Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Still Feeling...

Life has been very stressful lately, full of the stuff that doesn't really matter and not enough of that which really is important. Too much work. Too much travel. Too much...

I wanted to follow up on my last post, but now the idea and articulation are gone, interrupted by life.

Let me say this: I'm anchored in my testimony of the Gospel, of Christ and the Atonement, even of Joseph Smith and the restoration. I am anchored in my belief of the Plan of Salvation.

What I'm trying to say is: I'm feeling things changing inside me. And I associate this change directly with my acceptance of being gay. Before, I was straight arrow, following fully through and through, never questioning, always seeking to be obedient. Now, I find myself more crooked arrow, always questioning, being cynical, more willing to doubt, while still seeking to be obedient. I am only pointing out the change. Am I wrong to associate my "self-realization" of coming to terms with being gay and "self-questioning" and realizing I'm not ever going to be the "straight arrow" I thought I was, with questioning and doubting or being cynical and slightly rebellious??? Why do I feel this way? Am I allowing this thing to get to me where I shouldn't? Why do I need to revisit these issues of obedience and discipleship? Why do I have to doubt what the Spirit has already told me to be true? Why do I feel the need to DISTANCE myself from other straight-arrow Peter-Priesthood types? Is it because I'm uncomfortable with them because I'm "not like them" anymore?

Am I heading down the wrong path?

I'm not going off the deep end. I'm still who I am - a believer, seeking to follow the spirit and do what I should. I just find it interesting that I'm noticing that I am no longer the unquestioning believer and I'm finding it okay to explore my rougher edges... and at least see "other ways" than just the "only way". I don't feel it necessary to be straight-arrowed anymore. I am fine with being edgier... letting my hair down (figuratively and literally), being not so perfect...

Is that because I feel I'm broken anyway? Is that because I feel like I've missed out on something on the "other" side? Is that because I feel like I was misled and have been lied to?

I don't know. Sometimes I think I really know who I am. I am anchored. I have a firm foundation... Other times, I think I really don't know who I am. Am I "BECK" or am I the "ME" that I portray to the rest of the world? (More on that topic later).

I feel the Lord knows who I am. I hope I am not getting so prideful to miss the fact that I'm not becoming the best I can be as I dwell on these "issues" too much. I hope I'm not drifting away from the spirit or my attempts at discipleship.

You know... I don't think I really know who I am. I'm still coming to terms with that basic knowledge. I just find it interesting to note the "change" that has occurred with my attitude. Now I need to decide whether that is a good thing or not... and whether I can "still feel" the spirit in my life as Alma asks.

9 comments:

GeckoMan said...

Beck, I think I know how you feel. . . you know that I call it 'bobbing.' Like you, most of the time I'm on track, I feel driven by love, testimony and desire to do good. But sometimes I feel lonely, vacant, bored, hungry for mantouch, frustrated. Sometimes I mess up my best intentions.

As a result, when non-bobbing perfection seemed no longer reasonable, I gave up on being a straight-arrow, never questioning disciple. It no longer fit my experience or my observation of the world around me. But I still want to be a disciple in spite of myself, maybe at times 'unworthy,' yet deeper-thinking and still commited. So I just accept that I found a seasoned, more cynical eye, and I'm not afraid to play my favorite past-time, which is asking "Why?" (Or maybe, "Why Not?")

I'm still me. You are still you. Is this a tarnish on our souls? By whose definition? I frankly like an oxidized copper patina much more than shiny bright copper. Is one finish better than another? When we're exposed to the elements what would Heavenly Father expect? He designed the pure form of the metal to react to oxygen and probably values both finishes.

But here's a rub: if the Atonement provides the polish to our lives and we're restored to bright and pure, will my cynical skeptical eye be comfortable with the shiny new me, reborn in some mysterious supernatural celestial way, foreign to my mortally mature sensibilities? God only knows! (I guess I'll trust His best judgement.)

Beck said...

"...will my cynical skeptical eye be comfortable with the shiny new me...?"

That is the rub! I mean, we're supposed to be molding ourselves to Him, not to a cynical, skeptical version of ourselves. I can't help but think that we can come to him in different ways (various tarnishes) but our hearts need to be contrite and humble and willing to be polished in any way He sees fit. If I allow my "change of perspective or attitude" that has come about by my acceptance of the reality of my attractions, to be too doubting, too cynical or too skeptical, isn't there the point where I fall off the polishing belt all together?

I'm not saying I am, but I'm questioning now whether my more critical and cynical viewpoint of those things that were taught as "truth" may or may not be a good thing.

The point of this post is nothing more than to point out to myself that I'm observing this change of attitude occurring with the correlating change of acceptance of being gay, and I find that interesting.

Abelard Enigma said...

May I offer up a different interpretation?

When you were one of the straight-arrow Peter-Priesthood types, perhaps you were in a rut oblivious to the real world around you. Now that your eyes have been opened, perhaps it is now that you are back on the road moving forward. The real road, not the imaginary road you thought you were on before.

But, sometimes the road is bumpy. Bumps are hardly noticeable when you're standing still. But, the faster you go on the road the more pronounced the effect on you when you it a bump.

I don't really know where I'm going with this metaphor. I guess I never have been the straight-arrow Peter-Priesthood type. It is in my nature to be "always questioning, being cynical, more willing to doubt, while still seeking to be obedient." So, when you describe yourself that way, it seems natural to me - why would you want to be any other way?

Beck said...

"...why would you want to be any other way?"

I don't doubt that I shouldn't be any other way... and I'm not faulting that this way that I currently am may not be the right way. I agree with you and I appreciate you pointing this out to me!

I'm just saying that isn't it interesting that I make this association of being this way in connection with being gay?

Kengo Biddles said...

Why do I feel the need to DISTANCE myself from other straight-arrow Peter-Priesthood types? Is it because I'm uncomfortable with them because I'm "not like them" anymore?

Personally, for me it's because I look at those types and see their Peter-Priesthoodness seems to stem from their stupid blind obedience.

I think it's good to ask, it's good to re-evaluate, because it seems like it's building you a stronger, truer faith than before.

J G-W said...

"I'm observing this change of attitude occurring with the correlating change of acceptance of being gay"

I am observing this seeming correlation in others too. And it was clearly a factor in my own loss of testimony for many years.

When Church leaders have told us various things about homosexuality for many years, and we come to acknowledge to ourselves and others that what has been said and presented doesn't really correspond to reality as we understand it, it is natural for doubts to emerge.

I agree with what has already been said that perhaps partly what you are experiencing is a more realistic view of your faith.

No, God does not want you to model yourself after the "cynical, skeptical version of ourselves." But God does not want us naively gulping down everything that is spoonfed to us, either! Our leaders, bless their hearts, are human. I don't know how the concept of human agency is compatible with a scenario where those leaders do not also make mistakes, sometimes serious ones.

Our faith should gradually become fine-tuned to God and to the Spirit -- to whom we must learn to implicitly surrender ourselves completely. Leaders are there to help us in that path, but they must never, ever occupy that place in our hearts of complete surrender that belongs to God and God alone. Doubt is absolutely vital to our faith as a counter to idolatry. It is idolatry to believe that worldly institutions and leaders are perfect.

I think sometimes those of you who have stayed faithful and are blessed to have good standing in the Church may not realize how truly, truly blessed you are. You may not realize how vibrant and strong your testimonies are, because they've become permanent fixtures in your lives. Don't take them for granted.

I have come to realize that if I want the Spirit in my life, I need to get on my knees day and night, and plead for help. It's the most precious thing in my life right now.

Beck said...

Kengo: I accept your point and realize that doubting and questioning as an effort to find a stronger, truer faith is what I should be doing. I just want to stay on guard that such doubting doesn't turn into cynicism for cynicism sake - if you know what I mean.

Beck said...

JGW said: "I think sometimes those of you who have stayed faithful and are blessed to have good standing in the Church may not realize how truly, truly blessed you are. You may not realize how vibrant and strong your testimonies are, because they've become permanent fixtures in your lives. Don't take them for granted."

That's what makes this so interesting and hard. If I didn't have a testimony, if I didn't have a relationship with the spirit and recognizing Him in my life, it would be easy to become disillusioned, cynical and doubting, to the point of throwing it all away.

But I do believe. And I do know! This is a "permanent fixture in my life". But, accepting that I'm gay and recognizing the inconsistencies in my life, triggers the questioning process that wasn't there as much before... And I like it. I want to be refined. I want to be made His. I want to not blindly follow. I don't want to be so rigid in my thinking that I can't tolerate any deviation in the set course. Yet, I to recognize and remember and not take for granted that which I have of which I have been so grated blessed.

This is a very interesting balancing act. This isn't as easy as it looks. But, I like the challenge.

Your words are always so deeply touching to me. You've gone through this process and I have much to learn from you!

J G-W said...

Believe me, I have my crazy days, the days when I wonder how I'm going to hold it all together. Usually when I ignore the peace at the center, and get caught up in the mayhem at the periphery.

I kinda like Geckoman's image. We can dart in and out, exploring this and that, but we always have to come back to the center. What is the center? The pure love of Christ.