went camping to Cypress Hills this past weekend with one of my closest friends. We discuss a lot of stuff. He vocalized this weekend that he decided, a long time ago, that he is incapable of providing wisdom in our relationship because he simply can't be aware of what it is like to be gay and the enormous challenges that it demands.
But he always manages to make me think - despite his apparent lack of wisdom.
We often have many topics to discuss. Homosexuality tends to be the commanding theme, but sometimes we discuss concerns about spirituality. This weekend we managed to discuss worship, and Hope. I actually managed to have a discussion about hope.
My friend, eternally wise and positive-thinking, asked me what provides me with hope in this world. The list was small, and focused on the enormously selfish reality that I am gay, but let me try and re-create it here.
- I was able to talk to him, a deeply spiritual and undeniably Christian person, with complete openness despite the fact that he knows of my sexuality. We could go camping together. He trusted me enough to stay in the same tent as me.
- I have many other friends that know I am gay. One had it confirmed through this blog. All but one have remained my friends, and the one who was lost remains an acquaintance.
- I can remember the specific date when Jean Chretien managed to have marriage redefined in Canada to include the union of same sex couples. I was in high school. And I celebrated very privately, and entirely internally. I am certain that I walked around for week with a smile.
Imagine that this part of the conversation took about five minutes and you would be correct. They were quickly segued into reasons to be filled with despair. For an hour and a half.
- I can also remember every moment in my life that I have been told that being gay is something that somebody doesn't admit. Once was in the back seat of my car, trying to tell my brother and father a joke where, because of somebody's dick size, they discover they are gay. They both told me that nobody would admit to be being gay.
- I can also remember the debates that took place when Chretien was putting forward his new law for marriage redefinition. People debating the morality of it. The morality of gay people, and their capacity to participate in a single relationship.
- I know that I have to tell a lot of people still. People that will end our relationship as a result. I can't even begin to presume how my grandma will react. My parents. One of my best friends, recently engaged and just finishing her work term in Calgary, who has often told me about how immoral homosexual people are.
- After I do come out, I will be removed from my church, and there will be suspicions about my relationships with some of the youth in the ministry. Because my conduct as a gay man is instantly more suspicious than my conduct as a straight man. Because we are less moral.
- I won't ever be able to participate in youth ministry again, something that I have a great passion for because of the relationships that develop. I want to go back to camp next year, despite my disbelief, because I have a vision for what that place can become. But I won't be allowed to.
- I can expect to have a harder time finding a job teaching than my straight counterpart. The entire time I will be teaching, I will have to be more aware of my conduct than straight teachers, because I will more easily accused.
This continued for 90 minutes.
In essence, my life from now on becomes a life of defensive strategies. Moreso than ever before. And I have to be more understanding of why I am "oppressed" than the "oppressor" is expected to understand me. I have to know why people will dislike me.
My friend, eternally wise and positive-thinking, at this point told me that he had no wisdom to offer.
And then, on the drive home yesterday, as the residue of this conversation crept in, my friend reminded me of the things that brought me Hope.
Essentially, there is so much in the world that sucks the life out of somebody. So much that can cause despair, and so few things that can lift us out of this despair. Particularly when we are lonely. But we should still remember those things, however few they are, that bring us hope.
And then I realized that I was happy. Happy with somebody who knew me as well, and better, than almost anybody else on this planet. This man knew me, and loved me as I was. I was not just enjoying myself. I was happy.
And if my friend, eternally wise and positive-thinking, can make me happy, maybe he understands hope a bit better than I do.