I’m in the closet. Maybe I’m not in “the” closet, but I’m definitely in one. Now, if you’ve read any of my other blogs, you know that I have an amazing group of friends who have been nothing but supportive of me – not just sexually, but politically and spiritually. But my loving, pro-active, Baptist, conservative parents who lead family devotions, teach Sunday School, and send daily bible verse texts? They have no idea.
When their daughter was in high school and fell in love with her best friend? She couldn’t tell them. Three and a half years later, when that best friend broke her heart? She couldn’t tell them. Instead, she kept it all locked inside. Now, it’s not that she was ashamed of herself or who she loved, she wasn’t. But she was absolutely terrified that the family she loved so much might not accept her. So, she never told them. That oh-so-important piece of her life, of her, she never showed them. And now, when their daughter is four months away from her college graduation, there is still a part of her that they don’t know.
My mother and I got in an argument over gay marriage while I was home for Christmas break. Things were said that hurt me, that made me bitter against not only her, but the church. I kept wondering, would she have said those horrible things to me had she known that she was talking about her daughter? Or does she suspect and was that her attempt to “scare” it out of me? I don’t know. But it hurt. It hurt and I was bitter.
I went for a run. It was cold, raining, and I was crying. My mind was running even faster than I was (not hard to do) – she was close-minded and intolerant, I would never be able to tell them, my mother wouldn’t want me to raise children, and the family I loved might cease to include me. A couple hours later, I returned home. I was on time for dinner, the whole family had managed to be present for this meal (a true feat in our home), and Mom and I acted like nothing ever happened. I was home for one more week and the argument was never mentioned. I went back to school, cried to a couple of my best friends about the incident, and moved on.
Then, two nights ago, I almost died. Driving down a dark, two-lane road on a Friday night, I saw lights in the distance. The truck was flying straight towards me and was in my lane. The road was wet and he wasn’t moving. He never slowed down and never got back into his lane. At the last second, I ran off the road and into a nearby field. The truck never stopped. I was terrified. Those ten seconds had seemed like a lifetime. For a moment, I honestly thought that I was about to meet my Savior. But my life had been spared. I was alive and I wanted to talk to my mom.
She was the first and only person that I called. I hated the thought of what had been our last real conversation. Regardless of who I am or who she knows me to be, I know she loves me. And, in that moment, I just wanted her to know that I loved her too.
Life is hard. Life in the “closet” is even harder. In the future, I will fight with my parents. I will disagree with them. I will fall in love again and I will have a family. I dread the idea of “coming out” to my parents and I fear what impact it will have on our relationship. But regardless of how they react, how hurt I am, or how bitter I may become, I have to remember that we love one another.
The book of Proverbs says it best: “Boast not thyself of tomorrow, for thou knowest not what a day may bring forth.” I don’t know what lies ahead. But I do know that when I take my last breath (be it closeted or not), I want my parents to know I loved them.