Monday, December 28, 2009

The Long Middle

Great commentary on the significance of 2009 in our nation's debate about gay marriage. Two of the highlights:
  • "Although public-opinion fundamentals didn't change in 2009; the politics of gay marriage did. Here are the ways the year marked a shift to what a storyteller might call the 'long middle.' "
  • "After Prop. 8, however, many heterosexuals embraced gay marriage, taking ownership of an issue that they have come to view as the next great civil rights battle. For same-sex marriage advocates, the emergence of a dedicated core of straight supporters is a sea change."

Read there whole article, here:

http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/commentary/la-oe-rauch27-2009dec27,0,4488760.story

Thursday, December 24, 2009

My Gift to You: Twelve Minutes of Christmas


I wanted to give each of you something for Christmas. I considered this:
http://www.cafepress.com/+peace_love_equality_ash_grey_tshirt,24967454

And this:
http://www.cafepress.com/+then_you_win_sticker_rectangular,83782476

But decided instead on something homemade, something practical but thoughful, something you could use now and later. And here it is, my gift to you, The 12 Minutes of Christmas.
  1. minute of laughter
  2. minutes of smiling
  3. minutes of meditation
  4. minutes of music
  5. minutes of silence
  6. minutes of showering
  7. minutes of writing
  8. minutes of walking
  9. minutes of napping
  10. minutes of reading
  11. minutes of massage
  12. minutes of conversation
May you use them this holiday and throughout your life.
Merry Christmas!
Ned

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Attempted Mashup

There is a certain train wreck quality to this, but...

video

Now that you've heard the concept, how about someone with some real mashup software and musical ability stepping up to bat? Boskers, does this give you enough to go on for a jazz improvisation?

(Note: The total audio is only 2:10 but for some reason when I uploaded to blogger, there's all this additional silence on the end. Oh well, it was my forth attempt, the other three failed, so I'm just going to leave it as is.)



Medley challenge anyone?

I've got an idea for a Christmas medley. Not necessarily Judy Garland meets Jimmy Durante, but something like this:
Have yourself a merry little Christmas
Let your heart be light

Make someone happy
Make just one someone happy

From now on our troubles with
Be out of sight

Make just one heart the heart that you sing to
One smile that cheers you

Have yourself a merry little Christmas
make the Yule-tide gay

Love is the answer
Someone to love is the answer

From now on all our troubles will
Be miles away

Once again as in olden times
Happy golden times of your
Faithful friends who are dear to us
Gather near to us once more

Through the years we all
Will be together
If the fates allow
High a shining star
Upon the highest bough
And have yourself a
Merry little Christmas now

Make someone happy
Make just one someone happy
And you will be happy, too.
I can kind of imagine it, but can it really be done and work? Well if anyone wants to give it a try I'd love to hear what you come up with. Moreover, perhaps the secret to having a happy holiday is to keep it simple or "little" and take delight in those small, one-one-one opportunities when you make someone happy, just "one someone" even if only for a few moments.

p.s. Is this even a medley with just combining two songs, or is that something else?

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Not Saying Much

It's not that I don't want to talk. It's not that I can't or won't. I guess if I asked myself some questions that might break the ice a bit. How am I doing? OK, some days better than OK. I'm not getting as much exercise as I used to, but I'm shoveling a lot more snow. Maybe it's a wash.

Am I counting my blessings? Sure. A job in this economy. A fine family. The comforts of religion and somewhat clear thinking. The comforts of hazy thinking, too. Friends near and far, known and unknown, past present and future, gay and straight and some in between like me. A dog and a cat, a desk and a rug, a warm home and warm memories. People I care about and people who care about me. Things not to take for granted. Health, pharmaceuticals, books, music and laughter. Smiles, my own and those of others. Ten fingers, ten toes and connections from all of them to my brain. Mind, heart, soul. The ability to talk and listen, see and sense, write and read, maybe even some math if there's a calculator nearby (oh Sarah, if I'd only had real math teachers like you in my youth) , light, shadow, color. Notes, letters, pencils and pens. I can count blessings and it's easy to lose track of the count.

Well I said I wouldn't say much, and I haven't, but I've said more than I thought I would. The fingers can still hit the keys, that's not too bad for a cold Sunday night in December.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Are you feeling SAD?

One of our fellow bloggers has written how I sometimes feel at this time of year, "I'm tired and grumpy." In response, I wrote the following and decided to cross post it here:

As far as feeling in a gray zone, that is typical
for many people as we get into the darkest time of the year. Take a look at this article on SAD. My winter routine is to try to get outdoors for a few minutes on my lunch hour when the sun is shining. Exercise also helps. I know your mileage may vary. No matter the cause, feeling gray or disconnected is hard--be it at Christmastime or the 4th of July. Fortunately we live in an age when many positive options are available to take advantage of. What options do you see that might help?"

What do you my reader(s) say? Any other ideas to carry this discussion forward?

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Invincible Summer


I like winter. It's a change of pace that brings water to the desert. But each year, winter in reality seems so much colder, so much deadlier than I remember it. Fortunately this winter I can vividly recall memories of my most recent summer. I didn't get outdoors as much as I usually do, but the time I spent in the sunshine will long be remembered. This summer that something "just out of reach, down the block, on a beach, under a tree" was in fact there. The something was and is hard to define, but it certainly includes friendship, brotherhood, camaraderie, respect, learning, boundaries, knowledge, laughter and more. The holiday of Thanksgiving is over, but I still find myself in a thankful mood and I am reminded of the quotation by Albert Camus: "In the depth of winter I finally learned that there was in me an invincible summer."

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Thanksgiving thoughts

things I'm thankful for:
home, health, hearth, heart, help, hunger, Harvey
equality, the ideal of it, anyway; entertainment

questions, quality, qualifications
understanding, unity
inspiration, insulation, instructions, ink
creeks, cats, children, cheese, classics, Christ
kindness, Keith, kites, kits, kitchens

brothers, Bravone, Beck, beauty, beards, being bi
room, rest, recreation, responsibilities, records
opportunties, offerings, October
wife, wealth, weather, wisdom, wonder, winning
nurturing, negatives, nesting, nature, noses, news, newspapers, Natasha & Borris

fire, firemen, frugality, fruit, felines, food, fabric, fun, frivolity, February
order, orders, ordervs spelled incorrectly
x-rays, xerography

joy, jumping, jelly, Jello, January, John, Jonathan, June, July
us, US, USA, the former USSR
music, musicals, museums, "the muse", May, milk, milkshakes, MILK, movies, Mormonism
priorities, power, positives, Panguitch, Provo, Parley P. Pratt, Parley's Canyon, priesthood
swimming, success, sunshine, sunsets, sunrise, sons, sons-in-law, September, Scott

organs, organic approaches, organisms, orgasm, organization, organizations
virtue, virility, value, verbs, valiance, My Funny Valentine
eating, Evan, entertaining, experiencing, email, estrogen,
Robert, relationships, reality, returning, reuniting, Ricardo, radio, revelation

trips, tanks, Tchaikovsky, the quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog, testosterone
halls, humor, Halloween, Holy Ghost, hearing, Howard, "oh my heck", heart monitors
Edison, electricity, electronics, Ed, Eve, Ella, Ethan, envelopes, enter key, entrances

love, Las Vegas, lakes, liver function, Les Miserables, luck, light, lighting, lightning
atomosphere, atoms, Adam, August, April, Abe
zones, zip codes, zippers, zero
youth, yielding, yesses, yellow, yearning, years

Dustin, David, Doug, dice, deliverance, delight, decisions, decision-making
otters, others, orange, oranges, oral hygiene
Gabriel, guys, gays, gay guys, goodness, grace, Google, guts, glory, gates, grates, grapes

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Thanks to a Couple of Guys

Thanks, guys. It was so good to see you recently. You were out walking in my neighborhood with a stoller. I drove by first spotting you from behind, a couple of short haired people out and about on a sunny afternoon. Then as I got closer there was no doubt about it, you were two guys walking down the street, pushing a stroller. I decided to try for a picture, so I flipped a U turn and caught this one frame of you just as you walked up to your apartment.

It was so affirming to see you. It happened a few weeks ago and I haven't seen you since. Maybe because you were just visiting a friend who lives there. Maybe because you're not really a gay couple with a child. Maybe you were just a straight dad with his kid out on a walk with his buddy or a brother. Maybe you were a couple of guys in the neighboring ward's Elders Quorum just out doing your home teaching and taking your respective kids along. Maybe you were just a couple of brothers-in-law who were taking the kid or kids out for a walk while your wives enjoyed a sisterly chat. But I know that I did not just imagine you, because I do have the image, and to be honest, I've thought about you quite a bit.

Yes, I have lesbian neighbors with and without children, but to my knowlege no gay male couples--especially walking around with a baby stroller and an infant in your arms. That's why I was delighted to see you. If by chance you are Moho's reading this and recognize yourselves, I hope you'll be pleased that someone noticed, applauded and cared enough to try to capture the moment. And if not, well, it provided a happy diversion nonetheless.

p.s. To my fellow Moho community, does this blip on your 'dar, or is it just my wishful thinking?

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Where I am in my journey - take 2


On October 4, I first responded to Abe's question, "Where are you in your journey?" Now, almost a month later, I wanted to add in a few other comments, which you will see in red text with my original take in regular text.

How did you get to where you are today?

I've been lucky. Knowing that I've sometimes been less than valiant on this side of the veil, I find myself thinking like that Julie Andrews song in The Sound of Music, "Somewhere in my youth or childhood, I must have done something good." Or perhaps is was long before I was born.

I've been blessed with good genes and wonderful family and friends. I was born out of the love, passion and patience of a beautiful, talented woman and a handsome, gentle father. Whether my bisexuality is due to genetics or the environment of my mother's womb or other causes, I no longer view it as a curse. I have come to see it as gift, an integral part of who I am. I agree that, "Gender is an essential characteristic of individual premortal, mortal, and eternal identity and purpose." (Hinckley: 1995) But I also wonder if gender identity isn't also such an essential characteristic.

I am here because of the love and service of many people, including those who have pioneered and built communities and institutions that nurture and challenge me today. I am here because of parents and siblings, counselors and doctors, teachers and leaders, neighbors and strangers, and many I do not know who have created environments in which I have been able to prosper.

I am also here, in part, because of homophobia which was much stronger as a teen and young man, but something I still deal with today. Since I came of age in a pre-AIDS world, if I had not been so afraid of coming out or of being outed, I may well have engaged in unsafe behavior. So although I did not serve a mission and found pleasure in alcohol and tobacco as a high school and college student, I did not act out sexually. If I had done so, it likely would not have been with protection, and I might well have not lived to tell the tale I'm telling today.

Are you happy with where you are? why or why not?

I am generally happy and optimistic, healthy and strong. Of course there are times of sadness, cynicism and sickness, and many forms of weakness, but overall I'm a happy fellow. One source of my happiness is improved mental health. I have suffered from long term anxiety and low grade depression. A few years ago I endured a major depressive episode during which I seriously considered suicide. For a time I sought a permanent solution to a temporary problem. I'm so glad I didn't take that step. One of the reasons I am happy is because I have gained perspective from being so ill. I'm grateful that I was again able to feel hope, to regain my appetite, to again feel loved, to be able to laugh and feel pleasure. I no longer take my mental and physical well being for granted.

It may sound strange to say "I'm happy because I was once suicidal and I no longer want to kill myself," but that's essentially what I was trying to say above. I am grateful that I had that experience. It was no fun at the time, but since then I have been more vigilant about my mental health. My advice to anyone who is dealing with serious depression or anxiety is go get professional help. Without it I doubt I would be here today. Fortunately, I can testify that it is possible to move from feeling hopeless and discouraged to a better place--no, not a perfect place, but a place where challenges and trials can be put in perspective--a place where there's a better balance of positives along with the negatives that are a part of all of our lives.

Where do you see yourself in the future?

I agree with the idea that it is never too late to have a happy childhood, I also believe it is never too late to have a happy adulthood. My wife and I have a largely functional marriage which I hope will continue to thrive until I predecease her. Should she predecease me, I can imagine dating women or men since I see myself as bisexual.

Whether I remain married or become a widower, I believe my well being is largely determined by the choices I make to stay healthy and live a balanced life. I am not out to all my children. I hope that will eventually change. When it does I hope we can all benefit from more candor and openness. Several of my coming out experiences have not been positive, so this is an area of the future that concerns me.

I hope my future will include rejoicing as LDS church continues to refine its attitudes about sexuality. The Family: A Proclamation to the World includes this highly significant sentence: "Disability, death, or other circumstances may necessitate individual adaptation." I find hope in the idea that the church, like individuals, may find it necessary to adapt. One of my greatest sources of hope is the 9th Article of Faith: "We believe all that God has revealed, all that He does now reveal and we beleive he will yet reveal many great and important things pertaining to the Kingdom of God." Meanwhile I am grateful to feel love and acceptance from both sides of the veil. I am also grateful that I have the capacity to accept and love others.

I've been though peaceful times and hard times. Recent years have been postive for the most part, but having experienced leaner, meaner moments of life, I know they can come at anytime. So as much as I want to think I can handle the future, I must also admit that my greatest trials may be yet to come. This is a good reason to enjoy, to celebrate, to be aware of the good that each day brings. It is a reason to offer thanks to God and to the human angels in our lives who do such much to make our lives happier. The Moho community--those I've met face-to-face and those I read here--have helped a great deal. Thank you, one and all!

What roadblocks do you have and/or have overcome?

I am a survivor of childhood asthma and if my parents had not lived next door to a physician I may not have lived to see my fifth birthday. I reached adulthood before the 1978 revelation that all worthy men could receive the priesthood. The church's former racist policy and teachings were a roadblock to my fully accepting Mormonism. The fact that that roadblock fell is a source of hope that other much-needed changes should and can be made. My mixed orientation marriage (MOM) has survived my coming out and several bouts of unemployment, depression and anxiety. We have been greatly blessed with children, extended family, friends, neighbors and associates.

Some of my personal roadblocks include laziness, disorganization, procrastinaion, selfishness and lack of self-control. Still there are positives. I can hit deadlines, and see more than one way of organizing. I do appreciate the value of getting started early and plugging away at a goal, even though I don't always follow this method. I also would like to think that my selfishness is at least an informed kind of self-acceptance and self-pacing--a way of putting on my own oxygen mask first before I try to help the person in the seat next to me.

What advice do you have for others following a similar path that you have?

Ok, I see this as an invitation to stand on a soap box, so here goes: Seek to keep yourself physically, spiritually, mentally, intellectually, socially, educationally, profesionally and financially healthy and strong. Be a lifelong learner and contributor to those causes you value.
Seek mentors and friends you can draw strength from. Seek to be a mentor to others and to encourage and strenthen them. Reach out to others in friendship and be sensitive to those who may be reaching out to you. Don't underestimate the value of a smile, laughter, a handshake, an arm around a shoulder, a clap on the back, an embrace. Celebrate and nurture the good you find in others.

Seek and find outlets for your creative gifts. Write, compose, construct, consult, counsel, draw, photograph, design, play, compete, paint, contribute, teach, instruct, lead, learn, follow, organize, produce, bake, make, craft, install, improve, perform, collaborate and direct. Believe that you have many things to contribute to your world and to this planet. Discover and do them.

Be generous with your time and means. If you don't want to pay tithing, pay fast offerings and make donations you do feel inspired to make. If you choose to enter into a marriage with a woman, fully disclose your situation to your prospective wife so she can make a fully informed decision.

If you experience extreme sadness, anxiety, inability to function well in your day-to-day life, please get professional help.

What advice do you have for family and friends?

Acknlowege the elephant in the room, the topics associated with homosexuality, bisexuality, same gender attraction (whatever you want to call it). Don't always wait for your family member or friend to discuss the elephant. Bring it up youself and thereby show that you don't consider it to be an unspeakable topic.

If you ask a friend or family member how they're doing, listen to the tone of their voice and notice their facial expressions as you hear their words. Remember this lyric from Lord I Would Follow Thee: "In the quiet heart is hidden sorrow that the eye can't see." I have been so grateful when family and friends have spent time with me, have touched me, or have embraced me. My advice is that we strive to love one another without condition as our Heavenly Parents and our Savior love us. This love can be expressed in many ways: in the gifts of time, listening, companionship, service and touch.

If you experience extreme sadness, anxiety, inability to function well in your day-to-day life, please get professional help.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Jonathan and David


Alan at Scrum Central has a link to wouldjesusdiscriminate.org. There you will find this article: David loved Jonathan more than women. The author makes the case that the Bible sanctions "an intense love between these two that went well beyond friendship." Read the article and see if you agree.

Monday, October 26, 2009

The Desire to Hibernate

I'm hungrier and sleepier than any other time of the year. Give me a large feast and then just let me sleep. Anybody else feel this way when the weather turns colder?

Saturday, October 17, 2009

He loves his damned old rodeo

He rode of out of camp just after sunrise, saying I'll see you this afternoon. Just before 3:00 he kept his promise. I offered him a stale cookie, poured him a cup of water and asked him to sit down. He gulped a couple of swallows, didn't eat the cookie and didn't sit down.

Then he told me that I'm not alone. That we're brothers, that I could just relax and smile. "After all it's Friday. What you gotta worry about?"

We bowed our heads. He didn't feel like praying so I did--thanking God for our families, our friendships, and asking for more good weather before the snow flies.

He took another gulp but left some water behind in the cup. We hugged goodbye, then he grabbed that stale cookie and rode away.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

That You May Find an Eternal Companion

The next time you attend a Mormon baby blessing notice if the language is gender neutral. Seems to me I'm hearing a lot more blessings these days that say "We bless you that you may find an eternal companion" or "a companion you will take to the Temple" or "the love of your life" or "an eternal mate" or "a loving spouse."

Perhaps some of the language is truly inspired, and the words spoken are the will of the Lord. Perhaps some of the children now being blessed as infants will indeed find a companion who just happens to be of the same sex. Perhaps many more "great and important things" will be revealed and the church will embrace the idea expressed in the family proclamation that life "circumstances may necessitate individual adaptation".

Also along these lines, if you have a patriarchal blessing, check the wording there. Does it refer to your marriage or your union. Does it refer to your children or your loved-ones. Even though I have chosen to marry a woman and have children in the traditonal way, if find it fascinating that my own blessing uses such gender neutral references.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Glad you asked, Abe

Abe is challenging us to blog about our journey. Thanks Abe, glad you asked!


How did you get to where you are today?

I've been blessed with good genes and wonderful family and friends. I was born out of the love, passion and patience of a beautiful, talented woman and a handsome, gentle father. Whether my bisexuality is due to genetics or the environment of my mother's womb or other causes, I no longer view it as a curse. I have come to see it as gift, an integral part of who I am. I agree that, "Gender is an essential characteristic of individual premortal, mortal, and eternal identity and purpose." (Hinckley: 1995) But I also wonder if gender identity isn't also such an essential characteristic.

I am here because of the love and service of many people, including those who have pioneered and built communities and institutions that nurture and challenge me today. I am here because of parents and siblings, counselors and doctors, teachers and leaders, neighbors and strangers, and many I do not know who have created environments in which I have been able to prosper.

Are you happy with where you are? why or why not?

I am generally happy and optimistic, healthy and strong. Of course there are times of sadness, cynicism and sickness, and many forms of weakness, but overall I'm a happy fellow. One source of my happiness is improved mental health. I have suffered from long term anxiety and low grade depression. A few years ago I endured a major depressive episode during which I seriously considered suicide. For a time I sought a permanent solution to a temporary problem. I'm so glad I didn't take that step. One of the reasons I am happy is because I have gained perspective from being so ill. I'm grateful that I was again able to feel hope, to regain my appetite, to again feel loved, to be able to laugh and feel pleasure. I no longer take my mental and physical well being for granted.

Where do you see yourself in the future?

I agree with the idea that it is never too late to have a happy childhood, I also believe it is never too late to have a happy adulthood. My wife and I have a largely functional marriage which I hope will continue to thrive until I predecease her. Should she predecease me, I can imagine dating women or men since I see myself as bisexual. Whether I remain married or become a widower, I believe my well being is largely determined by the choices I make to stay healthy and live a balanced life. I am not out to all my children. I hope that will eventually change. When it does I hope we can all benefit from more candor and openness. Several of my coming out experiences have not been positive, so this is an area of the future that concerns me.

I hope my future will include rejoicing as LDS church continues to refine its attitudes about sexuality. The Family: A Proclamation to the World includes this highly significant sentence: "Disability, death, or other circumstances may necessitate individual adaptation." I find hope in the idea that the church, like individuals, may find it necessary to adapt. One of my greatest sources of hope is the 9th Article of Faith: "We believe all that God has revealed, all that He does now reveal and we beleive he will yet reveal many great and important things pertaining to the Kingdom of God." Meanwhile I am grateful to feel love and acceptance from both sides of the veil. I am also grateful that I have the capacity to accept and love others.

What roadblocks do you have and/or have overcome?

I am a survivor of childhood asthma and if my parents had not lived next door to a physician I may not have lived to see my fifth birthday. I reached adulthood before the 1978 revelation that all worthy men could receive the priesthood. The church's former racist policy and teachings were a roadblock to my fully accepting Mormonism. The fact that that roadblock fell is a source of hope that other much-needed changes should and can be made. My mixed orientation marriage (MOM) has survived my coming out and several bouts of unemployment, depression and anxiety. We have been greatly blessed with children, extended family, friends, neighbors and associates.

What advice do you have for others following a similar path that you have?

Ok, I see this as an invitation to stand on a soap box, so here goes: Seek to keep yourself physically, spiritually, mentally, intellectually, socially, educationally, profesionally and financially healthy and strong. Be a lifelong learner and contributor to those causes you value.

Seek mentors and friends you can draw strength from. Seek to be a mentor to others and to encourage and strenthen them. Reach out to others in friendship and be sensitive to those who may be reaching out to you. Don't underestimate the value of a smile, laughter, a handshake, an arm around a shoulder, a clap on the back, an embrace. Celebrate and nurture the good you find in others.

Seek and find outlets for your creative gifts. Write, compose, construct, consult, counsel, draw, photograph, design, play, compete, paint, contribute, teach, instruct, lead, learn, follow, organize, produce, bake, make, craft, install, improve, perform, collaborate and direct. Believe that you have many things to contribute to your world and to this planet. Discover and do them.

Be generous with your time and means. If you don't want to pay tithing, pay fast offerings and make donations you do feel inspired to make. If you choose to enter into a marriage with a woman, fully disclose your situation to your prospective wife so she can make a fully informed decision.

What advice do you have for family and friends?

If you ask a friend or family member how they're doing, listen to the tone of their voice and notice their facial expressions as you hear their words. Remember this lyric from Lord I Would Follow Thee: "In the quiet heart is hidden sorrow that the eye can't see." I have been so grateful when family and friends have spent time with me, have touched me, or have embraced me. My advice is that we strive to love one another without condition as our Heavenly Parents and our Savior love us. This love can be expressed in many ways: in the gifts of time, listening, companionship, service and touch.

Hinckley, G.B. (1995, September 23). The Family: A Proclamation to the World. Retrieved from http://www.lds.org/library/display/0,4945,161-1-11-1,00.html

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Prostate Health

A. So ya don't want to talk 'boud ta big M, eh? Whassa matter?

B. I'm kind of embarrassed. And why are you talking with a funny accent?

A. Jis wanna, sometime. Let some part a me out? Like Brian Wilson ya know, "Well it's been building up inside of me for oh I don't know how long."

B. Enough! Will you talk normally if I talk about the big M?

A. Deal.

B. I was relieved to learn that medically speaking what I did was a good idea. That regular ejaculations, particularly as an adolescent and young man, are good for your long term prostate health. Apparently Packer had it wrong. It's good for the little factory to produce. The more the better. You don't want that stuff to ferment. Keep it flowing.

A. That does kind of tie in the with ol' fountains of life idea. You want fresh liquid and plenty of it.

B. My doc agrees.

A. What about your bishop?

B. I did have to explain that my doc recommended regular ejaculation as a way to deal with some of my symptoms.

A. What symptoms? Your desire to get off?

B. No, really, I've got BPH, and my doc says it is medically indicated that I shouldn't let the fluid build up. I did that when I was trying to avoid the big M. But then it got to the point that I had to urinate every 20 minutes. I guess if you've already got an enlarged prostate and you let the fluid build up, you constrict the urethra even more.

A. So you doc says you got masturbate, eh?

B. Not exactly. He said I should ejaculate frequently. And it's not just my doc.

A. So why don't you just make love to your wife more often?

B. Great idea. I'd love to do that. But it's not that easy.

A. So your doc gave you a free pass, eh?

B. Stop with the "eh, eh, eh" already.

A. OK. But what about the big M? How often do you do it? What do you think about? Any special techniques you want to share? Do you still feel guilty? What about the law of chastity, does it get modified because you're an old man who has trouble peeing?

B. I'm not going to answer your questions.

A. Well then what's the point? Why are we even having the conversation?

B. Hey as far as I'm concerned the conversation is over.

A. Well you don't have to get all hoity-toity.

B. That reminds me a great line from...

A. I know, I know, Street Car Named Desire, with Mr. Bisexual Himself, Marlon Brando, in all his sweaty t-shirt glory. Do you think about him when you're attending to your "medical condition"?

B. So you remember his line?

A. How could I forget?

B. So?

A. OK, OK. He says "When we first met, me and you, you thought I was common. How right you was, baby. I was common as dirt. You showed me the snapshot of the place with the columns. I pulled you down off them columns and how you loved it, having them colored lights going! And wasn't we happy together, wasn't it all okay till she showed here? And wasn't we happy together? Wasn't it all okay till she showed here, hoity-toity, describin' me like a ape?"

B. Nice job.

A. Well you taught it to me.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

brothers


I wanted a brother. He wanted a brother. It took a long time, but we finally found each other.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Seeking and Finding Light


We are counseled to liken or apply the scriptures to ourselves. When I do so with the 9th Article of Faith, it sounds like this: "I believe all that God has revealed to me, all that he does now reveal to me, and the he will yet reveal to me many great and important things pertaining to my life and the lives of my loved ones."

If I give the same treatment to the most hopeful sentence in The Family: A Proclamation to the World, it becomes: "Within your own life, disability, death, or other circumstances--including the gifts of same gender attraction, homosexuality or bisexuality--may necessitate individual adaptation."

The lyrics to Press Forward Saints also change slightly with this approach:

Press forward, son, with steadfast faith in Christ
With hope's bright flame alight in heart and mind
With love of God and love of all mankind

Press forward, feasting on your words from Christ
Receive his counsel, rejoice in his might
Come unto God; find everlasting light

Press on enduring in the ways of Christ
His love proclaim through days of mortal strife
Thus saith our God: "Ye have eternal life!"

Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!

What are your prized scriptures, hymns or quotations that bring you hope and solace? Will you share it here or on your own blog and post a link here? Do such thoughts mean even more if you adapt them in some way to take into account your individual circumstance?

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Swimming Straight

I've tried denial and positive thinking. I've tried Evergreen and online support groups. I've tried coming out and going back in and sleeping on the couch. I've tried coming clean with my Bishop and counseling. I've tried anti-depressants, tranquilizers and sleep meds. I've tried journaling and blogging and watercolors. I've tried basketball, softball and swimming. I've endured suicidal depression and found Christ just sitting in the sunshine.

Slowly I've found what seems to work for me: striving for self-acceptance and steady breathing, family traditions and diverse friendships, exercise and writing, reading and music, pharmaceuticals and prayer. I've also explored alternate definitions, like "plumb" or "loyal" for "true". And the notion that swimming straight involves nothing more than making it 25 yards from one end of the pool to the other.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Visions, Hugs and Kisses



I need to draw closer to Heaven. I need to affirm my testimony that there is an unlimited source of comfort, encouragement, love, support, and inspiration. I need to realize once again that our Heavenly Parents and our Savior are as concerned about us as any loving earthly family would be about loved ones far away from home on an important mission.

I've thought along these lines several times in the last few days, and it happened again this morning when I learned of this story told by Melvin J. Ballard in 1917:

"I had been on the Fort Peck Reservation for several days with the brethren, solving the problems connected with our work among the Lamanites. Many questions arose that we had to settle. There was no precedent for us to follow, and we just had to go to the Lord and tell Him our troubles, and get inspiration and help from Him. On this occasion I had sought the Lord, under such circumstances, and that night I received a wonderful manifestation and impression which has never left me. I was carried to this place—into this room. I saw myself here with you. I was told there was another privilege that was to be mine; and I was led into a room where I was informed I was to meet someone. As I entered the room I saw, seated on a raised platform, the most glorious being I have ever conceived of, and was taken forward to be introduced to Him.

"As I approached He smiled, called my name, and stretched out His hands towards me. If I live to be a million years old I shall never forget that smile. He put His arms around me and kissed me, as He took me into His bosom, and He blessed me until my whole being was thrilled. As He finished I fell at His feet, and there saw the marks of the nails; and as I kissed them, with deep joy swelling through my whole being, I felt that I was in heaven indeed. The feeling that came to my heart then was: Oh! If I could live worthy, though it would require four-score years, so that in the end when I have finished I could go into His presence and receive the feeling that I then had in His presence, I would give everything that I am or ever hope to be!”
(Melvin J. Ballard—Crusader for Righteousness, Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1966, p. 65–66.)

My questions for you are: Have you had experiences like this? What were your feelings? Is such male-on-male smiling, hugging and kissing appropriate in other contexts? If so, when? The first time I witnessed two men I know kiss on the lips was only a few years ago. The kiss was between a dying father and his adult son. I later held the dying man's hand while his wife and son were out of the room. I'm not sure I would have done so if I had not witnessed the kiss he exchanged with his son. Have you had experiences like this? What were your feelings? What can we moho's learn from such experiences?

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Ignoring the "No Hugging" Sign


It's taken decades but I'm finally making a some long needed changes. I'm starting to touch people again. I'm sure I did it as a child. But most of my adulthood seems to have been ruled by a "no hugging" sign. Oh it's still there, but I'm just not following it as much as I used to.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Solla Solew - The Quest for the Celestial



From Seussical the Musical

HORTON
There's a faraway land
So the stories all tell
Somewhere beyond the horizon.
If we can find it
Then all will be well,
Troubles there are few,
Someday, we'll go to...
Solla Sollew
Solla Sollew

HORTON & CIRCUS ANIMALS
Solla Sollew
Solla Sollew

HORTON
I've lost my poor Whos
And we've traveled so far.
Oh, JoJo, forgive me
Wherever you are.

(We see JOJO at military school, writing a letter. MR. and MRS.
MAYOR are home, reading his letter.)

JOJO
Dear Mom and Dad,
I'm thinking of you.
And wishing we all were in Solla Sollew

MAYOR
They say breezes are warm there

HORTON
And people are kind.

JOJO, HORTON
Maybe it's something like heaven.

JOJO, MAYOR, MRS. MAYOR, HORTON
I close my eyes
And I see in my mind
Skies of bluest blue

CIRCUS ANIMALS, ALL
Solla Sollew

HORTON
I've had so much trouble JOJO, MAYOR,
Finding my way there. MRS. MAYOR &
When I get close, CIRCUS ANIMALS
It disappears. Solla Sollew
If we can get there,
We're gonna stay there
If it takes us miles,

JOJO, MAYOR AND MRS. MAYOR
If it takes us miles

HORTON
If it takes us years.

High on a mountain
Or lost on the sea,

HORTON & JOJO
Sooner or later, I'll find it

MAYOR
I have a picture
Of how it will be

MAYOR & MRS. MAYOR
On the day I do

HORTON & MAYOR & MRS. MAYOR & JOJO
Troubles will be through
And I'll be home with you.

ALL
Solla Sollew
Solla Sollew
Solla Sollew
Solla Sollew
Solla Sollew
Solla Sollew
Solla Sollew

HORTON
I'll be home...
With you

ALL (BUT HORTON)
Solla Sollew.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Marriage and Patience



I took this photo last year. I discovered the quotation a couple of weeks ago. Marrying them only occurred to me a few days ago. Sometimes I have to wait a long time for things to fall together. I'd like to think I'm becoming more patient. Some days are better than others. I'm grateful this night for those who love me and those I love. I'm grateful for our creator who loves us unconditionally and urges us to do the same. I'm grateful for love unfeigned. I also grateful for love that requires cultivation and husbandry. I love both wildflowers and planted gardens.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Saturday Hike

Went hiking with "Mo" my moho friend Saturday. Asked him if it would be OK to share this in a post. He said, "If you don't blog about it, I will." So here you go:

10:17 AM


mo: HEY...you okay?


me: just got better :)


mo: :) whattssup?


me: Really glad to touch base with you...I was feeling down yesterday.


mo: Why were you down?


me: Reality of kids leaving home. Job stress...feeling overwhelmed.
Oh, and then there's this other matter. I missed you.


mo: Is missing me a bad thing?


me: of course not, all of these things are good, if put in perspective, kids growing up, better job, friendship :)


mo: I spent most of Thurs with my son. It's here. It's a reality that he's leaving. I feel some of what you are feeling. It's part of life. They grow up. But we don't.


me: So I wonder about today? With this rain we can't do yard work. So how about a hike in the mud?


mo: You would do that?


me: I'll put my boots on right now if you like.


mo: ummmm...I need to make a phone call. Can you wait a moment?


me: no prob


10:40 AM
mo: Hey


me: Hey


mo: We can go anytime.


me: Great! I can leave in about five minutes.


Have you had breakfast or lunch? I haven't. We could pick up some powerbars and drinks. Or I can just eat some cereal on the way. Do you have any thoughts on that?


mo: I'll throw something together. Just come.


me: See you in a few.


So we hiked and talked, and it was only muddy in a few places. When we reached a sunny rock with a view we stopped to eat apples and power bars, to drink water and breathe in the mountain air made even sweeter by the morning rain.


We talked about our families, work and what life was like when we were 15-year-old kids trying to deal with feeling so different. We talked about people who helped us out along the way. The sunshine dried our wet clothes. We shared some hugs and shoulder rubs and headed back down the mountainside. Mo told me that in Europe two male friends--straight or gay--could hug and show affection and no one would think twice about it. So after all this I didn't attend the kiss-in on Saturday, but I'm OK with my decision.



Sunday, August 9, 2009

Processing the Castro

My trip earlier this summer to San Francisco remains vivid in my mind. Perhaps because I've got photos like this one on my screen saver. It's taken me a while to sort through my feelings, and here's what it's sounded like:

It was just a business trip.
It was more than a business trip because I met with a former colleague and his partner and the three of us enjoyed a great dinner together in the Castro.
But it was just a business trip.
No, actually it was a bit like a family reunion. You enjoy being with folks like you that you don't normally see. You might not feel close to all your cousins, but still it's nice to be with your own people from time to time.
Fine. You saw some people you identified with. But that always happens on a business trip. You're with people in your business. It is like a family renion.
But I'm not talking about the business meetings. I'm talking about walking through these busy streets and somehow feeling more accepting of myself and others. I'm talking about walking through the one the gayest areas of the world with a friend and his lover and feeling OK about it. 
Ok. So you had a nice dinner and enjoyed it with a happy couple. But you were there for business. You had your meetings and got on the plane and came home. Nothing all that differernt from all your other business trips.
Look, this isn't a debate. Yes it was a business trip and a great dinner and an eye opening stroll through at part of the city I wouldn't have visited alone. And it was a chance to feel some brotherhood and acceptance.
So you came out to your friend?
No. I could be wrong, but I think it's just understood. We're both Mormon boys. He's been out most of his adult life. For more than 30 of my almost 60 years, I've been closeted and even now I'm only out to some family and some friends. 
And you're not out to him?
You know, I don't really think I have to be. He knows me well enough. He knows I'm a married father who is active in the church. But he also knows I'm comfortable with him. And now he knows I'm comfortable with him and his partner eating dinner in the Castro. That's enough for now. 
You talk a good game. But let's be honest now, if this were really as resolved as you say it is, would you be blogging about it?
Good point. I had to write--well I wanted to write about something and to be honest with you I thought I'd just choose a photo and then see what comes to mind. 
Maybe you were right the first time. Maybe you had to write. Just like you know you know whe you have to pray even when sometimes you don't. And speaking of being honest, it probably wouldn't have hurt if you'd been just a little more candid with your friend.
Question for readers: Do you ever have conversations like this with yourself? 

Friday, July 24, 2009

Curious Gus

Just took the GUS survey and encourage Utah gay and bisexual men to take it as well, and spread the word:
http://www.psych.utah.edu/study/gus/1.php
Note: You don't have to be sexually active to take this survey. ;p

Monday, July 20, 2009

Illumination

Almost always, the creative dedicated minority has made the world better. 

Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that. 

Discrimination is a hellhound that gnaws at Negroes in every waking moment of their lives to remind them that the lie of their inferiority is accepted as truth in the society dominating them. 

Human salvation lies in the hands of the creatively maladjusted. 


-Martin Luther King, Jr.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Public Displays of Affection


Tonight following a weekend of news about the kissing arrests on the Main Street Plaza near Temple Square and today's Kiss-In protest, I'm feeling the unwelcome presence of my old friend HP (aka Homophobia).

HP and I go way back. I knew him long before I knew his name or what he was about. He showed up in kindergarten when I found out that telling the truth about bullies made me a tattle tale. He later taunted me on the playground of my elementary school, but where I really got to know him was in my junior high gym class. He was the loud mouth in the locker room who threatened "You're gonna die a long slow death if I ever catch you looking at my ass that way again you little fag."

I tried to make peace with him and by the time I got in high school I thought of him as my friend. In exchange for averting my eyes and trying to be more manly in my walk and talk, I thought he was protecting me from the other bullies. HP's not so bad, I thought. If I follow his rules, I'll be safe. More people will like me. I might not be one of the jocks, but at least they'll talk to me. 

In college I tried to lose HP, but by then I'd pretty much accepted that he'd always be hanging around. To be fair, he's probably one of the reasons I dated women, fell in love, got married and had children. I guess I owe him thanks for helping out on that.

During the AIDS crisis of the early eighties, I again thought of him as a friend. Without him I imagined that I could have done things that would have caused a real-life version of that long, slow death he'd threatened back in junior high. He's a jerk, but I guess he helped save my life, I had to admit.

But by now, three decades later, I really thought I'd put the whole HP friendship issue in the lock box of the past. He was someone who used to be in my life. Someone I got over. Someone not worth the effort to even think about. 

But I got a strong dose of reality this weekend. I see the truth is that he's been a very busy and successful power broker. He hangs out with everyone from presidents and religious leaders to security guards. He's got a condo in Sacramento and access to a beautiful home in a gated community in Texas.

Even so, I have a feeling he's not forgotten me. I wonder if he saw me Thursday after lunch when I hugged a friend. I wonder if he saw me with my friends on Friday night when I put my arms around them both for a picture. 

I wonder if he's been taking his own pictures of me. I wonder if I'm going to get a email, or worse yet, he's going to be in the garage again some day, like he was years ago when he whispered, "If you just leave the engine running, the world will be a better place in just a few minutes." I feel like screaming the old Dylan song, "You've got a lot of nerve to say you are my friend." But the truth is I'm still afraid of him. 

Anyone else here know this guy? And have you got any advice for me on how to get rid of him once and for all or is he something I've just got to endure to the end?

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Happy July 4th from the Castro!

Actually, I'm back in Utah now, but earlier this week I was in San Francisco and enjoyed dinner with friends and my first-ever walk through the Castro. 

The photo shows the former camera shop of Harvey Milk. Which does tie in with Independence Day in this way: Milk lived in a country which, at the time, allowed him to start a business, but not freely associate with the people of his choice. Police still conducted raids and hauled gays off to jail. Milk did much to change that and paved the way for many changes he did not live to see.

Today, if Milk had not be murdered and had married during a certain narrow window of opportunity, he woud have a valid marriage in California. That's huge progress. Yes, there continue to be obstacles, but as of January 1, 2010 six states will actively perform same-sex marriages. That's something to celebrate along with the vision of our founding fathers that as expressed in 1776:

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. That whenever any form of government becomes destructive to these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it.."

Such alterations are now in progress and I'm grateful to live in a nation which brings me so many blessings including this possibility.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Internalized Homophobia?


When I came out to my wife and members of my extended family more than a decade ago, I sought hugs and I got them. Slowly my situation faded into the background and so did much of the physical affection. I still want it, but I no longer initiate it, and except for the occasional hugs from three women in our family circle, it rarely happens.

Every now and then I'll let a handshake with a brother-in-law linger a little longer, but they'll usually break it off. Sometimes I'll put my arm around someone, but the gesture is rarely reciprocated. I look at the photo above and wish that kind of easy, affectionate touch could again happen in my life. But for some reason I have become largely untouching and untouchable. It seems rational that this is but a spiral that can be broken.

I can even imagine a scenario where I give someone a bear hug which is warmly reciprocated and I say "Thanks, that sure felt good. I've needed that for a long time." And the person I'm hugging says, "Well it felt good to me, too. I've missed your hugs. I hope you'll continue to give them." And then he gives me an even longer, tighter hug than I've just given him.

But a darker part of me says, "It's not about breaking a spiral, it's that you're broken. From the moment you came out you've been damaged goods and there's no amount of fairy tale scenarios that will change it. The real reason they don't touch you is because they find you and your desires repugnant. They did back then and they still do. They haven't forgotten what people like you want to do. Spare them any more nausea. Keep your hands and your thoughts to yourself."

Friday, June 19, 2009

Old Friends at Lunch



Old friends
Sat on their park bench
Like bookends.
A newspaper blown though the grass
Falls on the round toes
Of the high shoes
Of the old friends.

Old friends,
Winter companions,
The old men
Lost in their overcoats,
Waiting for the sunset.
The sounds of the city,
Sifting through trees,
Settle like dust
On the shoulders
Of the old friends.

Can you imagine us
Years from today,
Sharing a park bench quietly?
How terribly strange
To be seventy.
Old friends,
Memory brushes the same years
Silently sharing the same fears

As a teenager I never imagined that this Simon and Garfunkle song might describe me or someone of my generation. Today I saw two old freinds meeting for lunch. The shorter, fatter of the guys got there first. He seemed a bit uneasy, jotting down something in a notebook and then making a call on his cell. The other guy, taller and trimmer, showed up a few minutes later. They both smiled, sharing the long held handshake of two men who'd been through something together.

I wondered about their relationship. Were they just old freinds, cousins, brothers-in-law, business partners? It may well have been business as one of them showed the other a document and they both studied the one guy's notebook offering comments back and forth for several minutes until their order arrived. I finished my meal and got up to leave but they just sat there talking, obviously engaged in the moment and enjoying each other's company on this man date, this business lunch, whatever it was for these old friends.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

"other circumstances may necessitate individual adaptation"



In his recent Call for Contributions, Alan is seeking responses to the opinions of his friend Craig. Here's my take:

Craig says "...[the Proclamation on the Family's] entire purpose is to define marriage as between a man and a woman."

I read proclamation somewhat differently. I see it as a document that supports strong families, but not just one kind of strong family.

Yes, it says "marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God..." but it does not say that other unions are invalid. For example we know that marriages between one man and multiple women are also viable on the other side of the veil.

The Proclamation on the Family speaks of many ideals. Yes, it certainly is ideal for a man and a woman to marry and rear children. No argument there.

But it clearly and directly acknowledges that this ideal is not always met because of a variety of reasons:

"Disability, death, or other circumstances may necessitate individual adaptation."

It doesn't say that other circumstances may cause problems but there's nothing that can be done. It says other circumstances may NECESSITATE individual adaptation.

That powerful, inclusive sentence is a loving acknowlegement that the ideals set forth in the proclamation are sometimes unavoidably mitgated (or is it aggravated, Alan?) by reality.

That single sentence makes is clear that the ideals set forth in the document are not always workable or possible.

More than 80 years ago when my grandmother was windowed as a young mother, her parents did not allow her to date. They believed that would be untrue to her Temple covenants with her first husband. Today she would not be so tightly constained. Today she could marry a second worthy husband in the Temple, but not for time and all eternity. The doctrine hasn't changed, but the intrepretation of it has. It didn't even require a revelation, just a change in attitude and, perhaps, church policy.

After the 1978 revelation, Bruce R. McConkie was questioned about his many strident statements against "the Negro." He said, in effect, forget what I said.

Fortunately we won't have to forget or set aside anything in the Proclamation on the Family if and when it is revealed that in addition to traditional marriage being ordained of God, "other circumstances" require indivdual and church-wide adaptation, and should be handled with as much love, accomodation and support as death or disability.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Climbing to Gain Perspective



I've enjoyed one-on-one time with straight and gay friends hundreds of times over the years--business lunches, runs, hikes, rides. On various Utah mountains I've gained more than altitude. I've seen the world around and below me in greater perspective, and sometimes, particularly with lyrics like these in my earbuds, I've wished that I could tell a few of those close friends how much they mean to me, without confessing that, "Yeah, I've got Judy Garland and Rufus Wainwright concerts on the iPod."

Alone together, beyond the crowd
Above the world
We're not too proud to cling together
We're strong as long as we're together

But then I end up using straight-guy language. The unambiguous language of actions not words. Saying "I like you" with invitations accepted or invitations offered. Saying "I choose to be with you," by showing up and making our way to higher ground together.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Another high impact short

which may hit you like it did me, depending on your experiences with your parents



From the music to the leaves to the message, for all of us who have been there, this is a remarkable creation. What do you say?

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Short, Powerful Film



I don't remember how I got to this. It may have been through links from someone in this community. If so, I thank you.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Our Savior's Light


"This is the light of Christ. As also he is in the sun, and the light of the sun, and the power thereof by which it was made. As also he is in the moon, and is the light of the moon, and the power thereof by which it was made; As also the light of the stars, and the power thereof by which they were made; And the earth also, and the power thereof, even the earth upon which you stand. And the light which shineth, which giveth you light, is through him who enlighteneth your eyes, which is the same light that quickeneth your understandings."
D&C 88:7-11

Is it any wonder that after the cold of winter, we enjoy the return of spring and summer?

Saturday, May 16, 2009

One Hand One Heart


(photo from Beck's blog)

Make of our hands one hand,
Make of our hearts one heart,
Make of our vows one last vow:
Only death will part us now.

Make of our lives one life,
Day after day, one life.
Now it begins, now we start
One hand, one heart;
Even death won't part us now.

Interesting, isn't it how Stephen Sondheim and Leonard Bernstein captured the essence of both mortal and eternal marriages in this classic from West Side Story. It's a beautiful, emotional song and yet I wonder, based on my own experience, how many MOMs (Mixed Orientation Marriages) achieve this ideal.

My dear wife and I are of one heart on many issues, particularly concerning our children and our pride in the way they treat others and their varied accomplishments. However our lives are not one, but multiple lives. We have different views so many things, different approaches, varying tastes, divergent opinions. Most of the hours of our days are not spent together but apart. Even much of our leisure time is spent in proximity to one another, but not in close physical or emotional contact.

Much of this is healthy. I agree with Kahlil Gibran: "...let there be spaces in your togetherness and let the winds of the heavens dance between you. Love one another but make not a bond of love: let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls." Nonetheless I am bound. I have chosen to be. I am bound by commitments and covenants, days which have stretched into years, months which have morphed into decades.

The spaces in our togetherness allow for friendships. Married women usually have their intimate girl friends. They may greet with hugs and kisses. Their supportive touching may include handholding. Some married men have their trusted business associates, their fishing buddies*, their racketball partners, those whose company they enjoy as they train together for a marathon or serve together in the neighborhood, church and community. While these relationships vary in the level of their intimacy, they tend to be platonic--even so the men may testify of the love for each other and kid each other about their bromance.

The dynamics are more complicated when one of the two buddies is gay or bisexual, but there remains a safety net. In a MOM male friendship, the straight man's orientation provides a natural barrier to convenant-breaking. The friends may be physically and emotionally close in many ways. They may share doubts, concerns and joys. They make greet and depart with the embrace of whiskered bear hugs. They may inhale each other's unique scent of sweat not entirely overpowered by deodorant. Hundreds even thousands of times over a long term freindship they may dress and undress together. They may stand naked, talking, laughing, shaving in the all-male bastion of the locker room and its showers. Sexual contact does not occur. It is not desired by one or even both of the men.

But when the males in a friendship are married men who are both SGA or SSA or bi-sexual or gay, and when the friendship includes playful, brotherly touch and mutual desire for more, what barriers protect that friendship from escalating into convenant-breaking? Is the covenant the safety net? What can they do to create appropriate spaces in their togetherness? How can their relationship help rather than hinder the vows they have made to their wives, the commitments they have made to their children, the chaste friendship they wish to sustain?

*usually, not, I presume of the Brokeback Mountain genre. ;)

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Oasis in the Desert



Desert: Dry, barren, a landscape or region that receives very little precipitation.
Oasis: a fertile tract in a desert where the water table approaches the surface; a haven, a shelter serving as a place of safety or sanctuary.

I'm grateful for both the desert of challenges and the oasis of friendship, family, and loved-ones. I'm grateful that when I was a teenager, a child was conceived in a desert far from my home. He grew to manhood. Served a mission. Fell in love. Married his sweetheart. Together they brought amazing children into this world. And then one blessed day our paths crossed and a friendship grew. It continues to grow. It continues to confound me. It is an oasis in a desert.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

An Affirmation from the Pulpit

A new family in our ward spoke in Sacrament meeting this past weekend. "Sister Brown" in addition to telling how she met her husband and a bit about her career and children expressed her admiration for a friend in a previous ward. This friend endured some unkind comments when she welcomed home her gay son and took care of him as he died of AIDS. Apparently some people in the ward and neighborhood advised her to put him in a nursing home and that he was just getting what he deserved. This woman continued to care for her son. I don't know how long ago this took place, but I'm encouraged that our new ward member was impressed enough by this woman's example of compassion to share it with us.

It reminds me of a favorite Martin Luther King, Jr. quotation: "You have been the veterans of creative suffering. Continue to work with the faith that unearned suffering is redemptive." It also reminded me that it's been a long time since I've seen Philadelphia and I think it's time to take another look.