Sunday, December 7, 2008

Never enough of the story

I lay awake thinking of my two recent posts. I know that I search for understanding, and it isn't enough to try to write a few paragraphs and think I've said enough. There are so many issues regarding why mixed-orientation marriages break up, with the predominant result that the straight spouse walks away hating ALL gays. I tried to describe my life - and that is the only view I know - and simplify why I feel like I do.

I've read so many, many e-mails, several letters, and some people who have spoken to me, and they really think that they have a corner on "right." They believe they understand the Bible and that their own interpretation is the only way to view homosexuality. But it is bigger than that. They hold ideas that don't hold up in reality - yet they persist in saying, "Ray is deceived..." or, "Ray has fallen..." etc.

So, yes, my writing about all this is defensive. I want to set the record straight, and there is little way to do that. My words seem to be ineffective, and I don't trust my ability to say what I want to say. I have this little blog, and I hesitate about how personal to be. I start, then I worry that I'll be criticized - and I don't want to chicken out. I'm leaving the posts as I wrote them.

10 comments:

petersontoscano said...

Carol, I have been reading your posts with wonder. I so appreciate your honesty, your fearlessness and your willingness to look at the heart of your experience and share it with us.

You write from the middle ground, a tough place that people on both ends despise. You present complexity that questions that hatred that so often surrounds the issue, a hatred that often masks hurt on one side and fear on the other.

sta┼Ťa said...

Dear Carol,

The truth that you know, that you have and which you can share, is the truth of your experience. You are the expert on your own experience -- no one else.

And when you share that experience, it both challenges and lifts up other people.

Thank you for your witness. It is a ministry and a gift.

Blessings,
Stasa

The Muser (aka Beautiful Mama) said...

What a beautiful blog. Thank you so much for sharing your story.

Lij said...

In my last Memoir class of the semester, the phrase "authority of experience" was brought up. That's what you have. The authority of experience.

Topher said...

Carol,

I love your blog. I came to it because of a Box Turtle Bulletin link, but also because you wrote such a lovely response to my partner, Justin the other day when he sent a comment on the Ray Boltz website. Thanks for sharing your story, and your love.

Chris

Mark said...

Carol,
I found your blog through Peterson.

I'm a member of a gay fathers support group where I live. Most of the people who join us are men who come to terms with their orientation after having been married (for all the many reasons you're so familiar with) and try to work out how to navigate the process of coming out, being authentic, and treat their loved ones with as much respect and love as possible. Some straight spouses, as you describe, are *very* angry and there are more than enough stories of the divorces from hell. But there are many stories of grace and love and lovingly letting each other go, stories of joy of walking in truth and authenticity.

I met my best friend through that group (a former mormon missionary and graduate of BYU) and one of his favorite exhortations which has stood this life-long evangelical boy in good stead: "Stand in your truth."

Because of your "living in the fishbowl" status, you get a lot more attention and crud than I *ever* got but I encourage you to rest in the truth that the Holy Spirit leads you in.

Thanks for writing and sharing.

paul said...

Dear Carol,

First of all I want to say how sorry I am for the pain of what you have been through.

As others have duly noted, your authority to speak is born out of experience. Where so many have opinion, you have first hand knowledge.

You come to many with the same type of message Jesus came with, that being, "... you have heard it said... but I say to you...." Jesus' primary message contradicted the religious wisdom of those he came to. He presented the message that those who follow God are not those who follow a code carved in stone, but rather, those who "love God with all their heart... and love their neighbor as their self."

One of the attributes of love (Paul's take in I Corinthians 13) is that " love believes all things." A curious statement that, it almost sounds naive.

Growing up under fundamentalist Christianity, I could not believe that I was gay, even though it was true. Why? Because those around me did not believe there was such a thing as a gay person, that being gay was at best a sickness, and living as a gay person is sin. That's how I was taught, that's what I believed, in spite of myself. In spite of the truth.

It took me 35 years of agonizing struggle to come to a place of simple self acceptance. To "believe all things." Gay is a part of who I am.

One of the things that harmed me most my whole life was when i ventured to share who I am and the person I shared with would not believe me because they follow some code carved in stone instead of the law of love. That is what you now encounter, the Pharisee of our age, if you will.

Thank you for believing your husband. Thank you for believing gay people when they simply want to be. I think in so doing, you demonstrate you are a follower of Jesus.

paul

Richard said...

Carol,

I thank you from the bottom of my heart for witnessing your experience. I was the gay husband and father many decades ago. It was a path of pain out of marriage but to be a good father and an honest person made the journey worthwhile to me.

I am in awe of your bravery in blogging about your and your family's journey. Your writing touches my heart, it touches my heart. Thank you.

Sebastian said...

Carol, God bless you for telling the truth. Truth telling is a godly calling, and is unfortunately rare. The Lord who said "I am the way, and the truth and the light," also bids us to be holy as he is holy. We cannot be holy without the truth, without being men and women of truth.

We must tell our stories. If we don't add the truth of our wisdom, built on the joys and tears of our lives, then religious talk becomes mere platitudes, recited phrases of what people should say, like phrases memorized from an introductory lesson in a foreign language. Each of us is better for having entered the conversation. None of us has the whole answer or the full truth. But we have the part of the truth that God has graced us to see, to see at the cost of reflecting closely on the stuff of our lives.

Carol said...

You guys are the best! Thanks so much for leaving your comments, and I honestly think that none of us are finished learning all that there is for us.
Beautiful Mama - I tried to e-mail you and it bounced. I loved how you have gone back and shared your journal entries when depression threatened to overtake you. I'm so glad you are sharing those dreams.
Peterson - thanks for the link to here! What a lot of traffic!
Stas'a - I don't have that letter~but I thank you for posting.
Lij - dear daughter, you are always inspiring me.
Topher - I know I wrote to you again, and commented on your poem. Now, if I could just remember where that was...:)
Mark - I'm glad you are able to find someone to share your life. And yes, this fishbowl isn't something I've ever enjoyed, but the perceptions now are ever-so-wrong. This blog gives me the privilege to yell through the water.
Paul- it was belief in years and years of Ray being a good husband that helped his case! He always thought of our family first.
Richard - hang in there. I know you are hurting from loss, and I hope things will get better.
Sebastian - "We cannot be holy without the truth, without being men and women of truth." This is a simple, honest statement. Thank you for making it so clear.

thank you, one and all.