Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Holding Hands

Today Lina and I went on a date. And it was nice. We went to Cheesecake Factory, walked around the mall a bit (because the restaurant is half in the mall), bought some mother's day's cards, spent way too much time walking around Babies 'R Us, got some groceries at Trader Joe's, and ended it with some ice cream. It isn't often that we go out and hit up five different places, and it was nice. Well, we actually ended up looking for this overlook that I sort of knew was around, and we ended up driving down a "No Outlet" road, found an outlet, but that outlet ended in a creepy dark single-lane tunnel that ended in rail road tracks. So we turned around and came home.

But it was so nice to just spend some time together. And for the first time, I let her hold my hand while we walked around the ritzy mall. We've held hands there before, but usually just in the parking lot. As we get closer to the mall, I always squeeze her hand, let go, and put my hands in my pockets. But not this time. I decided that if other people didn't want to see us holding hands, they could deal. And it was nice.

It was a long evening. By the time we needed to get some groceries, we didn't want to because we were still stuffed from dinner. We almost got lost in the creepy dark side street. But we spent time together, time exploring, time talking about our jobs and our future wants. And we spent a lot of time holdings hands.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Gay vs. God

It's been one year since I told my mother that I was in a relationship with another woman. One year since I was told that I was going to Hell; that my relationship was not blessed in the eyes of God.

It's been two years since my first kiss with that other woman--my best friend. Almost two years since we decided that we were in a relationship. And two months since we declared to each other that our love is a gift from God in front of our closest friends in the most wonderful marriage ceremony ever.

I love my wife more than I can ever express.

And yet, it's taken me this long--and I'm sure it will still take me longer--to come to terms with that love.

I was raised in a conservative, fundamentalist, right-reaching Christian household. My sexuality was never even given the opportunity to be questioned growing up. I was straight. I dated boys. The end. Until I got married and had lots of babies, of course.

After plummeting down the long road of whether I could pursue a relationship with another girl or not, I decided that yes, I could. But what I never could do is call myself a lesbian. I could never affiliate myself with "gay" things. When I told friends that story of how I told my mother about my relationship, I used those words: "I told my mom about my relationship." I don't have a "coming out" story. I didn't come out. I wasn't gay.

I just fell in love with a woman. And I happen to be one, too.

But now, after two years, I'm wondering if I can start accepting the gay side of my personality. Previously, it's been too much. Christianity plus lesbianism equaled too much too squared. Being gay was easier to accept when I dwindled down time I spent thinking about Christianity, but recently, Christianity has been cropping back up into my life, and the gayness is anything but retreating.

It's like they're vying for equal space. Or, if not equal, at least as equally heard.

Then I ran across something a United Methodist church is doing--they're letting gay people know that their gayness is a gift from God. And then I ran across a long article that Soulforce has, about sexuality and faith coexisting, even biblically speaking.

My brain on overload, I hopped into the shower. And then it hit me. What if my loving my best friend, a woman, is truly a gift from God? What does that mean for me, for our relationship?

It means that God has blessed us. That we are a fulfillment of Godly love. That, all the times I feel inadequate in our relationship, that I feel homophobic, that I feel our relationship isn't "right," is actually an evil force at work in our relationship, driving a rift between what is good and holy. Talk about a severe altering in perception.

(I realize that this sounds a little charismatic, but that was the first religious language I learned, and given that this religious epiphany is new, it's easier to first view through my old religious tongue.)

It was a long road, but I was eventually able to decide that yes, God is ok with same-sex relationships--but that didn't stop me from seeking validation from every liberal Christian I met. There has always been some small nugget of doubt, some small "well, God prefers straight relationships," etc. But if being gay is a gift? Then, well, it actually makes me want to go hug my wife, squeal, and jump up and down a bit. And if you think about it, doesn't that sound Godly?