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I recently met an incredible guy, in North Carolina, of all places. He's 28, very good looking and gay. He was raised as a Pentecostal and within the confines of a very religious household. Last year, he made the move from his parents house in rural North Carolina to Wilmington, a beautiful and quaint city where apparently loads of TV shows are being filmed now. He had left his old life because he found an incredible job working as a Musical Director at a great church (or so he thought) in Wilmington. Unfortunately, all went well, until he came out to the pastor. Then, he lost his job -- because he was gay. (That's a completely separate topic, the politics of which, we won't get into right now.)
Since this blog is not really about me, and I'm still not ready to "come out" as an intuitive or psychic officially, let's just say that Bryan and I had a life-changing conversation in which his deceased aunt, Darlene, gave him the strong message of "It's Time To Tell Your Family!" She repeated it over and over again. She was relentless. I had no idea how quickly this 28-year-old would turn his life around, but he heard his Aunt Darlene loud and clear.
First, a couple days later, he told his mother. For the entirety of what exactly Bryan read to his mother and her reaction, click here. It is a pretty incredible and touching letter AND, her reaction, given her religious limitations, was precious and beautiful.
But this blog is about a boy coming out to his very religious dad. The following is a final cut draft of what he actually texted to his father:
"Dear dad, I'm struggling deeply to write you this. Holding back tears is very hard when you know you have something huge to say to someone. I had a conversation with mama about this yesterday and she has, so far, taken it far better than what I figured she would. A mother's love is unconditional and I'm hoping that a father's love is exactly the same. I may it say it very often but I love you very much. Besides my grandpa Luther, no man other than you, has shown me the importance of a hard days work, the importance of creating a loving family, and the importance of being there for one another at any time we've needed you. You prove yourself to us over and over again without getting much in return (all the days growing up playing catch, trying to teach me karate on your own, taking me fishing, etc).
This is me taking time to tell you thank you for all you do. Thank you for all you have done. Thank you for what you will do in the future. Growing up, you and I never had a completely close relationship with each other. I feel like that fell onto Brandon, while I was always more of a mothers boy and still am. But I have not regretted these things one bit. They happened for a reason. And lately you have started to soften up and we've been building up a decent father-son relationship with each other. I'm glad this happening at this point of my life because I have taken a big step forward lately.
Yesterday mom and I had a very real conversation about me. We discussed something about me that I feel you both already know deep down in your hearts but are either too afraid to talk about it or just don't want to hear it period. But It needs to be said. No matter what the outcome from you after I let this out, I want you to know that I will always love you. You are my only father and I love you to the moon and back. You mean so much to me and you need to know this about me. I am gay. Before you quickly respond, I have some other things I need to say. For years and years I have know. Ever since I was a kid I knew I was different. I was never attracted to girls the way that you are attracted to mom. That's not me.
I've hidden this part of who I am from you for over 20 years and I can't let it go by one more day with you knowing. Because of the fact that I hid this. You've missed out on some great things that have happened to me. Great relationships that I've been in, amazing friends and support from different people that you don't even know. But you also don't know about the many heartaches I've had to suffer through. The many times I've want to call you, my daddy, to come pick me up and go fight the person who hurt me so bad but I couldn't do that. All I could do was smile at you and talk to you and say everything is just fine. I'm tired of the charade and I'm going to be more open and upfront with you and mom about my life now that you know who I am, your gay son.
I'm very relieved that I can finally tell you these things, and though it's not face to face, it is still all the same. I know that you love me as your son and I pray that that love will only begin to grow stronger. I know you will go through some pretty strong emotions and you will need time to process your feelings and emotions, but I want you to know this: no matter what you think of me now, no matter how you feel about me now--you are my dad and I will always respect you and love you until the day you die."
It's quite a long text, but that was the most comfortable way. Bryan really feared his father's reaction and was extremely unsure what would transpire. A few hours later, this is the "text" response that Bryan received from his father:
"You have managed to do to me what you will do for the remainder of my life, and nothing but the shear will, power, and Devine mercy/grace of God can fix the torn heart, and deep pain I have. MY HEART is bleeding, not for me but for your destiny. This is not the path you have been taught by your mother or me. God gave you to us 28 years ago, and we gave you back to him soon after. Which makes this all the more serious. All through the Bible it is written many times, FEAR THE LORD! To him that knowth to do good but doth evil, IT IS SIN.
There is coming a time when God will judge and I pray that you will never hear Him say DEPART FROM ME I NEVER KNEW YOU. You are in the grasp of satan and only God Knows the ending for you. Only I can pray for your return into God's abode. While this is the most pain I've ever experienced I have to follow God's teachings and wisdom. I will forever love and miss you, and while I am to love you I have to HATE the sin you desire. YOU HAVE NO IDEA of the pain, emptiness, and broken heart your father has for you. This is like a death of a family member. I will always love you son and keep what memories I have of you. May God have mercy on your soul before it's too late!!!!!!!!!!! I plead for your return and offer my life instead!!!!!!!"
Wow, right? Isn't that... sad? I, as have other of Bryan's friends, have encouraged him to give his father time. I truly believe that his father (as well as his mother) are about to embark on an incredibly eye-opening journey. It will be journey of love, of sacrifice, of anger, of hatred, of God, etc...
At the end of the day, they will discover that they cannot simply love their son partially; they will need to love their son wholly. They will understand that if they want their "favorite" son to remain in their lives, they will need to not only make peace with this, but make peace with their own foundation of religiosity. I'm sure this has shaken them to the core already, but I keep insisting Bryan document their adventure because it will be a fantastic and awe-inspiring ride for all of them. As an aside, I think it might also be a great idea for them to read my book, "How I Learned To Smile From The Inside".
This text exchange was a few days ago. Apparently, since the above email, his father has continuously expressed his undying and eternal love for Bryan via telephone, messages, texts, and emails. For this reason alone, I remain completely optimistic that his parents will indeed need time to process, but tin order to have their son in their lives, intimately close to them, they will do whatever it takes. I'm sure of it!
Remember this story when you go to sleep tonight. Remember to love everyone in your life for who they are. Be grateful. Be compassionate. Be forgiving. Be inspired. AND Inspire others to do the same.
1) My apologies about the blogging every other week over the past two months. I have been busy writing and crafting my draft proposal for my third book.
2) The draft proposal will be done by this Friday. Wish me luck!
3) With the above story, I am excited to hear updates and will update you periodically, when updates are available or given to me.
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A Smile From The Inside Production :)