better than fair

I mentioned in “some of Tony’s story” that I’ve gotten really mad about being gay.

But I don’t really get that angry very often. I am, however, an intense person; I like to complain and whine – partly joking half the time – and I’m sort of a drama king. It’s mostly a humor thing for me, and I think (think) people find it funny. But I rarely get angry, except for this one time…
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I used to be pretty good at faking being straight, at least when it came to people asking me about girls. It’s not like I had an emergency “Homosexual Orientation Masking Operation” – it was more that I really would try to convince myself that I liked a certain girl. The guys around me talked about girls all the time, who was cute and who wasn’t, and who they want to date (or do other things with). I wanted to fit in, to just “be a guy” like everyone else, so I imitated them.  I would try to follow the “Christian dating script” because that was how my life was supposed to go, at least according to everyone else. And I really used to believe that I would follow the common pattern – find a girl, date her, and marry her – because I thought my gay attractions would just disappear. I figured it was merely a sin I chose to struggle with because that was the only description of homosexuality I was hearing.

So I would seriously try to convince myself that I liked certain girls. I duped quite a few people that I liked girls because I said the right things and dropped the right hints. I did all this because I didn’t have my own self – my own reasons for behaving. I didn’t really base my decisions on who I  was in Christ and what was actually best for my life; instead, I based them on what the surrounding culture was telling me I should do in order to fit in.

Once I started to face my gay attractions, admitted they were real, and became honest with myself, I stopped convincing myself that I liked certain girls, which in some ways was a huge relief because it freaked me out to think that I might marry somebody who I really didn’t feel like marrying at all, much less be sexually active with. Anyone who carefully watched the “interest” I had in a girl would realize that there was almost zero sexual passion from my end. In fact, the thought of kissing a girl kind of grosses me out a little bit. That’s probably weird for some of you to hear, but that’s how it is.

By my junior year at Wheaton I no longer had a girl I was “interested” in. Ask me what girl I liked, and I would probably hesitate, look befuddled, and stammer out the name of one of the girls who I am friends with…. “well, uhhhhhhh, I mean, what’s her face is cute and stuff, yeah.”

“So you gonna ask her out?”

“I mean, maybe, yeah…… sometime in the future, I dunno, I’m too busy and stuff, and….and…ummm…and… I don’t even know if she likes me. And it just isn’t good timing, you know? I’m way too busy for a relationship.”

“Oh, come on, don’t let practicality ruin your chance of a relationship.  Love is so much more important than that! Ask her out!”

“Yeah, uhhh, I mean, you’re right, maybe I will do that at some point.”

I’ve always felt so gay in those moments. There was one conversation of particular note that took place my senior year at Wheaton:

There were five or six of us guys all sitting around in the living room of  our house. I didn’t know them all very well, and only one of them knew I was gay. They all started talking about their crushes. I don’t know why I didn’t bolt when this started; for some incomprehensible reason I lacked the foresight to realize that they were going to ask me too.

“So, Tony, what about you, who have some of your CFAs (crush from afar) been?”

Crap. I was caught TOTALLY off guard this time, and I wasn’t prepared to lie or make up the name of a girl or anything. So I said the most self-conscious thing possible.

“Uh, no one.”

“Dude, come on! Tell us! Come on, we’re trying to build intentional, holistic community!”

“Seriously, no one. I haven’t really had a crush since sophomore year.”

In my head, all I was thinking, “They know you’re GAY! They’re all thinking it! It’s so obvious! You blew it! Cover blown! You’re ruined!” (they probably totally weren’t thinking this)

Thankfully, the one guy in the room who did know I was gay diverted the conversation and immediately started to talk about something else. Thank goodness for him.

I absconded  from the conversation feeling humiliated, isolated, awkward, different, and so very gay.

I went upstairs and cried.

The interaction triggered a flood of emotions. “Why do I have to be gay? It isn’t fair!!!! I should be able to have socially acceptable crushes and relationships just like everybody else!”

I went to bed feeling depressed, and I woke up…..angry. I was so angry. Angry that my life was different. Angry that I had to experience an awkward interaction.  Angry that I was never going to get married. Angry that I was gay. Angry that life wasn’t fair.

The same conversation-diverting friend and I talked later that night, and thankfully his loving presence and Christ-likeness took the anger and pain away.

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It  will probably not be long before I am once again angry about being gay. I don’t doubt that.

But I’ve also come to accept that it’s okay that my life isn’t fair and that I’m not some special victim of unfairness.

Is it fair that people are born blind? Is it fair that there are orphans? Is it fair that people die of cancer? Is it fair that children have abusive parents? Is it fair that natural disasters kill some people but not others? Is it fair that people lose their jobs even if they are the best at them? Is it fair that there are people in poverty? Is it fair that there are heterosexual singles who desire a relationship but never find someone?

No.

Is it fair that I’m gay? No.

All of us have to deal with something that is simply unfair. All of us have hardships. All of us have pain. Some people experience more unfairness  and suffering than others, and we should go especially out of our way to help and love these people…

But is life about fairness? No.

Was it fair that Jesus died on the cross for us? No. But He did, and praise God for that!

Life is not about fairness. It’s about knowing Jesus and His love for us, following Him because of that love, and giving ourselves entirely to Him and His redemptive plan. And when we do that, God will do something beautiful with our lives even if we don’t see it or don’t know what it’s going to be.

Jesus’ unfair death has saved countless lives.

And that’s why I trust God even though my life may seem very unfair sometimes. By following what I believe is His desire for my life (like not becoming romantically involved with a guy), He will provide me with something far more beautiful than I could have possibly come up with for myself. And that really is something to rejoice in.

Tony

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10 thoughts on “better than fair

  1. I’m so glad I Steve Gershom recommended your site! Expect even more traffic now! I look forward to reading…..pax, jp

  2. yes! Great, great, great!
    It is so good to find you, people with the same pains and with hope and courage, after believing one was alone and trying something stupid. Lights in the darkness my friends (if you allow me). I hope and pray you never give up.
    (as “steve” said, coming because of his ad: deserved!).

  3. Wow!!! This could have been something that I wrote with my own hand! I also get angry (not as often as I used to though), I also have those awkward conversations!

    Thank you for this, it helped me realise that I’m not alone, and that yes, sometimes life is unfair! (Which I’ve told others often, but never really wanted to believe for myself!)

    • Best of all, is when your two brothers are drooling over a pair of breasts, and you find yourself nodding in agreement on the outside, but inside your wondering what all the fuss is about!

  4. Tony, I love what you’re doing. And I love reading what you and Jordan are writing. Genuinely interesting and very encouraging to see great (I’m assuming since I don’t know you :p) Christian guys like you two tackling (potentially) one of the biggest issues currently facing the Church. I’ve wanted to give you both some encouragement for some time, but I especially liked this post. I think it’s true that God will provide us with something far more beautiful than we would have given ourselves. (Reminds me of the CS Lewis quote about making mud pies…) Thanks for the honesty and openness in sharing your stories.

  5. My exact situation down to the bone! So glad I’m not the only one. Thank you for being willing and open to share your story.

  6. I really appreciate your blog and helping folks like me (with very little experience or wisdom in this area) to know what gay Christian men are going through. We work with Christian college students, and I want to be able to love them well in the way that Christ does. Good stuff!

  7. Wow. Thank you. I read the first few posts of this blog when you guys first started publishing it, and then I sort of let it go when finals and summer hit and I’m just now catching up. I think it’s wonderful and beautiful of you to open yourselves up and share with anyone and everyone who cares to read it what it’s like to be a gay Christian.

    This post in particular has really spoken to me. At the beginning of this summer, coincidentally right when this post came out, and right after I stopped reading, I was struggling a lot with the unfairness of the world. It sparked from something that happened to a close friend – I felt exactly like you described. I went to bed miserable the night I found out, and when I woke up I realized I was smoldering with anger at the injustice of it all. And “it all” expanded to not just her situation, but the unfairness I have and will have to experience in my life, and the unfairness I have seen in others and helped them through. I was just so mad for close to a month – and I am truly not the type of person who even gets mad, let alone stays angry or lets the anger simmer and stew.

    I prayed a lot, and eventually I started forcing myself to read my Bible. A Psalm a day. I went somewhere to think and hashed all my feelings out and talked them over with myself – it helped me to think and express all these emotions. But of course a teeny part of me still felt a little crazy, and it is SO comforting to know that I’m not the only person who has felt angry about the unfairness of the world. And it is even more comforting to hear your eventual response to it – to be reminded that Christ didn’t die for us because it was fair. He died for us so that we could someday escape this broken and unjust world to live in the kingdom of heaven.

  8. Ah, the whole asking about crushes thing. Being bisexual made that interesting, since I could usually honestly pick out a girl that I had some level of crush on. Sometimes my strongest crush at the time was a girl, and people often figured it out. They didn’t tend to figure it out when it was a guy, which probably happened more often. (My sexuality is kind of weird. I’m more likely to have lustful fantasies about straight sex, but I tend to notice the hot guys more readily and to have more same-sex crushes. But neither of those is 100% oriented towards one sex.) I guess it did feel like a lie of omission to not mention the gay crushes, but I wasn’t about to bring up specifics even with guys who knew about my sexuality – just too awkward.

    In terms of your more major point about fairness, I actually feel that things are unfairly in my favor with someone who has bisexual attraction, since I got out of so many of the difficulties you chronicle here. But that’s how life is in this fallen world – you’ve analyzed it well.

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