Sometimes I think God has a huge sense of humor, because for as crazy as it feels with my best friend who’s been gay his entire life going through a total rejection of that now, receiving an email from someone who once did that very rejecting of gay people like he and I, yet now realizing how far off they were in their views from God’s higher and more loving truth, seems even crazier.
How all this came about requires going back to the beginning, which is over 25 years ago in fact, when I initially became best friends with a guy in college who would eventually become the first true love of my life, even though I was totally oblivious to what was transpiring within me then.
As I got to know this person during that period of my life, who I’ll refer to by his first initial “R”, I’d also go on to meet his mother, who I’d quickly learn was an extremely conservative Christian. I was ok with that at first because I really didn’t know what my sexuality was at the time nor did I even have much of a connection to God then either. A day came though when I’d realize what was going on within me and it came immediately after getting clean and sober from alcohol and drugs. It was then I fully grasped I was gay and always had been, but far more difficult, I also saw that I had fallen in love with “R”. It took me six months after starting my emergence from the closet to actually tell “R” about my sexuality and my feelings for him. “R” would completely reject me after that, even though we had shared many close moments during our drinking days that one would seriously have to put into question his sexuality as well. Regardless, a few years went by before I would work up enough courage to contact “R”’s mother to see if maybe “R” might be open to talking to me again. During my phone call with her, she asked why my friendship with her son had fallen apart and it was then I got fully honest with her as well. I told her about my sexuality, which was as far as I got before she began proselytizing about ex-gay ministries and how I wasn’t keeping to the will and love of God. I mailed her a letter after that call that was intended for “R”, while in turn she mailed me literature about leaving “the gay lifestyle”. I’d never read any of that literature she sent me and during my last contact with her over the phone, she told me “R” wanted nothing to do with me, even all those years later, and had no desire to read my letter either. She told me she’d also be praying for me, to be free of the “lifestyle” I was living and upon hanging up, I had no intention of ever speaking to her again, as both she and her son had caused me great pain and suffering.
But obviously God had other plans, as about a week ago, I’d open my email to see I had received something from my personal website. It was a personal correspondence from someone, which at first glance I thought was just spam, because I get a lot of that on my website. I had almost hit the delete button when I realized it was actually not spam and instead from “R”’s mother, the subject of which said two words: “An apology”.
While I feel her correspondence’s exact contents are probably best meant for her eyes and mine only, I will summarize by saying that she expressed her sincerest apologies for the way she treated me all those years ago due to my sexuality. She also spoke of how she used to be in such a narrow, fear-based evangelical arrogance and that she was in a completely different place today where she saw me with much more unconditionally loving eyes and heart. What’s interesting about this, and ironic for that matter, is how this contact from “R”’s mother came at a time when my own best friend has been going through a place of rejecting his own sexuality due to all the messages he’s been receiving no different from the ones I received from her long ago.
I’ve been pondering the sheer scope of all this and been left wondering if this was somehow God’s way of answering one of my prayers. Truth be told, I’ve been questioning my own sexuality in life all over again solely due to all the conservative Biblical-based messages my best friend has been preaching as of late. Most probably wouldn’t understand what it’s like to have a 22-year friendship with someone who’s gay suddenly say it’s a sin to be that way and reject it outright. Nevertheless, I feel “R”’s mother’s email came at the exact time I really needed a strong reminder from God that I was perfectly created just as I am and perfectly loved just as I am, that being gay.
So, for now, this story has been left with me sending a response to “R”’s mother asking to continue the conversation over the phone. I truly hope she’ll be open to it, as I’d love to know how she went from one end of the spectrum to another when it comes to her views on God. Whether that ever happens or not doesn’t matter so much as I’ve come to accept that maybe, just maybe, God really does have a huge sense of humor in how prayers get answered…
Peace, love, light, and joy,
Andrew Arthur Dawson