Remember a few months ago when I was kind of in a funk, feeling a bit lonely and isolated? In the last few months, my prayers have been answered.
Last fall, I got an email from someone local who had read my Sunstone article, and wanted to talk. Another friend of his (who had given him the Sunstone article in the first place) also wanted to meet and talk. We all have testimonies of the Gospel, and want to support one another in efforts to be faithful in spite of the challenges that come with being both Mormon and gay, so since our initial lunch together we've been meeting once a month holding a "family home evening" together.
Our family home evenings always start with food. Lately it's been evolving into a full-blown meal that we prepare together! Eating (and preparing food) together is this great time for us to just talk and socialize. Then we eventually start the more devotional portion of our time together with a hymn and a prayer. I love it when we sing hymns together. Gay men really know how to sing! J. and S. usually sing harmony and I sing the melody, and we sing with real feeling, with real soul. The prayers are heartfelt too; we tell God what is really on our minds and in our hearts; we pray for each other and for others outside of our circle. We pray for our fellow Mohos! The time we spend together would be worth it, just for the singing and the praying. But then we spend some time reading the scriptures together and talking about gospel principles. And as we do that, we get to do what it's really difficult to do in our Sunday School and Priesthood meetings... We can talk in an uncensored way about some of the struggles and questions related to being gay and keeping the faith. We end the devotional part with another hymn and a prayer. Then we have an "activity," usually a board game. (Last time we played "Settlers of Zarahemla," basically a Mormon version of "Settlers of Catan"! You have the added bonus of getting prophets to call the people to repentance, and racing to build the temple!)
Our family home evenings usually end up lasting five to six hours! And the time just flies. Once a month feels like not often enough for us to get together and talk about stuff, so in between our monthly family home evenings, we've also taken to meeting occasionally for lunch during the work week. This month, a member of our group is performing in "Bare," a play about two boys in a Catholic boarding school who fall in love with each other. So Göran and I and the other member of the family home evening group (and anyone else who wants to come with!) will be going to watch him perform and cheer him on.
In addition to our small family home evening group, I've been extremely grateful for Moho brothers and sisters I've connected with long distance by phone and by email. This has really been so incredibly good for my soul. I actually had a dream a while back in which one of my Moho brothers was giving me a haircut. In dreams, our hair usually symbolizes our thought processes. So I understood this dream about having a Moho brother trimming or cutting my hair to be about him helping me to clarify my thoughts about things, helping me to "think right." That in fact is what he does for me on a regular basis in the various phone conversations we have. And I am so incredibly grateful.
I have benefited so much from these deepening friendships. I can't even begin to tell each of these individuals how grateful I am. I weep sometimes to think about it. I feel like I've been on a long hike in the desert. My feet were bruised and calloused and aching; I was hungry and I was dying of thirst. And I didn't even realize how hungry and thirsty and tired I was until I reached my destination and took a load off my feet, and started to eat and drink water to my soul. Only now that I have been blessed in this way do I realize how much I really needed this gift of friendship.
We all need it. Our journeys are too long and too lonely without it. We need to tend each others' injuries and feed each other spiritually. We need to give each other haircuts! We need to pray for each other. We need to take better care of each other.
If you live in the Twin Cities area, and think you might be interested in joining us for our monthly family home evening, just contact me through my blog! You are most welcome to join us -- whether you are LDS or not.