Sunday, July 22, 2007

Walking Together

About a week ago or so, I got an email from Geckoman, a gay Mormon man who's been happily married for 26 years, and is faithful and active in the Church. He was passing through the Twin Cities on a business trip, and was wondering if we might meet.

We did meet. He and I had an opportunity to swap stories in person, tell more about each other's lives and faith and relationships. He had a chance to meet my partner, and the three of us had a lovely dinner together. I love walking, and my favorite part of our get-together was walking together over to the nearby Global Market and back, to pick up and bring home the food we ate for dinner. I loved meeting Geckoman in person. He is kind and soft-spoken. He is handsome and has a sweet smile and a gentle sense of humor. He is not judgmental or dogmatic, and he is generous in his appraisals of others who don't share his faith or his way of looking at things.

In the world we live in, Geckoman and I should maybe be enemies. We've each made choices that should, in the eyes of many, set us at odds against each other. In the eyes of the Church, I am living in a state of sin, while he has made the difficult choice to stay true to Church principles and nurture an eternal marriage, despite the challenge of his attraction to men. In the eyes of the secular, liberal culture that thrives here in the Twin Cities, he is living in a state of denial, not true to his true nature, while I have made the difficult choice of nurturing a committed relationship condemned by Church and denied recognition by the state. In the eyes of the world and Church alike, we are each the antithesis of the other.

And yet, in my interactions with him on-line and in person, I find myself just liking and admiring him, and wanting to be liked and admired by him. There is nothing that pains me more than the thought of anything I say or do adding in any way to his burdens or making him feel any less. I am happy for the happiness he has found; I respect him for the struggles he's been through. I hope he feels the same about me. If he feels that I am somehow less because of the choices I've made, I never felt the least hint of it.

So which is the real truth of things? What Church and State and worldly culture say about us? Is that what really matters? Or is the brother-love we share the deeper truth? Is that somehow the real key to happiness?

3 comments:

Elbow said...

I agree completely! Thanks for sharing that. I appreciate your story and your voice.

GeckoMan said...

John, thank you for your reflection on our first visit, and your kind words. 'Walking together' was wonderful to do, and in fact I had wanted to return to the park after dinner and walk around the little lake. Next time?

One side note: my 26 years of marriage to a wonderful woman has not always been happy; much of our struggle has been my own making. However, my choice to remain committed to our family is now paying off in great happiness.

I was surprised with the idea that "we should be enemies," the thought just never occurred to me. But I suppose that if we choose to succumb to the intolerant worldview of others, we lose sight of the truth within us, which is instilled by love through the light of Christ.

And John, I have tremendous respect for your tender heart and the courage you display to return to faithfulness in our church, which at times through imperfect members may be brutal to you and your committed marriage. I believe you put more on the alter of vulnerability than I do.

"So which is the real truth of things? ... is the brother-love we share the deeper truth? Is that somehow the real key to happiness?"

My answer to you, dear brother, is YES.

J G-W said...

I don't think any partnership that has endured any significant length of time is without struggles. I know my relationship with my partner has not been trouble free either. But, as I said, it is the willingness to struggle and keep working at it that I respect.

I am so glad you didn't just pass through Minneapolis without looking me up! Next time, yes, we'll take a walk around the lake!