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  Chapter 8: It's Not Fair! 
Kate parked her Honda in the shade of the old elm tree and turned to look at her dawn gray house framed by a pair of elegant blue spruce. A profusion of deep purple blooms covered the clematis vine that trailed across the porch. 

With a sigh, she got out of the car, opened the mailbox, and retrieved a big bundle of mail. She carried it up the flagstone path and dropped into the white wicker rocking chair on the porch. Closing her eyes and gently pushing the rocker with her foot, Kate felt the day's tensions slowly drain away. 

She was aware of a loud, pulsating purr a split second before a small, warm body landed in her lap with a plop. She looked down at the black cat stretching and purring ecstatically. "Oh, Beethoven, did you miss me?" she crooned, rubbing the hard little head. 

After a bit, she put Beethoven down and went into the house. Michael was in California for a week, and the house was too quiet. As she turned on the radio, set to her favorite classical music station, the clean precision of a Bach fugue played on a guitar filled the kitchen. Kate sat down at the table to go through the mail. Preliminary sorting revealed a manila envelope covered with Danny's scrawling handwriting. Eagerly, she opened it. 

Inside was a book and a folded sheet of paper. She glanced quickly at the book, Annie on My Mind, then opened the letter. 

"Dear Mom," she read. 

I know this letter is going to disappoint, and even hurt, you, but I don't want to have to hide things from you anymore. 

For most of my life, I have felt different from other people-like I was on the outside, looking in. You can't possibly imagine how comforting and affirming it has been to become acquainted with some people who are like me. It was like meeting up with some long-lost relatives. I met them when I went to Kinship Kampmeeting last June. 

Mom, I feel such a sense of relief now that I have decided to be myself, free and honest. No more hiding and pretending to be something I'm not. I still want the same things I was hoping for with Angie. But Angie wasn't right for me. Someday I'm going to have a great relationship with someone. We'll wash dishes together, discuss a book on a car trip to the relatives, have our fights and resolve them, grouse at each other after a horrible day at work and laugh at ourselves afterward; we'll grow old together. After a long night of writing on a book, I want to climb into bed and lean my aching shoulders back with a sigh against his warm chest. We'll say "I love you" to each other and know we mean it past anything, through anything, forever... 

And having said that, I'd like to tell you that, while I was at Kinship Kampmeeting, I met someone who might become an important part of my life. His name is Mike Sheldon. He came up just for the weekend, and we immediately caught each other's eye. We sat together during vespers and took a walk afterward. We had quite a talk, and I hope you won't mind if I share some of it with you. 

Mike told me he wasn't interested in casual affairs. "I'm a relationship kind of guy," he told me. "I like to take things slowly. I can live by myself if I have to. I just want to have a normal relationship with a person I can love and who will love and respect me and who wants to be committed." 

I thought, Hallelujah! He sounds like my kind of guy. I know you'd like him, Mom. He's mature, wholesome, sensitive, romantic, sincere, honest, and knows where he's going. 

At any rate, before Kampmeeting was over, we agreed to write, and we've averaged about two letters and three or four phone calls a week since then. It's been an exciting time for both of us, and we've gotten to know each other very well, even though it has been long distance. I never realized how wonderful it could be getting to know someone at this level. 

At this point, I don't know if we will end up establishing a permanent relationship or not, but this experience has confirmed my belief that a homosexual relationship is no different from a heterosexual one. There are the same misunderstandings, the same rapture, the same need for commitment, the same ordinary everydayness of it all! I'm planning to go up to Portland to see Mike next weekend, and maybe we will make a decision about our future. 

Mom, I'll be honest. I feel very anxious about telling you this, but I want to be able to be open about the things that are important in my life. I'm interested in what you do, and I believe you're interested in my life too. Besides, you'd probably learn about it sooner or later, and I want to be the one to tell you. I don't have any illusions that you'll be thrilled! But then, although it would really be nice if you were able to get excited about such things with me, my true satisfaction and worth come from within; others' approval is just icing on the cake. 

I know you're still hoping I can change, but I can't. God knows I've tried long enough. Read this book, Mommy. I hope it will help you understand me better. 

Your loving son, 


Kate's eyes were blinded with tears before she got to the end of the letter. She felt as if someone had just dealt her a stunning blow, as if her last hope had just been snatched away. 

Until this moment, she had still cherished the hope that Danny might be able to change, or at least would not choose a gay lifestyle. Her mind rejected what he was saying. yet her heart ached over his obvious yearning for understanding. What a cruel dilemma he faced! 

For a moment, anger flared in her heart. How could God allow someone so dear, someone with so much potential, to be handicapped with such a terrible problem? It isn't fair! 

No, whispered another part of her mind, none of the results of sin are fair. But God is not the author of sin; it's Satan who causes all the sorrow and misery in the world. 

But why doesn't God do something about it? her heart cried out. Think of the pain Danny has had to suffer all these years alone, from the time he was just a little boy. And I didn't know anything about it! I couldn't help him! Maybe I even made it worse for him?

With a pang, Kate recalled an evening a couple of years earlier when Michael, Danny, and she had been sitting in the family room watching the news on TV. One of the news stories had been about a gay-rights parade on the Mall in Washington, D.C. The camera had zoomed in close on two young men walking with their arms around each other's waists. Realizing they were on camera, they had kissed. 

"Oh, gross!" Kate had exclaimed, aversion obvious in her voice. Now, for the first time, it occurred to her how that must have sounded to Danny. Although, at that point, he probably had not even been close to choosing a gay lifestyle, he couldn't help realizing that his mother had been repulsed by people who were like him. And those young men on TV? Looking back, she had to admit that they had been clean-cut, nice-looking boys. Perhaps they hadn't been so different from Danny. 

For long moments, Kate sat with her head bowed, lost in grief and despair. At last, she lifted her head and listlessly picked up the book Danny had sent, and another folded paper fell out. Opening it, she saw it was a poem. 

I Long for Angela 

Yet I would bend my tired forehead 
to a man's shoulder, 
feeling the press of his warm flesh 
shaped and held by firm and gentle muscles, 
and inhaling the strong comfort of his scent. 

I would share them both 
yet I have neither: 

To remember Angela is to pain 
her free joy, 
winsome petulance; 
she was innocent! 
so dependent!

And to think on him is to ache. 

I am sad with a resonance that all throbs my soul.

Kate burst into groaning sobs. Was there no end to the pain? She felt an overwhelming longing for comfort and sympathy in this wrenching sorrow, but to whom could she turn? Michael didn't want to talk about it. Greg and Laura were out of town. Her parents, on whom she had always counted for understanding, would also be devastated. A friend? She still shrank from revealing this to anyone. It was as if, since Danny had "come out of the closet," she had taken his place in it. 

In an unconscious effort to deaden the pain, Kate took a box of crackers out of the cupboard and began munching as she moved around the kitchen, picking things up and putting them down aimlessly. Eventually she remembered that it was Wednesday evening, time for Midweek Manna, the small prayer-and-Bible-study group that she had recently joined. 

She recoiled from the thought of facing anybody, but her need for some kind of human warmth was great, so she washed her face, brushed her salt-and-pepper hair, picked up her Bible, and walked out through the violet dusk to her car. A pale yellow harvest moon hung in the sky as she drove to church. Bruised and battered though she felt, a quiet peace stole into her heart as she looked at its serene beauty. 

Hurrying into the committee room, she slipped quietly into a chair. Half a dozen women and two men were already seated around the long table. How many of them are hiding an aching heart? Kate wondered. 

As if he had been waiting for her, Dave, the pastor, opened the meeting with prayer. They were studying the book of Mark, and Dave read the passage under discussion, verses 14 to 32 of chapter 9. It was the story of the man who had brought his son to the disciples to have his evil spirit cast out, only to find them unable to meet his need. 

When Jesus appeared on the scene, the man turned to him and pleaded, "If you can do anything, take pity on us and help us." 

"Everything is possible for him who believes,'" Jesus answered. Sensing his need, the man cried out, "I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief." 

Tears sprang to Kate's eyes as she echoed the man's words in her heart. Shielding her tear-filled eyes from view with her hand, she fixed her gaze on the Bible lying in front of her. Lord, I can't imagine how You can bring anything good out of this situation, but I want to believe that You can, she whispered in her heart. Please help me with my lack of faith. The discussion flowed around her, but she didn't take part, not trusting her voice. 

"Are there any requests for prayer?" Dave asked at the end of the discussion. Kate yearned to share her burden, but her voice seemed paralyzed. 

After several others had spoken, Dave asked, "Any unspoken requests?" Thankfully, Kate raised her hand. 

During prayer, Kate pulled a tissue out of her pocket, wiped her eyes, and blew her nose. When it was over, she closed her Bible and prepared to slip out quickly, but before she got to the door, she felt a hand on her arm. 

"What's the matter, Kate?" Dave asked gently. Kate looked down as the others left, trying to keep from crying again. 

At last, without looking up, she said softly, "I got a letter from Danny today. I've been hoping and praying that somehow God would change him or help him to live a celibate life, but his letter told me that he wants to spend his life with a man." 

"Kate, we all make wrong choices from time to time," Dave said understandingly. "Danny is dealing with a very difficult situation. Maybe that's the only way out he can see right now. But no decision is final. He may have made the wrong choice this time, but God doesn't give up on him just because of that. God has a thousand ways of working with Danny that we can't even imagine. Let's keep on praying for him and trust God to be the 'Hound of Heaven,' staying on his trail as long as it takes to bring him back." 

The thought warmed Kate's heart. "Thanks, Dave," she murmured gratefully. "I'm glad I came tonight; I almost didn't." Dave patted her shoulder encouragingly as she turned to go. 

Back home, she picked up the book Danny had sent. What kind of book would it be? She felt reluctant to read it, but she was sure Danny had chosen it carefully, wanting to help them understand him. He was a thoughtful, sensitive boy: he wouldn't send them a book that would be offensive. 

Slowly, she began reading. To her surprise, she found it was a story of two girls who became very close friends and eventually realized they were in love with each other. Somehow, that seemed easier to read about than if it had been two boys. It was a very sensitively written story, and the struggles the girls went through in dealing with their feelings gave her some insight into what Danny might have experienced. 

Even though she couldn't agree with the conclusion the book came to, which approved of the relationship, she could feel more understanding and sympathy for boys and girls who felt the same kind of attraction for someone of their own sex that others would feel for someone of the opposite sex. Unless one were convinced that God had forbidden His children to have such relationships for their own good, only the conventions of society would be a deterrent. And even for someone like Danny, who had been raised to love and obey God, not being able to talk to anyone about his strong sexual feelings could lead to confusion and doubts. 

It was 1:00 a.m. when Kate finished the book and turned off her lamp. Lying there in the darkness, exhausted from the emotions of the day, she turned Danny over to God and, for the first time in months, fell into a deep sleep. 

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