Monday, May 23, 2011

Twists and Turns

My last blog on April 26th was titled All Who Wander Are Not Lost. I couldn't have and I didn't know at that time that I would soon suffer, not for the first time and more than likely not for the last time, a sense of loss in my life.

As I have mentioned before in this blog, I have been blessed and I am blessed with a number of close and true friends. Over the past 15 years, a couple of these friends have been very special friends. I guess one way to describe them would be to say they were friends with benefits. These were men who were true friends and who contributed greatly to my life and who let me contribute to theirs.

One of these very special friendships lasted for ten years as a friendship in which I could explore the physical and emotional side of my bisexuality. The other would have been 5 years old next month. The friend in the first relationship is still my close friend. We see each other on a regular basis. In fact, I visited he and his partner just this last weekend. We shall always be friends, but the sexual part of our friendship ended 5 years ago as he came to a new understanding of himself as a gay guy who wished to live openly as a gay man rather than live mislabeled as a married bisexual man.

The facts are that those ten years together were largely spent in my helping him to accept himself for who and what he was. When he found that he was a gay man, I felt a sense of loss because his desire to live openly as a gay man meant that he was going where I could not go as a bisexual man who loved his wife and family life.

So with an acute sense of loss but nevertheless a sense of satisfaction in having had a part in fostering the personal growth he had achieved and with a sense of thankfulness to him for the growth and understanding he had helped me to achieve concerning my bisexuality, I watched him enter a new life in which I would play much less a part.

As destiny would have it, there quickly came a new guy into my life. As had been true with the first he too was struggling with his life. He needed a friend whom he could talk to and with whom he could be at ease with his sexuality. I was able to offer him the things he needed and he came to me willing to offer me the kind of companionship I had recently lost.

These last 5 years really defy description. From the viewpoint of my bisexuality, they have been fulfilling and filled with great growth in my understanding of myself and my place in life as a married bisexual male.

In other ways the years have not been so good. The challenges of being diagnosed with cancer and so far surviving that set back have been great. I honestly don't think I would have made it through all of it had it not been for my buddy. The prayers help and encouragement of my wife and family and regular friends were invaluable to me, but so was my buddy who stood beside me in the difficult days after surgery encouraging me to know that in spite of all of this he was still there for me. No one but he was in a position to handle that specific task and deal with it with so much empathy and encouragement. Today, I can't say that things are like they were before the cancer, they're not. But they are better than even my doctors expected and I'll always be convinced that it was my buddy's encouragement and friendship in the face of my need that brought that about.

As I look back over the last 5 years though it is not the challenges that I dwell on. Instead it is the good times that I remember. Weekend trips together, soccer games and football games. Hiking along wooded trails; just sitting and having a beer together. All of it was special in a way that only the intense friendship between two guys can be.

Now, quite unexpectedly, that relationship has ended. It ended without fault or anger but simply of the necessity born of tragic circumstance. It ended with our promise to each other to continue our friendship on a different level just as I have done with that earlier friendship. It is my sincere hope that the same kind of success will be forthcoming now.

With what my buddy is facing, its difficult to even think of my wants and needs. I don't feel sorry for myself at all. I only regret the circumstance he faces.

I am a reluctant believer in destiny. I remember very well heavy discussions in my younger days about free will, volition and choice as opposed to destiny and fate. In those long ago discussions I was sure that I was the master of my own fate, the captain of my own soul. The idea of destiny simply struck me as unfair. I could not believe that any loving God would tie us to a destiny over which we had little or no control.

Even today, I struggle with the seeming  injustice of destiny as a concept. But I know without a doubt in my mind that destiny plays a part in our lives. I've seen it play out in mine time after time after time. In the movie Prince of Persia - The Sands of Time, it is said, "Some lives are linked across time connected by an ancient calling that echoes through the ages." I have come to believe it is true for time after time after time I have seen people appear in my life at just the opportune time as if they are responding to a curtain call by God Himself. And I guess I've come to believe that is exactly what is happening.

When I was a kid, it was always the kid who owned the ball or the marbles who made the rules. You might not like but but what were you going to do. It was accept those rules or don't play with his ball. I guess as an adult, I've come to see destiny in the same light.  I see myself, for better or for worse, as a creature of God. I've actually tried to take the agnostic or the atheist route and it just didn't work for me. And so at least for me, God owns the ball, so he makes the rules. And through the years, I've found that I am at my happiest when I'm following what seems to be my destiny. When I try to take a left turn on my own, it doesn't seem to go well a lot of times.

Often, it seems to me that not only do people enter my life as if they are responding to a curtain call from God. They also spend a season of varying length in my life, they contribute to my life and allow me to contribute to theirs and then they either exit stage right from my life or they become one of the regular cast of supporting players in my life and someone new comes along to play a new center stage part in my life in which I will yet again both learn and teach.

So, after 15 years there is  once again an empty spot in my life. There was an earlier time when I would have been very upset about that. I am upset for what my buddy is facing, but I'm not worried about me. Experience has taught me that destiny has something new at hand. I look forward to it with excitement and anticipation.

I long ago learned that life is not a destination. It is a journey. The journey is the meat of life. It is where we find challenge and growth and peace in an process that repeats over and over. The twists and turns along the way are often unexpected but so also are often the rewards.

Jack Scott
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