Tuesday, December 21, 2010
I received an email from a faithful reader after my last post. It said:
"I fear you've been drinking too much of the prevailing "koolaid" in the MOHOsphere. Your choice isn't just in living a "lie" or divorce. It's a false dichotomy. Maybe you do need to step back and reconsider things?"
As I read this I realized that maybe my writing style may be too subtle in trying to get over the message that I'm trying to portray. What my last post was trying to point out is that those like me in long-term MOMs do not need to necessarily fall in the trap of this false dichotomy of thinking. There is more to our choices than just a) living a "lie" or b) divorce / leaving the church. What I'm trying to say here (and I think I've been trying to say it now for nearly 5 years of blogging) is just the opposite. I'm trying to make the point that there are other ways, different choices and paths, that allow us to shine, be passionate, reflect the full color spectrum of life AND be happy in our marriage and still have a testimony!
Sure it's hard. And sure, there are compromises. But there are hard compromises in every relationship and situation. I'm not here to say that mine is the chosen path for you. I'm not trying to be the poster-boy of the MOMs out there. I certainly have demonstrated that I don't have all the answers, or even a few. But I am saying this:
1. I chose to marry at a different time and space. In that mentality, I was completely satisfied with my chose and felt it the right and passionate thing to do.
2. I came out to myself more than two decades later, and came out to my wife a few months later. With this time delay, I had created a wonderful life with my marriage, marrying my best friend, and we had created a family with kids and home and career and callings that bind us together in ways that I treasure.
3. But with this revelation, came grief and sorrow, confusion and frustration. I was convinced we were heading for divorce, even if I completely brushed it under the rug and never came "out" again. So, in one sense it was to choose to live the "lie" or divorce.
4. In the last six years of living with this revelation between us, I have had varying success of being able to find another way. Sometimes it's easier to not talk about the elephant in the room. Sometimes it's hard to feel alive when I'm constantly looking over my shoulder to see if she's watching. And it's certainly hell to live by hiding and sneaking behind her back. But sometimes, it's wonderful to be able to express myself openly, with passion and love without recourse or worry. This understanding between us of "what I need" verses "what she needs" verses "what we need" is an on-going, life-long process of hard compromise, but I feel for me and my situation, for the wonderful life I've been able to create and live, it is worth it. And I will forever seek to find this OTHER WAY.
Maybe you feel I have been drinking the "koolaid" - that leads to nothing but heartache, dishonesty, dullness, and worthlessness. And why would I cut myself short? Maybe I am "the exception" in this community. Maybe I'm the odd ball of all MOHOs who believes there is another way. Maybe you dismiss me and this blog because I don't prescribe to the standard message of authenticity meaning only what you want it to mean, fitting your definition of what is right and real and honest for you. Maybe I am never going to know "true happiness" and what it really feels like to completely be one with another man as I have so passionately desired, having only tasted of that feeling.
But maybe that's okay. Maybe having my wife to snuggle with and be partners with and create a life with, to serve together, to struggle together, to achieve together, to travel together and experience the world together, and to grow together, and see her acceptance of me over time, maybe having my children around me, and eventually their children and seeing our family blossom as our kids move into adulthood and find their own way, maybe as I serve and find ways that are acceptable and respectful to us both as I find ways to be more 'expressive' and more "ME", maybe as we come through this loving each other even more...
then maybe it's worth seeking this OTHER WAY.
I was called out, and rightfully so, that MY WAY does not mean that I am suggesting others, particularly young MOHOs who are not married now, should have hope of following this same path.
I do not.
That said, I do want to be able to be accepted by the community and find validation and support and encouragement and love, even if I am the "exception".
I'm naive enough to believe that this "other way" is worth FIGHTING for! And that I'm blind enough to truly feel I can find JOY!
There is always room for exception. That's what makes us all so "exception"-al!