Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Magnifying my gayness

In the comments to my previous blog entry, it was suggested that being gay is a talent in the sense that, conceptually, talents are the things that add up to make us uniquely who we are. Referring to the parable of the talents, we need to magnify our talents.

This has given me pause. This is what I love about this blogging stuff. I write what's on my mind. But, then other people challenge me and my thoughts which force me to reevaluate my position on the topic. This is a perfect example; I never considered being gay as a talent that I needed to magnify. But, this begs the question: How do you magnify being gay?

First of all, I have to consider if I agree with the conjecture that the parable of the talents refers to our attributes and not our abilities. Wikipedia suggests that the talents referenced in the parable refer to our responsibilities; and, to increase our talents relates to the amount of diligence we put into carrying out our responsibilities. Hmmm, that's neither attributes or abilities. I'm going to have to ponder this a bit more.

So I will assume, for the sake of discussion, that the talents referenced in the parable refer to the attributes that uniquely define me and who I am. How am I doing in magnifying my gay talent? To answer that, I need to compare where I am now to where I was a year ago.

Within the last year I first came out to myself and admitted to myself that I am gay. More recently, I came out to my wife and told her that I'm gay. I now accept that I'm gay - I am no longer ashamed of it. And I freely discuss it - albeit anonymously. Although, a year ago I couldn't have even done that. So, in that sense, I think I am magnifying my gay talent. I'm not ready to go to church wearing a rainbow pin, so I still have a ways to go. But I'm much further along than I was before.

Am I using my gayness to bless my life and the lives of others? That's a more difficult question to answer. One thing I've pondered on recently is my relationship with the young men in my ward. I've been in a calling working with the youth for most of my adult life. I have a good relationship with the young men in my ward and probably get along better with them than I do the brethren closer to my own age. But, I've wondered why I get along with them so well because, in truth, I don't fit the stereotypical image of a guy who works with teenagers. What I've concluded is that the reason we get along so well is because I truly love these young men - and they know it. They know that when I ask them how they are doing it is because I am genuinely interested and not just because I think it is my duty to ask. And, I wonder if being gay allows me to love these young men in a way that a straight man would never allow himself to do. A straight man might hold back on his love (perhaps subconsciously) out of fear that it makes him gay. I'm already gay, so I don't have to worry about it. In that sense, I guess I am using my gayness to bless the lives of others. As an aside, Now that my children are grown, I have been giving serious consideration to going back to school to get my teaching credentials and teaching High School.

There is also my blog. Does reading this blog help other people who are in a similar situation? I know reading other blogs has certainly helped me. So, I hope that I am, somehow, helping others with my blabbering on about my life. If nothing else, I link to all of the gay Mormon blogs that I've found on the right hand side. So, if you aren't getting anything out of my blog, you can use it as a jumping point to other blogs which are more deep and meaningful.

But, what about using my gayness to bless my own life. That, I fear, is something I still need to work on. I can't think of any examples of where me being gay has blessed my life. While I'm no longer ashamed of being gay, I do consider it a nuisance - much like a tall person might consider his height to be an inconvenience at times. But, his height can also be a convenience (who else can reach the stuff up on the top shelf?). I haven't reached that point yet where I see certain advantages to being gay - I guess I still have a long way to go on this front.

As to my anger issues. Call me childish, but there are times when I feel angry with God (and Monday was one of those times). But, as I closed my poem.

But, with time
These feelings subside.
And so does my anger with God.

I'm doing much better today than I was earlier this week. I was just feeling sorry for myself. It wasn't the first time I wallowed in self pity, and probably won't be the last time. I guess this is something else I need to work on.

I better close this blog entry - I keep giving myself ToDo's. Let's see, I need to work on using my gayness to bless my own life, I need to work on my wallowing in self pity. Anything else??? Did I forget anything???

P.S. I'm on page 709 (out of 1,006 pages) of "Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell" by Susanna Clarke. I'm not sure if I'll make the March 28th deadline for the MoHo book club review, but it will be close. Who else is reading this book? I hope I'm not the only one to post a review.


-L- said...

I finished the book the other day and enjoyed it quite a bit. I'm glad to hear I'm not the only one who read it! It's not too late for anyone else to go get a copy and read it!

When I had a calling working with the priest quorum, a series of events let my bishop know that I'm gay. He never talked to me about it, but I was quietly released and assigned a new calling immediately afterward. This made me angry at the time and I'm still coming to full terms with it. Certainly, I do believe that the bishop had prayed about the change in callings and that it was ultimately approved by the Lord. But I wonder if he had talked to me about it and I had been able to teach him a bit about my situation, then I might have stuck with the calling and had a lot of benefit from those relationships. Anyway. Perhaps irrelevant, but your post made me think of it. Such is the lot of a gay Mormon trying to magnify things... ;-)

Beck said...

Believe me when I say that your feelings about the YM are understood because you DO LOVE THEM... and that I can totally and completely relate. They can feel that love! They know that you care! I'm not saying that straight guys can't show that same love, but your willingness to show it has a lot to do with the success you have in working and relating with them!

I am sorry for L's situation. That could have been me! But I was blessed with 7 amazing years with three Bishops' full authorization to run the YM program exactly BECAUSE I did care and I DID show my love for them! I hate basketball and I could never play or coach - but I cheered them on at every game! They knew I was an uncoordinated touchy-feely nerd - but they learned to accept me and love me... and amazing miracles occurred! I say all this to state that you are in the position to do the same thing - because you are YOU. It's not so much that you or I are gay (and whether that is considered a talent to magnify or not) - it's more that you are YOU and you are willing to MAGNIFY what uniquely makes you YOU!

Sorry, I don't think I'm making any sense... I don't want to even reread what I wrote... I'll just go back into my hole now...

Ammon said...

Beck is a smart guy. Lots of nonsence made perfect sense to me.

Well I for one want to let you know, ME, that you have helped me tons. I've got your blog in my favorites list and I come here to read everything you write. I turned 18 today so there is a definite age gap between the two of us, but you and I came out to ourselves and our family at about the same time so I relate to a lot of what you are going through. Thank you for what you do. I'm still trying to find how to "magnify myself" too. Loving who you are is a big step foward. You are doing great!

MoHoHawaii said...

I think being gay is innate. When you magnify your talent here, what you are really doing is allowing yourself to be more authentic.

Authenticity is a very powerful part of human relationships. It is no wonder that the young people you help can feel it.

(BTW, one of the biggest arguments against being closeted is that it hinders authenticity. Of course, I understand that not everyone is in a position to be able to come out.)

Mormon Enigma said...

one of the biggest arguments against being closeted is that it hinders authenticity

Baby steps. A year ago I couldn't have even said "I'm gay", anonymously or otherwise.

And, it's so warm and cozy in my closet. It's comfortable. It's like that old shirt I keep wearing that my wife wants to throw away.

But, you bring up an interesting question: Is it possible to be authentic and closeted simultaneously? A corollary question might be: How important is it to be authentic? I might have to think about these things for a while and then blog about it.