I am a mother of gay sons. That's right ....sons. I don't know why I get this blessing in my life but it is indeed a blessing. I have had to travel this unknown path with one hand in my Wayne's strong grip and my other hand in Christ's. It has been at times a difficult and illuminating journey.
When I was a young mother, I knew "everything." I probably was judgier than I should have been and was able to solve other family's issues with a wave of my magic superiority wand and all knowing advice. I used to be so sure of many things I’m not so sure of now. How did this happen? How did I get here? Having gay children has opened me up to many new life lessons. But on the flip side, this journey seems to have made me a nicer person: less judgmental, more compassionate, less rigid, more flexible, maybe even more spiritual. I believe the Lord calls this "growth." What I do still know is Heavenly Father loves me and is aware of me and my children. I have had a trial of my faith for 8 years now.... I used to think "if I just had more faith" I could make this all right....but I realize now the faith I have is enough...and everything is all right.
While I was pondering on all this, a character in a TV show said something that impressed me so much. It's from Lark Rise to Candleford. Dorcas Lane said this to another in spiritual crisis: “Your faith does not depend upon you impressing the bishop…. It is yours. It lies beside you on your pillow at night. It comforts you when there is no human comfort to be found. Your faith has stayed and sustained you through many trials. It has sustained others too.” I now realize that my faith isbetween me and God and that it hascomforted me when there was “no human comfort to be found.”
When Landon was little he loved to play with dolls and wear blankets tied to his body as a dress. I didn't neccessarily encourage this, but I didn't stop it. He was always the princess and he loved playing the mom. He always wanted to be a female character for Halloween.... at one point I was getting exasperated with this and came up with the brilliant idea that all 4 boys would be dalmation puppies for Halloween from Disney's 101 Dalmations. Landon piped up... "Okay But I get to be Perdita." That is the mother dog....... We put Landon in soccer and scouts and he loved "the outfits". He loved to sing and be in musicals with the family...and he was just the sweetest, bossiest, energetic, most loving child with a very high voice. Landon did great in grade school and had many friends. In Jr. High something changed. My beautiful boy, was being made fun of and ridiculed and called gay a lot. We talked to him about this and asked him if he was and he said "no"....through many tears. It was going to be okay if he was...we could find help for him. At the time I was still under the dilusion that being gay was a choice, not an orientation, something that needed to be fixed. (Our actions are a choice our sexual orientation is not. )
Landon was tortured and tormented through jr high; made it into High school, and found a group of great friends and survived with his self esteem mostly intact. It helped that I was a teacher at the high school while he was there and he would seek refuge in my room. He waited til his first year in College to officially "come out." He was so confused and full of sorrow and just didn't want to live. He actually attempted suicide and ended up in hospital for a few weeks while we worked through it. Those were desperate times. I look back on that and hope that I didn't add to his suffering, but I probably did with all of my "choice" talk.
While I was wallowing in mother doubt and what did I do wrong, and why does God hate my child, and how does this all fit in with the gospel and why and how to love now.....????? My sweet Wayne never waivered in his love for our son. He never got depressed or discouraged about our family. Wayne has always been better at all of this than I. It's probably because of his brother Dale, and all of his issues that Wayne is able to see beyond "the stuff" and just love the person. Whatever it is, I'm glad he has always been here to stablize me and buoy me up, and to love on our children.
It was been a journey for all of us.
We have come a long way as an extended family these 8 years. When I sent around a letter/email telling family what was going on with Landon and his sorrow and his "coming out"...my sweet sister finally opened up about her self and her partner. It was always a don't ask, don't tell subject...and now we could talk about it and express our support openly. Many good things resulted from this letter. We have many gay relatives in the Cole/Butters line.....it is genetic. I know this now. There is a whole spectrum of sexuality from Hetero to Homo… and all of us fall somewhere on this scale. We are not all a like. I know being gay is not contagious or a learned behavior. It is not an addiction. It does not make one a pedophile. There really are so many lies and misconceptions floating around out there.
Landon has found joy. He leads a good life. He has a great partner in Alex and loves his two children, Sophia and Andrew, like his own. We love them all as well and welcome them into our home and lives with open arms and hearts.
The journey continues......
It has been a difficult year for my Truman. He is my other gay son. He didn't come to this knowledge about himself or was willing to share any of this with us until recently. His path was not like Landon's at all. Tru dated many girls all through high school and served an honorable LDS mission to England. He was living with a bunch of boys in Provo last year when his world started to turn. He had to come to terms with his sexuality. He moved home rapidly, was depressed, spent much time in his room, had no desire to get a job, barely made it through school..... all signs that we knew something was up, but he kept insisting he was fine. I couldn't believe it took Tru so long to tell us about what was going on with him. He let many close friends and other siblings know before his parents. That was sad for me. I thought we were always open and accepting, but it was a difficult conversation for Tru to have with us. Needless to say, we were blindsided. Tru is struggling with how he fits in with the gospel and what his life is going to look like now. So many things he thought he knew, have been challenged. What I know is I love him...and I am here for him....and whatever choices he makes, I will continue to love him….and learn from him.
Truman is finding his own way. He is happy.
Let me close with a verse from Proverbs that means a lot to me:
“Trust in the Lord with all thy heart and lean not unto thine own understanding.
In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths.”
I realize now that my journey isn't just about Faith...it's about Trust. I need to Trust that the Lord knows what he is doing......and it's all going to work out, even if I have no idea how.