Tuesday, April 26, 2011

All Who Wander Are Not Lost

I will soon reach the point in my life at which I will have been at peace with my bisexuality for half of the time I spent struggling with it. I struggled with it for almost 30 years and for the last almost 15 years, I've been largely at peace with it and have come to a growing understanding of it.

The last 15 years have not been without their challenges by any means. Neither have they brought me to a place where I can say once and for all that if I had the power to make myself straight rather than bisexual, I would do it. By far though there are more days now that I think I wouldn't take such an opportunity than there are days that I would jump at such an opportunity.

That's a far cry from those 30 years in which every single day, I pleaded with God to make me straight and grew increasingly angry and frustrated because the pleas were never  heard.

I think now, the days in which I think about being straight are simply connected with my increasing desire to lead a more simple life. I have always been a Type A personality. I'm a take charge kind of guy. No matter what I'm doing, I'm thinking about and making plans for what I'm going to be doing next.

I had a career that was well suited to a Type A personality. It was full of stress, never a stopping place, and highly visible.

But all of that is quickly becoming a part of the past. These days, I'm much more ready to stop and smell the roses and to take time to appreciate the finer things of life that all those years of hard work and stress have made possible for me. I find that as I get older, the days seem to get shorter and its easy to fill them with things I enjoy doing or even sometimes doing nothing at all. I find great satisfaction in finding that I can really be of help to others who are struggling down the same path I struggled along for so many years.

As far as my bisexuality itself is concerned, I don't guess one ever gets to the point that they don't have "what if" thoughts. At least when you're as introspective as I am, you don't. And there is no doubt that my life would be more simple, less complex, if I were straight. Yet I have come to see that it wouldn't be my life.

I still think from time to time about the burden I placed on my wife when I told her of my bisexuality. It's not that she didn't handle it well. She handled it amazingly well. But its a burden I wish she hadn't had to deal with. Like almost everything else in life, telling her, was a multifaceted thing. It had its good points and it had its bad points. I am reminded of William James' words, "there is no worse lie than a truth misunderstood by those who hear it." And I must admit that I struggle with having told her because I simply don't think that a straight woman can fully understand the motivations of a bisexual man.

Telling her has caused her to sometimes doubt that I still find her attractive. And I think that telling her has also caused her to feel less secure in my love for her. That is a shame because although real love changes with time as we age, the reality is that I feel a more abiding love for her now than I did when I was a young man. I have come to see that truth is not always the kindest strategy.  When truth causes one to conjure up lies and self doubt and unfounded fears because of the truth she has been told, is truth still the desired way?

The other thing I know is that because of my sexuality, people have come into my life who would not have come into my life had I been a straight guy. Many of these guys have become true friends and one has become a very special buddy and one has become a soulmate.

In an odd twist of fate, one of these guys has become the brother my wife lost. She loves  him as if he is her brother and her life has been enhanced by having him as a part of her life. Its as if he has been a gift to her to compensate somewhat for the truth I told her which has caused her pain.

I am becoming convinced that while the United States is facing an almost unprecedented time of economic, political and social hardship and change; it is, never-the-less, on the verge of a sea change in the way its people live and interact with one another.

The times are changing and they are changing fast. Many of the changes are perceived has worrisome and some of them are worrisome; but many of them are changes that will ultimately be good for the country and its people.

Attitudes are changing about human sexuality. Gays and lesbians are no longer, "those people." They are our sons and daughters, our grandsons and granddaughters and our nieces and nephews. While most people would still agree that children are given great advantage by being raised in an unbroken home by a loving Mom and a committed Dad, there is little doubt that more and more people, even religious people, are coming to see that two Dads or two Moms who want to raise kids and who are committed to raising them well, beats the hell out of the foster care system in this country  that all too often leaves kids scared and emotionally and socially damaged for life.

Most people are beginning to see that everyone deserves to be happy in life and that living and allowing others to live as homosexual couples unhampered by prejudices, judgmental attitudes or a lack of  feelings of self worth is a good thing.

While diversity is not the life style we who are older think of when we think of our own childhoods in the 50's or 60's, diversity has really always been the hallmark of America and diversity instilled with a sense of common cause has always been the great and awesome strength of America that is found no place else on earth in such abundance.

The last half century has in hindsight been an awesome period. We are truly blessed to have lived in interesting times. The old ways of Americans are giving way to new ways. All that is old is not necessarily good or better and all that is new is not necessarily bad or worse.

Many of us have, not of our own choosing, been on the cutting edge of great social change in this country. To many of us, it has seemed that we have had to struggle mightily to make our lives make sense, not to mention the struggle just to keep our lives together. It has often seemed as if we are all alone wandering in a wilderness of dubiety and uncertainty concerning what we should and shouldn't do about our most personal thoughts and desires.

Even in  the new world that is quickly unfolding, there will be challenges. When I was a teenager, I worked in a restaurant that would not serve black people. Now, that is a situation that most of us can't even imagine and would not condone. Yet, there are pockets of racism still today among those who are undereducated, underprivileged or just plain ignorant.

So it will be in the new society that is quickly unfolding. The time is at hand when no one will be judged as to their value to society based on their sexuality. No one will care what you are. They will only look at who you are and what you can and will contribute to the common good. True, just as there are a minority of out and out racists still today, there will be a minority of out and out bigots in the new society that is unfolding. They will be found most likely among those who cling to a radical and bigoted view of Christianity. But just as racists of the 60's finally collapsed as a real force in society under the weight of their own hatred, Christian bigots will collapse under the weight of their own perversion of the Gospel of Christ.

Already, the message from many pulpits is changing to a message of understanding and acceptance. Several pastors of huge mega churches across the United States are even now telling their congregations that what they have come to know about homosexual, bisexual and lesbian people, they have learned from the children of their church members. And thus, homosexuality is not incompatible with being raised as a Christian. Other pastors are using the power that comes from being the leader of congregations numbering in the thousands to write books in which they speak of a Grace that truly is unmerited, abundant and free to all people without cost regardless of any of the circumstances of their lives.

I wandered in a self made hell for too many years. I have met others along the way who have done the same. But, in some ways I think that to wander is ultimately a good thing. Those who wander often also question. Those who wander often also make themselves open to new ideas and new ways of thinking. And those who question and make themselves open to new ideas often are the pioneers who pave the way for the thousands and tens of thousands who will follow. All who wander are not lost. Indeed, sometimes they are the avant-garde!


Anyone can comment on what I write in this blog. Regretfully, the recent amount of spam in my email account as required that I reinstate the word verification process for comments which I personally hate.

But at the same time I have loosened the comment moderation process so that those of you who have a Google Blogger ID or other recognized blogger ID will no longer need to wait for your comment to be moderated. I'm hoping this will tempt you to take the trouble to comment.

The truth is I want respectful comments both from those who agree with me and those who do not. All I as is that you keep comments to the point, clean and non-threatenting.

I look forward to hearing from each of you.

Jack Scott