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  • Patti

Finding Others in the Same Situation

My best friend from college had “been there, done that”. Her daughter married her girlfriend several years before. A surprise for her, just as it was for me with my son. I had her full support, but it was 2500 miles away.

At the first meeting of a prayer group that had met for nearly 10 years I decided that I had to share. Not 2 months had passed. Some must know because of social media, I thought, even though no one had mentioned it. I told them the basic facts and said that I wanted them to know that I would pray for Johnny in the same way we pray for everyone else in the group. His orientation should not make a difference in our prayer group. I would not pray for him to change because I did not want that, nor did I think that God desired that. We would pray for him to make a good transition to college, meet new friends, feel as though he belonged, be engaged in his course of study, stay healthy, and all the normal stuff. One aspect of him was newly announced. The rest was the same.

I felt good about sharing the truth. Like Johnny had declared, “I wanted people to know, and then I wanted to move forward.”

Shock is not an adequate term for how I felt when the leader of the group who had originated the group years before, had something to add. “I also have a gay son,” she said, “and that is one of the reasons I began this group ten years ago.”

No one knew. She had not shared this before, yet we met weekly to pray together. What kind of community doesn’t create an environment for people to be able to be transparent? I loved these women. I had cried over their pains and struggles. Yet we had not been a safe place for this woman to share.

A few weeks later I met with a small group that met monthly for dinner and missional living. Five years of dinners and meetings. Five years of sharing and praying. After I spoke my truth, sharing basically the same thing, but in addition I emphasized how our family supported Johnny, loved him and would never pray that he would change, but would pray that God would work in his life just as he works in each person’s lives.

Another shock as a person I knew for nearly 20 years shared, “My son is also gay and just today I spoke to the pastor about it.” Once again, this close-knit group was not “safe” enough for sharing.

I had a small group right in front of me. I couldn’t leave them alone. We needed to meet. In fact, the pastor had casually suggested that we could have a “secret group” to support each other. I think he meant it should be “very secret”. That no one else would know about it and that we would continue to fly under the radar at our conservative, traditional church. We might start out quiet, but it would not continue. Not going to happen.

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