Sunday, June 17

Father's Day

My little brother turned 13 yesterday and entered the world of being a teenager. Stereotypical teenagers seem rebellious, strong-willed, and unwilling to think about the future. The reality is that teenage years are filled with tumultuous moments of pain, isolation, grief, frustration, and joy along the path of finding self. Yes, many teenagers rebel. Many burn themselves on the stove they know will burn them... and others leave their hands in place, hoping that somehow by so doing the pain will go away.

It seems the world today is full of moral teenagers. Moral teenagers who rebel against the love of a Father who can see the end from the beginning... and run down pathways far from those He shares. Gay Mormons who have spent their lives following the rules and decide not to. Men and women who forget the childlike innocence they once had, believe they know better, and walk away.

I'm not immune. I've walked more than my fair share of darkened paths, and have had plenty of times that I showed by my actions a distrust of God and His Plan for me.

But today, in a world that affirms self above all else, where millions of moral teenagers rebel against a Heavenly Father when He asks them to put Him before everything from physical to emotional to mental health... today I want to affirm that Father and celebrate everything He has done for me.

He's perfect. He's always there. He loves me more than I could ever imagine, even so much that He puts me through sometimes abject misery with the hope that I can someday become the man He sees in me.

I don't completely understand God's Plan for me. I don't know how I fit in as a gay Mormon, or even sometimes what He wants me to do. But I know that He loves me.

And that's enough.

The reality of that was cemented to me at Church today. Today I sat with a brother in my ward whose life is massively different from mine. He can't open a piece of candy by himself, pick up a piece of bread by himself, cross his legs, walk down the hall or even speak. Sitting next to him put my difficulties - a handful of burns, numbness in my hands from learning aerial gymnastics, and being gay - into stark contrast. He's a smart guy. He wrote a powerful talk months ago that someone else read. He understands everything. He has the same emotional and physical "needs" I do. And he struggles with picking up a Sacrament cup.

When life is easy, it's easy to feel entitled. "God would never ask me to sacrifice..." right? Wrong. God sends His children into imperfect situations, fully aware that some of those situations will be excruciating - ripping apart the outer shell of the natural man to expose the inner self He sees within.

I'm grateful for a Father who loves me enough to allow me to live. To experience. To smile. To cry. To feel. To want. To have enormous angst that rips me apart and makes me want to curl up into a ball or cry or just sometimes disappear. For a Father who walks with me on the difficult path back home, because He loves me and can see the end from the beginning.

I'm nowhere near perfect... but today I affirm my commitment to honoring my Heavenly Father. To trusting Him and always putting Him first, no matter what the physical, emotional, mental, or social consequences may be.