It’s only been two weeks since I held my breath as my finger hovered over that publish button to “A Very REAL Matter: Same-Sex Attraction”. My stomach ached as I dug even deeper, to muster additional courage to share to Facebook and Twitter. Fear of how the public would react to my son’s vulnerability and to my motherly plea to the world to reinvest in kindness.
The response has been over-whelming. Our inboxes inundated with positive emails, messages and phone calls, along with a long stream of comments beneath the many social media shares. We thank you from the bottom of our heart for your kind and supportive messages, your openness, AND for sharing the video and post with others.
(If you have no idea what I am talking about, STOP and take a few minutes to watch the video and original article.)
The message we had hoped would shine through was validated with comments such as…
“Thank you so much for sharing this video. It touched our hearts, and we cried all the way through it. This is exactly our son’s story as well. We are learning everyday as a family. Thanks for your words and lessons. It has helped so much!!!”
“I agree that whether we agree or disagree with same-sex attractions, we can ALL be kinder and more compassionate about it.”
“Wow. I was deeply touched AND educated. Thank you to you and Sean for taking the time to open up about this subject. I needed the lesson on being less judgmental and more loving.”
A great number of the responses mirrored my son’s story having received an outpouring of love, empathy and compassion. Others experienced rejection, and still others live in fear of telling their parents, or sharing their secret with anyone.
Hundreds thanked us for helping them see things in a different perspective.
One father confessed, “I haven’t spoken to my gay son in four years.” He humbly added, “I can see I have been doing it wrong.” He committed to send his son a text that simply said, “I love you”.
Bullseye! That was our intention!
It’s rewarding to hear that hearts are healing, families reuniting and lives being saved. It’s a start.
Some people questioned the need to even have this discussion asking, “Why would anyone not accept a person just because of their sexual orientation?”
Another person confessed, “I was brought up to believe you only accept gays if they do not act upon their desires.”
I must confess…
I cried as I read the many heart-wrenching emails that claimed they had often gone to bed crying and pleading with God to please not let THIS be their challenge. Praying “Please take my eye sight, my hearing, my legs, ANYTHING in place of being gay.”
The most common patterns I noticed within the mass of emails were…
1) The internal conflict between their natural feelings they did not choose, and their religious beliefs. Leaving them wondering, “Does God love me?”
2) The most difficult step seemed to be admitting to him or her self that number one, this was not going away, and number two, this was a real part of who they were.
Then REAL fear steps in…
“Who do I tell? Do I tell my parents? HOW do I tell my parents? How will they react?”
And the biggest fear of all – “What if they reject me?”
This leads to the next big dilemma…
Is it okay to date someone I am attracted to, or do I continue to date someone of the opposite sex to appear normal? Do I live a life of celibacy? Is it possible to meet someone of the opposite sex who will marry me?
Many emails (too many) contained confessions that ending their life seemed like the best and only option. And many shared they had already attempted to take their life. No one should feel ending their life is their only or best option. Never. Ever.
It was heartbreaking to read the many emails from parents and gay young men and women who expressed they had become disillusioned and angry with God and many claiming to be atheist.
I wish I had a magic wand to calm the hearts of those who live in fear of telling their parents or sharing their secret with anyone, fear of disappointment and of being rejected.
The happiest and most positive emails were from gay young men and women who believed in God and had loving family support.
The happiest expressed gratitude in having parents who loved them unconditionally. Just knowing their parents loved them seemed to make a huge difference.
My heart is full and I fight back the tears. I never imagined this is what I would learn and experience when I pushed that “publish”. But I am grateful. Grateful to know that hundreds and perhaps thousands now know they are not alone and they have a friend in me and my son. My inbox is filled with people who just want to fit in, to be understood and feel loved.
My plea to the world is to reinvest in kindness, compassion and charity. We all could do a little better don’t you think? I know I could.