I keep coming back to two ideas that bump into one another and then drift off in different directions. The first is that I need to meet at least one (more) gay Christian, someone like a mentor or someone I can look up to, to know how to be gay and Christian. The other that I need to meet more gay Christians so that I can find one, fall in love and live happily ever after with him.
Neither of these things are happening with my current church.
I don’t know if I should feel frustrated. In fact, when I think about it, I am once again being trapped in scripting. Recently I have been working hard on revision and somewhat deprived of social contact, so maybe I am just working through unresolved loneliness. Then I think about The Art of Happiness. The author, interviewing the Dalai Lama, wanted to find out ways that people can handle loneliness better. “Do you ever feel lonely?”, he began. “No,” replied His Holiness. This was not the answer that the author was expecting. Surely everyone feels lonely sometimes. But the fact that loneliness is not an intrinsic part of the human condition means that we can arise above it. Just like we rise above our thoughts in prayer and meditation, just as we can step back and review how we live our lives, just as we can step back and see our emotions, so we can step back from our loneliness. We do not have to be ruled by it.
Perhaps a lot of relationships today are based on the fear of being lonely, a script that says ‘you need someone to protect you from being lonely’ that drives people into relationships. Our love stories tell us that eventually we will find the right person, someone perfectly compatible with us, if only we stay true to ourselves. This has two varieties: ‘your prince will come’ and the ‘you must take action to find them’ – and a person can switch between these by getting disillusioned by either one.
Stepping out of that script means not being afraid of being alone and not being at war with singleness. Being alone is a fact; being lonely is a rejection of being alone. Loneliness happens when you identify too strongly with love stories – stories that ultimately say ‘you should be looking for someone’ or ‘you are going to be lonely until someone else does something about it’ and ‘you will not be fulfilled until this happens’.
Being conscious of that scripting does not mean not looking for someone. It just means being happy single. In a way I feel like my world should not be revolving around me and my love life. I had a moment recently where I realised how much I just talk about myself. (Two of them, actually.) It’s a reflection of how I am just so much more concerned about myself than I am about other people.
Relationships are also stories we tell. This is evidenced by people’s propensity for infidelity. Being in a relationship means exclusivity to one person (usually), but that breaks down if we tell ourselves that when relationships get dissatisfying we deserve to be satisfied by breaking the rules. Or rather, according to a higher set of rules. This, too, is a love story. It is placing happiness into the future, but is only a mask of the joy that we receive from being with God in each moment.
So I don’t have to put myself in that story. I still feel that finding gay Christians would be a good idea and I intend to do just that. I intend to find a gay Christian ‘mentor’ of sorts so that I can get a grip on my situation. But I don’t have to wait for any of that to happen in order to be fulfilled. It will all be meaningless unless I find satisfaction in the journey.