|Chapter 3: What Is a Homosexual?|
|GLOWhome||The room was dark when at last
Kate became aware of her surroundings. Slowly, she heaved herself to a
sitting position. Everything seemed so unreal. She sat there
lethargically, wondering if she would ever have the energy to get up.
After several long moments, she dragged herself over to her computer and
turned it on.
I have to write to Danny, she thought. He needs to know that we still love him anyway.
How could this terrible thing have happened? Danny, a homosexual? But that can't be! Danny's not like that. What is a homosexual, anyway?
What do I really know about homosexuals? Kate wondered. She remembered reading about gay bathhouses in Newsweek and seeing men walking arm in arm in a gay-pride march on television. She remembered driving through an area of San Francisco where men walked the streets dressed like women. But she couldn't reconcile these pictures with the gentle, sensitive boy she knew Danny was, in spite of his childhood love for dressing up. Scenes flashed through her mind.
She pictured Danny's bright, eager face on the front row of the children's class at church through all her years of being a leader. He had always been her most enthusiastic participant, the first to respond when she asked for volunteers, a willing pupil when her teachers practiced telling the Bible story.
She remembered how five-year-old Danny had started a Bible Story hour of his own for some of the Chinese children in the neighboring kampong, or village. He and Julie, the little girl next door, had gone down to the kampong to give the children their old church papers. Then Danny began inviting them home so he could teach them songs and tell them Bible stories, using Kate's flannel board. Sometimes he took them for a nature walk, learnedly discoursing on birds, butterflies, and trees. He kept it up for several months, until two of the little girls began attending church with him.
She thought of Danny, at nine, faithfully attending every meeting of a revival series held by a well-known evangelist from the States. When a call was made for those who wanted to give their hearts to God, Danny was one of the first to respond, walking alone to the front of the church. Kate remembered her tears of joy as Michael and Danny stood in the baptistry a year later. Baptizing his three sons had been among the highlights of Michael's life.
Even in high school, Danny had reached out enthusiastically to others, organizing singing groups for the hospital patients, giving out religious literature in the neighboring high-rises, or being involved in other witnessing activities.
How is it possible that Danny could be so sensitive to spiritual things and also be a homosexual? Kate wondered. She realized that she had always thought of homosexuals as being perverted, obsessed with sex, but that picture couldn't be completely accurate if Danny was a homosexual.
Kate had always felt especially close to Danny because of the love they shared for music, writing, art, and poetry. How could she not have known? What signs had there been that she had missed? Had he been attracted to boys before?
Kate's forehead wrinkled in concentration as she tried to remember. Danny had dated in high school. With a smile, she recalled the Boys' Club banquet during his freshman year at the small boarding school for missionaries' children in Singapore. There had been more girls than boys, and Danny, waiting until all the other boys had dates, had asked the nine girls who were left if he could escort them. He had given each of them a long-stemmed red rose, and Danny and his dates had been seated at a table in the center of the room.
Danny had always had lots of good friends who were girls, but, Kate now realized, they had been more like sisters than romantic interests. Except for Angela. Surely she had seen tenderness and love between Danny and Angela.
But there had been boys.... When Alex graduated from academy and returned to the States for college, they had all missed him, but it had been especially hard on Danny. And then, two years later, Brenden had left for college too, and Danny had really been lonesome with both his brothers gone.
Even though he was only twelve at the time, he began hanging around the older high-school students. And soon Kate began to hear a lot about Melvin, a high-school junior, one of the spiritual leaders in the school, a nice boy in every way. He took Danny under his wing. Kate was glad Danny had found someone to take the place of his brothers.
Two years later, when Danny started high school, he became especially attached to Kevin, a senior who was a solid Christian, a good student, and one of the school leaders. Kate remembered that she had been happy Danny chose such good friends. After Kevin graduated, Danny's best friend had been Mitch. And then, in his senior year, there had been Max. At the time, Kate had thought they were just special friends, but now she wondered. Had there been something more in Danny's feelings for these boys?
With an effort, Kate brought her thoughts back to the present. She stared at her blank computer screen. What could she say to Danny? Had he been struggling with unacceptable feelings for years without her being aware of it? How did he feel now? What had Pastor Wright meant about not pushing him into a lifestyle neither of them would want? What was a homosexual, anyway? Clearly, she needed to learn more about homosexuality, because her preconceived ideas did not seem to fit the picture.
For now, she forced herself to concentrate on the task at hand. "Dear Danny," she finally typed. "For several days a question has been heavy on my heart, but I could not find the courage to ask you. This afternoon I finally decided to call Pastor Wright. I told him what I suspected and asked him if I should talk to you about it. Before I say anymore, I want to tell you that I love you with all my heart, and nothing can ever change that.
"Oh, Danny, my heart aches so for you. I know that you must have struggled and agonized over this for a long time. I wish it hadn't taken me so long to see it, but maybe you can understand that my natural inclination was to deny the hints as long as possible. If only I had recognized it sooner, maybe we could have worked it through before it became so big.
"Danny, you don't have to face this alone. If you are willing, I think it would be good for us to talk this over openly and honestly. Maybe it would help both of us to understand why and how this has happened. I guess some people think this is something that can't be changed, but others believe it can be if you are willing to let God help.
"Danny, whatever happens, I hope you won't come to the place where you give up and decide to change to another lifestyle. God CAN save us from any sin that enslaves us if we let Him. And as much as Daddy and I love you, God loves you so much more."
Tears were streaming down Kate's face as she printed the letter and put it in an envelope. She longed to see Danny right now, to find out what he was thinking and feeling, but she would have to wait.
The next day, Kate had difficulty concentrating on her work. She felt numb, but at the same time, she felt an urgent need to learn more about homosexuality. She had no idea how to go about it. She certainly couldn't talk to anyone. Homosexuality was simply not a subject that was discussed by her circle of friends.
She didn't even know where to look for a book about it, and if she found one, she didn't think she would have the nerve to buy it or check it out of a library.
After lunch she had to deliver a report to someone upstairs. Suddenly, she had an idea.
Trying to appear more casual than she felt, Kate poked her head in the door of the Family Life office. Jennie, the director's secretary, was standing at the file cabinet.
"Hi, Jennie," Kate greeted her. "I have a problem. Maybe you can help me. I have a friend who just found out her son is gay. She's terribly upset, and I thought maybe I could find something for her to read that would help. Can you give me any suggestions?" Kate was amazed at the ease with which her request slipped out.
"Sure, Kate," Jennie answered sympathetically, straightening up and going over to a tall cupboard at one end of the office. "We have some material here in the department." She took out a small booklet and some mimeographed pages and handed them to Kate.
"There's a bibliography at the end of this, if she would like to get some more information. And tell your friend she's not alone. A lot of parents in our church have gone through the same thing. She's lucky she has you to talk to. Most people feel like there's nobody they can talk to."
"Thanks. I'll tell her," replied Kate, feeling a twinge of conscience at her misrepresentation. Suddenly self-conscious, she quickly said goodbye and slipped away. She could hardly wait till time to go home so she could read the material Jennie had given her.
When she left the office that afternoon, Kate scarcely noticed the thick gray clouds overhead or the damp spring breeze that whipped at her jacket as she hurried to the car. Driving home, she thought about Jennie's remark, "A lot of parents in our church have gone through the same thing." Somehow, there was comfort in knowing she was not the only one facing this heartache. But how would she ever be able to find anyone who shared her sorrow? She couldn't imagine ever having the courage to talk openly about it. And if there were others, they must feel the same way.
When she got home, Kate hurried into the house. Quickly she changed into her comfortable robe and slippers, poured a glass of milk, and dropped into Michael's favorite chair expectantly. At last she could begin to understand what had happened to Danny.
As rain beat furiously at the window, she turned on the lamp against the sudden gloom. She picked up the little green booklet. The title, in yellow letters, read Freedom From Homosexuality. She turned to the first page.
"This book is for the person who wants to be released from the prison of homosexuality. I have experienced this freedom myself for the past eight years," Kate read. That certainly sounded hopeful!
She read on as she sipped at her milk. "You can change your feelings and behavior by changing your way of thinking." Kate frowned. Surely Danny's problem wasn't caused by wrong thinking, was it?
Homosexuality, the author declared, was really an unconscious effort to find the affection and closeness that a person had not experienced with his father as a child. In addition, he continued, the hurt from not getting the love he needed caused a person to feel unworthy of love and to block any further possibility of receiving love, for fear of being hurt again. As a result, he never found his identity as a man. And not only did he block out human love, but God's love as well, distorting his spiritual, as well as emotional, thinking.
Kate drew a deep breath. It sounded logical, but did it fit Danny's situation? While she couldn't deny that Michael had been gone a lot during Danny's childhood, it was difficult to believe that Danny had felt unloved by him.
Reading further, Kate grew more comfortable as the author placed homosexuality squarely within the conflict between the powers of good and evil, presenting God's grace as the power that could overthrow Satan's forces, which caused homosexuality. The homosexual, he said, must exercise faith and believe that God had created him as a heterosexual, even though he did not feel like one. "Celebrate your sexuality!" he urged. "It is not your sexuality that is sin, but your misuse of it."
When she had finished reading the booklet, Kate forgot her earlier misgivings. She would have to show it to Danny. Surely he would be happy to realize that there was a way out.
As Kate took her glass to the kitchen, she passed Danny and Angela's quilt, still on its frame in front of the window, where it had been sitting untouched since the day Danny had called to announce his broken engagement.
Putting her glass in the sink, Kate slowly retraced her steps until she stood looking down at the quilt. She reached out to touch it, and sudden tears rained down as a storm of weeping shook her. She dropped into the rocking chair beside the quilt until her tears subsided.
She began to rock as she gazed at the symbol of her broken dreams. At
last, with a sigh, she loosened the quilt from its frame, shook it out,
and gently folded it. Climbing the stairs, she laid it carefully in the
bottom of her carved teak blanket chest. A bleak feeling of desolation
swept her, as if she had buried a dream.
Sunday was family phone day. Kate wondered if Danny had gotten her letter. Would he call, or should she call him? After lunch she decided she couldn't wait any longer and dialed Danny's dorm room.
"Hi, Danny. How are you?" Kate hoped her voice sounded normal.
"Hi, Mom. I'm fine."
Hesitantly, she asked, "Did you get my letter?"
After Danny's noncommittal response, Kate paused.
"Danny, how did it make you feel?"
Danny was silent for a long moment. "Well, I was pretty shaken up at first, but now I guess I'm glad you found out without my having to tell you. Actually, I've been trying to get up my nerve to tell you for quite a while, but I kept putting it off. I..." Danny hesitated. "Are you going to tell Dad?"
"Do you want me to? Or would you rather tell him?"
"I'm not sure I'm ready yet. But if you think he needs to know, I guess it's OK with me if you want to tell him."
"Well, maybe we'll play it by ear," Kate said uneasily. "Danny, I've been wondering....have you talked to a pastor or anybody about this?"
"Mom, I know you're just finding out about it, but I've known I was different ever since I was a little boy," Danny answered with a hint of impatience in his voice. "Yes, I spent many hours discussing it with Pastor Carson in high school, and I have talked to one of the Bible teachers here at college quite a bit.
"Mom, ever since I was in seventh grade and found out the name for what was different about me, I have prayed and prayed that God would change me, but He hasn't, so I have finally had to accept myself for what I am so I can get on with the business of living."
Tears filled Kate's eyes at the pain and hurt Danny expressed. "Oh, Danny, I don't know very much about this, but I believe with all my heart that God loves you and wants to help you. Please don't give up on God."
"Well, I don't think I have given up on God, but I have to believe that since He didn't change me, He understands that I'm the way I am. I didn't ask to be this way, and I sure spent a lot of years of my life trying to change, but I can't waste the rest of my life that way. I've got to be who I am." Kate was startled by the ragged edge of anger in Danny's voice.
After a pause, he continued, "But, Mom, I want you to know how glad I am to know you still love me." His voice faltered. "I was sure you would, but I was afraid to test it."
"Oh, Danny," Kate said with a sob, "of course I still love you. This doesn't change anything. You're still my dear son, and I'm praying for you every minute." Kate blew her nose. "Have you gotten your plane ticket for next week?"
"Yeah," Danny answered. "I'm supposed to get in at Dulles about 8:30. The flight to BWI was full....Will Dad be home?"
"No, he's still in South America and won't get back for two weeks yet. Danny, maybe we can talk some more while you're home."
"OK. 'Bye, Mom. It'll be good to see you.
"Bye, Danny," Kate said. Then, with a desperate attempt to bring everything back to normal, she added, "And don't lose your plane ticket!"
Danny's welcome laughter rang in Kate's ears as she hung up.
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