Three days ago My Love and I came out to our families.The day we’ve been waiting for, agonizing over, dreading for more than ten years ago happened. And it doesn’t feel like much has changed.
My Love was at breakfast with her mom who was in town. In between the coffee and bagels and silverware, her mom hesitantly asked, “Are you and W together?” My Love skirted around the question for as long as she could before finally taking a big breath and sighing, “Yes.” Her mom sat there with a blank look on her face, taking it all in. She didn’t yell. She didn’t cry. She simply said, “I don’t agree but know that I love you and W very much and that will never change.” She innocently asked a handful of questions, including if we could contract AIDS or not, to which My Love gently explained no.
My Love then texted me at work. My first thought was, “Alright…here we go!” Processing it further with her as I got home made us both realize how we really were in this together, for the long haul and were head first in one of the most important and scariest seasons our relationship has ever faced. My Love looked at me and thanked me for forcing us into counseling because who knew how our relationship would have fared otherwise.
Later that evening we called the rest of the members of our families, one by one. In between each call or text and their reactions, we processed. We cried, huddled together in our bed, unaware of anything else in the world but this moment, clinging to one another in a desperate plea for something to hold onto. Trying our best to be mindful and breathe deeps and letting the overwhelming sea of emotions take their course before we moved on to the next. We felt numb, unable to grasp the reality of what was taking place.
The rest of My Love’s family expressed grief and sadness but unconditional love. They asked questions. They cried. But they reaffirmed their love for My Love and that it is something that will never change. We were happily surprised but still a bit wary at what that love looks like in the future. Only time will tell and we will gladly take whatever glimpses of hope for relationships similar to the ones with had with them again.
I texted Brother, who quickly responded, “You’re my sister no matter what. It’s your life and it’s what you make of it, it doesn’t change the fact that I love you,” among other affirming and positive things. I could barely read the words aloud to My Love over the lump of love and relief in my throat. His wife shared a big “Congrats on coming out of the closet!” and stated that she had always known and was so excited for us – and immediately asked if we were planning on having babies. The idea of getting to see them as Aunt and Uncle makes my heart swell like nothing else. In that moment I sighed a breath of relief, knowing that I had at least some family in my camp, but I still stood wary and watchful, not being able to discern what that support will look like.
Mom & Dad’s reaction was different. Confused and angry, they said hurtful words about my love for My Love that still remain etched in my brain like a haunting shadow. They hung up on me mid-sentence and refused to let me share pivotal facts that may help them process better. They cut off communication as they believe that because “homosexuality is wrong and is not Biblical, there’s nothing further to talk about.”
I understand my parents response and almost expected that of them and I don’t hold the pain their words caused against them. I have no idea what reconciliation looks like with them but am content in that. I never meant to bring them agony and anguish and hold this as an opportunity to get to intentionally pray and lift them up to the Lord, every time my heart tugs from missing them. In all of this however, I realize that I have been in seasons where I was an orphan before and revel in the simplicity of it, being able to rely on God in that way again.
God was there that night, the entire time. His peace and rest and reassurance was protecting our hearts and minds and we felt assured. Felt confident. Felt excited. Since then His tangible presence has been alive in the silent and loud moments, reminding us of who we are to Him. How that’s all that matters.
My Love and I are processing. We are afraid. We are uncertain. Sometimes we’re a weepy mess in the middle of a pint of ice cream. Sometimes we’re giddy, reveling in our independence and new-found reliance on one another and anticipating our near-future with wedding rings. Slowly and carefully stepping into this big world, we are hand in hand with nothing but love in our hearts. We are truly living in the tension of this season – confused about where our loved ones are at in their process and craving normalcy all over again, knowing that it is simply going to take time and that it’s OK. It’s a new dance in which My Love and I are learning the steps that we’ll eventually teach the rest of the world. We’ll begin with our families then our beloved friends and neighbors and so on, bit by bit, one by one. Some may take longer to learn. Some know the steps already. But baby, we’re dancing none the less.
I know it’ll get better. I want to believe that the hardest part is already over. And I imagine that there are those who we haven’t told that already know or others who may be in our same boat. If that’s you, be brave, brother or sister and take our hand in this journey. Because God knows we need you in this time maybe more than you need us.