24 December 2011

Love Thy Sister

A thoughtful woman I have met via Twitter recently wrote a blog post, "Just enough." about the conflict between desiring a better life and feeling ungrateful for the one she has. (Go ahead and read that, then come back here. I'll wait.) I had ruminated on this myself over the years, and I even managed to articulate some of it in a comment I left to her post (you missed it? *sigh* Go back. I'll wait. Again.) I am, of course, having a very confusing Christmas this year and I had hoped to at least have some thoughts coherent enough for a post about that, but something more important has taken hold of my attention.

I have more than a few LGBT friends, and I suspect more than a few LGBT readers. I know a terrific young woman who is, at this very moment, suffering through Christmas with her family without the company of her wonderful girlfriend. The conflict is such that my friend has been compelled to essentially give in to the emotional blackmail of her family, who have not as yet accepted my friend's sexual orientation. Now, I only know these two women via the Internet so I cannot claim comprehensive familiarity with them but I can say with certainty that they're thoughtful, compassionate people and I hold them both in high regard. If we lived in the same area, I would be quite happy to hang out with them. (One's a Trekkie, so I know she's good for some geek-centric conversation!)

Now, I am not naive or oblivious. I have known for years that countless people around the world are compelled to keep their romantic/sexual lives out of the eyes of their own families. Those taboos can be over race, religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation or any other absurd criteria. Knowledge of this has always offended me, but this year it has struck me in a very specific way.

In case you're new to my blog, I spent an entire year fighting severe depression and suicidal urges. The very idea of being alive caused me actual pain in the form of headaches. Here I am, however, on the other side of that darkness. I have re-engaged my family and friends after nearly a year of withdrawing from them all, and I have been reminded how great a job I've done over the years of surrounding myself with truly wonderful companions. They have all insisted to me that, regardless of however I felt about myself during this past year, they always still thought well and affectionately of me and that they're grateful I'm still here with them for this Christmas.

I refer back to my friend's blog post about being contented with what is necessary in life while desiring growth and fulfillment in it, and I look at my LGBT friends through the prism of her post as well as my own recent experiences and I can only wish that those who have placed barriers of disapproval around their loved ones would gain perspective. Your daughter could be gone tomorrow. Accept and love her today. Nothing is so important that you can't make peace with it, and it's certainly not worth the kind of strife and heartache that comes from disallowing her to share in the company of a woman who makes her happy and loves her.

This is precisely the kind of perspective most of us have in the immediate aftermath of life-and-death situations, but lose sight of once our lives return to an equilibrium that allows for pettiness. So in conclusion, I would address my blogger friend by saying that the real challenge is to grow and seek further fulfillment...while never letting go of the perspective that having less affords us. We may never have so much in our lives that we can afford to destroy what really matters; namely, our loved ones. I leave you with this:
Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do you. - Colossians 3:13
If you insist upon withholding from your loved ones the very forgiveness for which this whole holiday is meant to espouse, then frankly I see no reason for you to even participate.


  1. Wow, once again you have blown me away with your understanding of life.  As one of your LGBT readers and followers I want to thank you for making that so simple.  I did not come out till I was 34 because of the fear of loosing my parents love.  Thanks again Travis.

  2. Larry, I'm sorry you had to live with that fear for so long. I don't know much about your situation beyond what you've shared in comments here and on Twitter, but I hope you've found the acceptance you deserved all along. And if you didn't...send 'em to my blog! I'll take a whack at 'em!

  3. Yes I have thankfully, but sadly thanks to depression it took me a lot longer to accept myself

  4. I trust you know better now than to listen to depression.