In The Closet, Out Of My Mind

This article was taken from the Gay Christian Fellowship Website and can be viewed in it’s original format at (http://gaychristianfellowship.com/articles.php?aid=1027)

The article was written by Morgan Smith
August 19, 2010

 

If you had asked me a year ago “When was the last time you cried?” I would have been completely honest with you and replied “I honestly cannot remember.” It’s strange how much a year can change things. It has been happening at least once a week now.

It usually happens late at night when I’m left alone with myself. As I let my music go from song to song and sit quietly on my bed thinking about everything that is going on in my life, I inevitably come to the topic that has been such a huge part of my life in the past few months. I’m gay and nobody knows. My parents don’t know, my brothers don’t know, my relatives don’t know, my friends don’t know, and my enemies don’t know. No one knows. So I lie on my bed at night and cry. My shoulders jolt up and down, my chest heaves, my mouth contorts into a rather unattractive grimace, and the tears fall off of my cheeks and onto the pillow that I have my face buried in.

What can I do? I’m waging a cold war on myself. On the one hand I could simply “come out” of the closet. But what does that mean for me? It means that I thrust myself into the spotlight. With so much responsibility on my plate now, this would just heap one more gigantic issue onto the pile. It would create a conflict between the church that I attend and myself. I go to a non-affirming church and I’m currently involved in some projects that require assistance from the congregants as well as the leadership of the church. If I come out, what happens? I would lose their support faster than you can say “Reconciled Gay Christian.”

It could also injure the image of the church. I’m leading a landscaping project for the church and if I decide to drop the bombshell in the middle of this project, what course of action would the church take? Would they halt the project which I’ve invested so much time into already? Most likely. They can’t really have an openly gay kid involved in such a project without, whether through affirmation or silence, accepting homosexuality and causing an uproar in the church. It would be a quick way of losing a good-sized chunk of congregants. No, they’d force me to drop the project.

Also, this landscaping project is my Boy Scout Eagle Project. As a Boy Scout, I cannot identify as gay and serve in a leadership position. So not only would I lose the support of my church, I’d also be denied the chance to obtain my Eagle rank (the highest rank in Boy Scouting).

Too much is at stake. I’m not willing to put my church, whom I love, in such an awkward position and I’m not willing to give up on my goal of reaching the Eagle rank.I’m pinned down by my responsibilities, obligations, and aspirations. I cannot just throw those off without doing a lot of damage to people I care deeply about. Coming out, here and now, is not an option I’m willing or able to consider.

So where does that leave me? The closet. I have got to lock away this little secret in my head. That is so much easier said than done. Concealing what is on your mind and in your heart is not a simple task. It requires constant awareness of everything you say and do. You cannot make the mistake of accidentally commenting on the attractiveness of that boy that you just passed walking down the street. You can’t leave http://www.gaychristianfellowship.com up on your computer screen without the possibility of Mom and Dad barging in and seeing it. The “it’s research” excuse doesn’t work more than once or twice. You can’t really say anything when the issue of gay marriage pops up at the dinner table. And those skinny jeans that you bought the last time you were out shopping? Yeah, I don’t care how much you love them, they are suspicious. So much vigilance and restraint is required.

The worst part is that while you are doing so much to hide the truth, you still have all the responsibilities that you deal with every day. School work, sports, chores, student groups, and multiple other extra-curricular activities. All of that is fairly exhausting in and of itself, but I haven’t even touched on the overwhelming fear that I experience when the thought of coming out crosses my mind.

How many loved ones am I going to lose once I come out? Who will reject me? Will I face a lot of discrimination and harassment? Will my parents ever be proud of me again? And what about all of the stuff that I haven’t even thought of yet! What else could be lurking out there in the vast unknown that is my future? All of these questions bombard my mind and every situation plays out like a sick, heart-wrenching movie.

It’s at this point that all of my emotions converge. The fear that fuels my façade, the anxiousness and impatience to reveal the true me, the sadness at the thought of so many broken and lost friendships, and the exhaustion that has been wreaking havoc on my mind and body all come shooting up into my throat. Then I fall onto my bed, curl up in a ball, and sob.So this brings us back to the original question. What can I do? The answer is quite simple. There is nothing I can do. Pretty scary, don’t you think? That’s what I thought for a while as well.

Then I had one of those moments. The sort of moment where I just wanted to smack myself for leaving such a huge part of my life out of this process. For too long, the most important part of the equation was left out.

I forgot about God.

While I felt terribly ashamed for such a careless, absent minded mistake, something else happened. The relief began to settle inside of me. All of this time that I was trying to do it all by myself, God had been trying to remind me that I can’t do it without him. Let me tell you, when God teaches you a lesson it is humbling. This moment of pure understanding was the turning point of my post-reconciliation trek to this point. The lesson God taught me totally changed my experience in this weird limbo between the point that I accepted myself and the point that I will tell others.

My lesson was that of faith. From the very start I should have had faith that he was going to get me through this.

“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

Jeremiah 29:11
From the outset of it all, God has been guiding me to my hopes and planning for me to prosper. Of all the uncertainties that loom in what is to come, I can only ever be sure of one thing and that one thing is God. If the only thing that I can be certain of has promised me a future of hope and prosperity, what do I have to fear? What do I have to be saddened by? What do I have to be overwhelmed by?

“Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.”

Psalms 23:4

 

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

John 16:33

 

“The LORD will fulfill his purpose for me; your love, O LORD, endures forever”

Psalms 138:8
I can only be certain of God, and his word hasn’t failed me yet. Every day is a struggle, but there is a light at the end of this long tunnel. So I now walk boldly along the path that God has made for me, letting the one who forged the path lead me. I’ve got a guide on this journey. He is my comfort. He is my peace. His love for me endures forever. He removes these burdensome and overwhelming chains. He takes me by the hand, hoists me onto my feet, and encourages me onward.
No, I am not alone in this closet. In fact, I can barely see in here with God shining so brightly.
Hope. Faith. Love.

Morgan Smith

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