Monday, December 29, 2008
Yesterday was a thrilling day at church. Yes, both Will and Tim were there with their brides. My heart jumped out of my chest. Yes, I still have "feelings" for both of them that go beyond normal boundaries of Puritan propriety. But, it was thrilling to see them bee-line it toward me as we fell into each others arms. They are both so beautiful and radiant, not only on the exterior, but on the inside as well. We showered each other with affectionate hugs and kisses and I felt them willingly reciprocating right in front of their wives. I love their women as well - both are gems - and as far as these eyes can see, they have learned to accept and love the fact that their men love me in ways that transcend normal propriety.
But the exciting thing was... nothing has changed. Yes, life goes on and they grow into their marriages and away from me, but these connections are still there and they remain strong. Funny that both of them independently stated that our connections are more than spiritual brothers - we are "blood brothers".
I still ponder the purpose and meaning of these connections. There is something divine in them. If you think otherwise then you are missing my point. Our world needs to be filled with such blood brotherhood.
Why are we allowed to feel this way about others (to the point of connection that transcends family ties) if there is not a greater purpose? And what is that purpose?
Yesterday, I taught a lesson in Sunday School about the Second Coming and the Millennium and the possibilities that mothers will have of raising their children lost at childbirth and seeing them grow into adulthood. This conversation expanded into questions of other accommodations of injustices that will be given to those Celestial and Terrestrial individuals who are participating in the Millennial experience - of families being made and sealed together where none existed in this life, of childless couples desiring nothing more than to have children, of singles who never married but desired to be connected with another, all being able to fulfill their righteous desires...
And it made me wonder... if Heavenly Father really does love us and knows us and wants nothing more than for us to have His joy and experience that joy, then knowing we androphiles have been created to love other men and have these deep and abiding feelings for other men, is it too presumptuous to believe that some equal accommodation or opportunity of fulfilling that joy may be realized in the Millennium? Is this too presumptuous a thought?
I mean, to say that we have been created with these deep and powerful connections for other men, and then "poof" they are magically gone (thank you very much Elder Oaks) in the next life rings hollow and wrong to me. I know this has been beaten around before and there is nothing new here to offer, but I can't help but believe that when "all is revealed" as is promised in the Millennium and that great equalizing experience of the injustices of this life are realized through our righteousness, I can't help but think there is a place, a way, an increased understanding and purpose for these feelings I feel to have meaning beyond this life in ways that we cannot even begin to comprehend... that my love for other men, yes, even for Will and Tim and Thomas among others, will serve a divine purpose and not be looked upon as evil and thwarting the great plan - as some can only see looking through Telestial eyes.
Why was I created this way? Why do these feelings never go away? What is the purpose for feeling this way? There's just got to be more to the story than simply enduring and overcoming earthly temptations in this life... and that by doing so, all will be well in the hereafter without them... I refuse to believe it!
Wednesday, December 24, 2008
Monday, December 22, 2008
Friday, December 19, 2008
Human beings crave experiences that take us beyond our everyday routines. If we want more out of life, we will want to look at patterns that are holding us back right now. We need to go beyond the ordinary from time to time and get caught up in something that feels bigger than we are. Getting beyond our sense of individual isolation that feeds our souls.
What are you passionate about?
Spiritual experiences are often felt in the body as a subtle connection between the physical self and the emotional self. It can feel hard to explain to others; we may even feel a little embarrassed trying to describe what we are feeling. Modern English doesn’t have good words to describe these experiences. Probably the best word is transcendence – a sense of moving beyond our isolated selves and into deeper connection with our entire self, other people or the world around us. We feel moved to a higher level. It’s hard to explain, but we know it when we get there.
There are things we know about how to live passionately. Finding the right balance between living in a highly energetic state on the one hand and being well grounded on the other is important. If we live out of a place of being highly energetic but not too focused on reality, we will eventually crash and burn. On the other hand, living all wrapped up in reality but with little gusto is at least as bad; there may not be a dramatic flameout, but life itself has little exhilaration about it. That’s a problem for those of us who live too much in our heads. We rely on our intellect to help us earn a living; it feels like safe territory for us. But the intellect alone won’t take you where you want to ago.
Living passionately requires us to really be in our bodies. That’s why physical stuff like dancing, running and other aerobic activity creates that high sensation. We feel alive! Doing things that wake up our bodies can feel great and help us move past blocked places.
Creativity is another key to passionate living. Gay men are famous for creativity, of course, whether it’s cooking a fabulous meal or painting the Sistine Chapel. What do you do to let your creativity out?
Paying attention to the sensual world is another key to waking up our passionate selves. What fragrances do you notice as you read this? What do you see all around you? When we slow down and take time to experience what is going on in the world and in ourselves, we can find a universe of delight all around us. Slowing down isn’t always easy. That’s why things like massage or meditation help some men get in touch with their passionate selves.
Perhaps the final key to living passionately is to stop settling for less than we truly want in life. Understanding our desires isn’t always easy. Some desires change from moment to moment, some are hard to put into words, and some are, well, a bit embarrassing. That’s OK. Someone once told me, “The space for what you want in life is occupied by what you are settling for right now.” What are you settling for in work, intimate relationships, and the rest of your one juicy life?
Passionate living is much easier if we make a commitment to getting as much as possible out of life. It requires a bit of self-understanding and a bit of self-discipline if we are in it for the long haul.
It’s important to understand that while we may long for more aliveness, passion and ecstasy, there is another part of us that is scared of living life without holding back. That critical voice inside us says things like: Who the hell are you to think you could do that? You’ll probably die if you let go. Better to stay put and not think such extravagant thoughts. So that part of us tries to distract us.
"If we want more out of life, we will want to look at patterns that are holding us back right now."
John R. Ballew, M.S. a licensed professional counselor in private practice in
What I love about Italians is their passion for life. I love that they get angry and voice their opinions openly. I love that they touch and feel and aren't afraid of emotions and spiritual connections. I love that they can love. These feelings can all be combined in minutes within the same conversation. I feel we aren't passionate enough in our lives. We become too reserved, to removed from others, too beyond touch and connection.
Monday, December 15, 2008
10. Prayed to continue to feel this peace and emotion, expressing gratitude for the ability to FEEL and to NOT be "beyond feeling". I thank my God for giving me a passionate heart that can feel tenderness, and that can connect with others. At times, I curse this heart for being too emotional and too passionate... but I am grateful that I CAN feel. That, at times is a curse, but mostly it is a blessing.
Thursday, December 11, 2008
Here I am trying to carry on a conversation with me teenage daughter about her feelings and understanding her peers and herself through the excitement of dating and being a "friend" to a "boy", and I'm playing the experienced and all-knowing father, when really I seem to know very little... I've lived in the hetero world for so long that I get what they go through, but I have a hard time transitioning that knowledge to the gay world.
Tuesday, December 09, 2008
Saturday, December 06, 2008
I am deeply honored that you posted a comment on this blog. I am sure that I am not alone in saying that you are one of my heroes. I started blogging a few months before you came on the scene and I followed your story with great interest and intrigue – more obvious now because of my feelings for my Italian brother. Your descriptions of your love for Isaac and for finding a way that the two of you could be together and have this special bond forever, including the physical aspect of the relationship, was so endearing to me as I felt the same thing. I felt as if I were living through your experience as you opened up your feelings for your family and the Gospel and the tug that they were on your life to pull back, the retrench and to start over. Those words expressed were with great passion and emotion and they touched me deeply. I admired your example and strength to come back to
I am thrilled that you continue to feel that the choices you made 18 months ago were the correct one that you’ve experienced countless miracles and have felt the Spirit back in your life again as a dad and husband. What joy this brings to my heart. I’ve always wanted to know “the rest of the story” and thanks for sharing what you have.
I am grateful to know that Isaac is doing well, as well, and that his testimony is strong and growing and is preparing to enter the House of the Lord. What an amazing blessing for you! What a miracle for the both of you! I needed to hear that the Spirit you feel back in your life outweighs anything you gave up (“sex with your man”). I am thrilled that you’ve found a way to still be brothers together and to love your man in a more spiritual way. Thank you again for being my hero!
I am saddened that you are saddened by my blog. I didn’t expect that reaction from you. You are disturbed by the photos I’ve been posting. I guess that is to be expected. I don’t excuse that behavior, but I guess it is a continuation of the “adolescent phase” with which I find myself. I ask myself why I use them – I guess I am visually oriented, I use and create images in my profession and beautiful images or thought-provoking images interest me and communicate to me and others in ways that words cannot. I do not use them to be offensive or cruel or evil. Maybe I push the edge a bit, but I use my blog for that purpose, in a way of coping with reality, and I find that in allowing my blog to be an alter-ego of myself and push the limits a bit, I am able to better respond to that reality as I go about living my life away from this blog. I hope that makes sense and I am sorry that you’ve taken offense.
You say that you “don’t see any sign of a fight” in me and that I “seem to have already given up”. I don’t expect you, or anyone, to read my entire story, and you know very well that a blog is just a miniscule slice of who the author is behind the words, and understanding this, you must realize that you cannot judge me like this. Yes, I am toying with ideas and feelings that may seem to place me on the edge of apostasy or inevitability, but I assure you that I am not you. I have not gone to him! I have not left me family to run to his open arms. I have not violated my covenants. I do not intend to violate those covenants!
I have been fighting all my life as I’m sure you have and you must continue to do so, whether you admit it or not. I have been chaste my whole life. I do not know what gay love feels like as you do. I do not have that knowledge of intimacy with another man, yet I long for it. It is something I crave. Yet, through all my youth, and mission, and marriage of 27 years, I have not given up the fight to resist that craving! I am not blaming you for misunderstanding me, for my words sometimes betray the real me. Be it clear: just because I long for that relationship of physical, emotional electricity with another man that I love completely, does not mean that I have given up the fight! And if this blog, as imperfect and worldly at times as it may be, helps me to keep up the fight, then I will see it as achieving one of its prime purposes for existing.
You tell me: “You’ve lost sight of reality: who you were before you were born, all that you have been given and promised and the royal Priesthood that you hold.” I want you to know that I have a firm and solid and unshakeable testimony of the PLAN. It is one of very few things that I am sure of. I know who I am! I know that I am a Child of God and that God loves me. I know that I am eternal and have always existed and that the essence of who I am today is who I always have been and who I am today will be the essence of who I will be someday! My vision is clear! I know the power of the Priesthood that I hold. I have seen it work miracles in others lives as well as my own. I know that I have stepped off the path and may be “testing the waters” at times, but that does not mean that I have lost sight of who I am or the promises in store for me as I hold on.
My struggle is with wanting to hold on, not in not knowing. I do know. And sure, it is exhilarating to have someone, a dear brother come to realize that after all these years he loves me as much as I love him. Sure it’s addicting and I love that feeling. But I disagree that this feeling is ultimately “empty”. I have nothing but good feelings and desires for my “Isaac” and our relationship has been built on the Spirit and the desires to do good that the Spirit prompts us to do. Nothing but good has come from these feelings. I do not consider them “empty”. Maybe in the particular path that you chose, you found them to end in emptiness. With your example, I want to not have that same conclusion.
I count these feelings as a gift, as a blessing from God and I am alive and exhilarated and thrilled to be able to feel this love. It is not evil! This is not something that Satan is using to chain me to hell. I do not believe that. I cannot believe that. Though I may long for the relationship that you and Isaac so beautifully shared, and you may regret to have shared such things with this community for fear of setting the course in doing that very thing for others of us to follow, this longing does not mean that is the course I am on.
Thomas is a real man. He is not fictional. My feelings for him may be romanticized and naïve, but they are not make-believe. And to say that he is my “gay lover” is overstating it. Again, I love him, I even admit that I am “in love” with him in a real way, but he is not my “gay lover” and never will be. He is my brother. We are more than friends. Our friendship has lasted and intensified over these 29 years. We still feel the spirit beating in our hearts and the connection between us after all these years. Is this a lie? Is what we feel not real?
Yes, I’m holding onto a dream, just as you did. I was hoping to have received more understanding words and a measure of comfort from you as you, of all people, know from where I speak as you have gone before me on this path. Where is your heart? Where is your compassion? Why are you so angry and bitter about this? What have you seen that I don’t understand? Is it that you see anguish and regret in my path? Do you feel that it was a mistake to know Isaac, to share your life with him, to love him? Why, if it all ended up so well for you, is it still such a nightmare of torture to see me following your path? Don’t you see that I want to learn from you and to be understood by you, and to make the right choices, instead of being treated as a delusional mess?
You disappeared from the blogging world and I hang on. You’ve moved on and I’m still languishing in the muck of my photos and blogging cronies. You’re on higher ground fighting and you see me low and debased and quitting the fight. I apologize for that misconception. I reiterate: I am not ready to give up!
I again thank you for coming back, even if just for this brief moment for me to internalize the fight which is still within me! I hope you will come back soon and often and be willing to teach and encourage and help others who are struggling with what you once struggled, and hope that you and others like you, who have moved on, can show us the way.
I’ve said this before: There is no guide book on how to be a married Mormon man with these feelings raging inside him. The Church doesn’t want to even admit that we, our kind, even exist. It never was meant to be easy, nor fair, and I’m not asking for it to be anything but what it is. But, I do know one thing – I am grateful for these feelings raging inside me, because they are who I am, and they help me to be a better person, a kinder person, a more compassionate and loving person for feeling them. I am not ashamed of who I am nor why I feel the way I do. I do not blame God. I praise Him for giving me this gift.
Thank you again for responding to my request, and may God bless you and your family, and Isaac and his, as you journey on this common quest for eternal joy,
Friday, December 05, 2008
Wednesday, December 03, 2008
Monday, December 01, 2008
I need help from my blogging community to help me sort this one out before it gets more out of hand than it already has... Comments? I'm an open book so have at it and critique away...