a compassionate look at gay marriage

Recently my daily calendar had this quote from R.W. Barber:

The Lord’s goodness surrounds us at every moment.  I walk through it almost with difficulty, as through thick grass and flowers.

I am so incredibly grateful for the blessings in my life, blessings that I don’t even always realize that I have.  One of my biggest blessings, and one that I probably take for granted, is the fact that I grew up in a stable, Christian home.  While my parents weren’t perfect, they loved each other, and “divorce” was never a word in our household.  Once, after overhearing my parents have a fight, I asked them, “Will you get a divorce?”  Both of them emphatically said that, NO, they were not going to get a divorce.  So all through my growing up years, I had the certainty that my parents would always be there for me – together.  And they still are together today; this weekend will mark 33 years of marriage for them.

Now I have a family of my own, and JJ and I have established that same firm committment in our own marriage.  During our rocky first year, there were times when we wondered if we’d made a mistake in getting married, but at the same time we knew that we were going to stick together and find ways to make it work.  I absolutely believe that our committment to making our marriage work is what kept us actively looking for solutions to our problems, looking for better ways to communicate, and looking for new ways to show love for each other, even when we didn’t want to.  All that hard work paid off; JJ and I are very attuned to each other today, and we both rely on each other for much of our emotional security.  That all sounds very trite when written out; I guess I just don’t have to words to describe the depth of how we belong to each other.  But I am forever grateful to God for bringing us together in marriage 8 years ago today, and I love that man more than I ever thought possible.

I suspect that we have been envied in our relationship.  Happily married, two healthy kids, the house, the family car, the family meals around the kitchen table, everyone crowded into one bed in the morning – it’s the American Dream, right?  That’s the ideal that everyone wants.

And that ideal, I believe, is one of the things that has propelled the fight to legalize same-sex marriage, the weddings of which are beginning today here in California.  I think that many homosexuals know that something is wrong with their lifestyle, something is missing.  They really wish they could live their lives differently, but after being in the gay lifestyle for so long, how can they leave now?  Who would ever want to be with them after the kind of life they have been leading?  Besides, it’s normal, right?  It’s just sexual orientation, and no one can choose that, right?  The idea of living a “normal lifestyle” is incredibly appealing to them, especially those who have been in long-term relationships.  Perhaps if they could just attain the title of “married,” that would finally make them feel better about their lifestyle and make the feelings of “abnormality” go away.

It’s truly a sad situation.  It’s a lifestyle that’s really difficult to leave once you’re in it for any length of time.  I wish that homosexuality could once again be viewed as a disorder, a disorder that could be compassionately treated with counseling and therapy.  I don’t hate gays – absolutely not!  But I feel very, very sorry for them, sorry that they are stuck in such a downward-spiraling lifestyle, one that brings a higher chance of diseases, one that is without biological children, and one that I would suspect that most gays innately know is not the way people are meant to live.

It pains my heart to realize that so many people have grown up in households unlike mine, households where there wasn’t love and affection and trust and security.  I don’t think people choose to become gay (except perhaps in the arts – I sang with the San Francisc0 Symph0ny Chorus; I saw the recruitment that goes on), but rather it’s a lifestyle that can seem appealing when one grows up in a disfunctional home.  I think about the stable household I grew up in, the stable household my girls are growing up in with JJ and myself, the bountiful blessings in which we are awash every day without even realizing it, and my heart aches for those children whom God has not seen fit to bless in those ways.  Sometimes when I’m rocking and nursing baby J, quiet and calm in her sweet little nursery, the peacefulness of our situation moves me to pray for those infants who are not receiving the love and care and attention that my baby is, and I pray that God will bring good out of evil for those babies’ lives as well.

So, as all the gay weddings begin today, my thoughts are of sadness and compassion.   I’m sad that so many people have had such experiences in life as to make them see a homosexual lifestyle as the best thing for them, and I hope there will be opportunities in my life for me to reach out to people stuck in that lifestyle and help them.  They need love and prayers just as much as anyone else.  And, I see the arrival of gay marriage as another sign of the sin-filled world in which we Christians live, reminding me that the end 0f the world is coming.  And that’s a good thing, because I long to be safe in heaven, free from this “vale of tears,” as the hymn writer puts it.  Heaven is my home, and I’m looking forward to spending an eternity there.  I hope to be able to help many others get there safely, too.