When Gay Isn’t Gay Anymore
It was still dark out when Shane Warner slipped silently out of bed, wrapped his terry robe around him against the chilly November night air and quietly exited the bedroom. He left his partner, Mick Hall, sleeping soundly in the massive king-sized sleigh bed they shared. They had only been together a month, but already Shane was having second thoughts.
The stunning room was surrounded by glass on every side, floor to ceiling plate glass surrounded by sumptuous lined drapes in a remarkable, shiny platinum color, framing a city view second to none, but it still felt cold to him. Why was he so cold inside?
Why did he feel so dissatisfied? What was wrong with being pursued and loved by a guy as successful and good-looking as Mick? Mick had graduated from Texas Tech five years earlier with a Masters in Architecture and owned his own design firm that specialized in creating living spaces for up-and-coming professionals who wanted nothing but the best.
Shane shook his head and sighed—he had gone into it so enthusiastically four weeks ago. Somehow it seemed much longer. Pulling his robe tighter around him, he purposely left the lights off when he settled into the sumptuous Italian leather chair in the living room and put his feet up on its massive matching hassock. For some reason he just couldn’t seem to get warm. The thick fleece throw didn’t even seem to help though he tucked it in around him. Why was that?
He closed his eyes, knowing sleep wouldn’t be coming soon.
He hadn’t been raised to be gay. His upbringing had been straight all the way. Raised in a rare family with two parents who were faithful to each other it had been a deep plunge into the abyss to go this far. And to be honest it seemed like an abyss--a labyrinth from which he felt like he had lost his way out.
He sat in the dark pondering his life. School had been easy, because he was a jock, considered intelligent, good-looking, and popular. But now at age twenty-three he felt at loose ends. Was this really the way to go?
His parents weren’t particularly into political correctness, nor were they especially conservative, but he couldn’t miss the looks of hurt and shock on their faces when he revealed that he was gay. But was he really gay? And if he was why did he feel so conflicted?
He considered that question briefly, but knew the answer without much contemplation. The standard was one man to one woman for life. Everyone knew that. But over the years “choice” had come to be the byword, making it easy for the acceptance of a new mantra: “anything goes.” But did it really? Just because someone said so, did that actually make it so?
He’d puzzled over that notion for years. Who set the standard? Who made the rules? What rules? It seemed as if he could almost see the progression of permissibility. It started with a thought, didn’t it? Like, what if . . .? And then it went to: “Why not?” It was the essence of freedom, wasn’t it?
Well, somehow it didn’t feel all the much like freedom anymore. But why was that?
Mick was a nice guy, but he was a guy. And whether they admitted it or not, guys always had a tendency to compete with each other when put together; it was just the way things were. So when you put two guys alone together in the same household, in the same bed, trying to act like a married couple, it didn’t actually translate the same way a heterosexual marriage might. He hated to admit that. In fact, it had surprised him to grasp the truth.
He had seen several hints of that possibility from the start. Just small things--little clues that Mick might take the dominant place, in their relationship. Not that he was huge and burly, or even a pushy, aggressive he-man type. In fact, he was slightly built and even a little reserved. However, he knew what he wanted and had enough confidence to go after it. He could never be a biker, wearing leather or making overt threats. It was much more subtle than that. He was just a nice guy who wanted a little more say than Shane when it came to making decisions. And why not? It was his amazing condo, his food, his furniture, his bed, his everything--which meant that things weren’t equal at all, even though Shane paid half of the bills.
Truth be told, he felt beholden to Mick, which made him vulnerable, prey to whatever his benefactor wanted. Could Mick be trusted? Could anyone—with his feelings, his secret longings? He bit his lip realizing that was the crux of the issue. He didn’t like feeling indebted and vulnerable. He didn’t like feeling like a—what did they call those guys who had been stripped of their manhood? Eunuchs? The thought galled him. He wasn’t a eunuch. He was a man, with hopes, dreams, and plans for his future. What kind of a future was this?
He sighed aloud. How had things come this far? How had he gotten into this situation? That wasn’t hard to figure out. He’d been raped by his neighbor’s uncle at age eight, and it had opened his mind to the possibilities, even though he had hated being abused. It felt like betrayal of the worst kind, that someone older, who absolutely knew better, had taken advantage of him, like a spider toying with a fly before eating him whole. So what had happened to bring him full circle—into this situation?
Once again he sighed aloud, tired but not sleepy. Who was he? As a high school senior he had had big plans. He had wanted to get his journalism degree and go into broadcasting, maybe be an investigative reporter for a news magazine or a network television station. And he had the looks, the talent and the drive to make it happen.
When had the dream died? Oh, he had gone to Missouri State University where he got both his BA and Masters in broadcast journalism, but from that point on, he had taken the low road, the safe way out. If he was honest he would have to admit that his dream had begun to die and he had done nothing to stop it.
But why? It all began when he met Mick at a party at Sue Ellen Blanchard’s house six months earlier. Her parents were loaded; her father was the CEO of a company that rivaled Microsoft, producing computer chips and other parts for electronics of all kinds—and successful beyond belief, from the look of things. A huge mansion in the best neighborhood, expensive cars, servants, catered food and imported wines. The party was held while her parents were out of town, but that wasn’t unusual. Apparently they had homes on both coasts and several in tropical climes, to get away from the madding crowd. But it was clear that they wouldn’t care one way or the other even if they had known about the party. What could possibly be wrong with having guests over to dance and have a good time? None of the guests were underage. But believing they were adults hadn’t changed anything. No matter what anyone said, everyone is not created equal, or at least it didn’t look like it from Shane’s point of view.
He’d been surprised to realize that the wealthy had more power, more clout and more influence over those beneath their station. And they used that power against them.
He had seen it happen repeatedly, manipulation and greed working together to favor one group over another, and he hated it. It went against everything in him to see the underdog stepped on. And now he was the underdog.
Mick had surprised him when he asked him to dance that night at the party. No male had ever approached him before, and it made him wonder what signals he was sending. Did he seem less than masculine? Was there some kind of pheromone radiating from his skin that others picked up on?
He recalled the moment with vivid clarity. Mick had flashed a dazzling smile. “What are you drinking?”
“A Tom Collins.”
Then out of the blue, Mick said, “Want to dance?”
Shane had frowned in confusion. “With you?”
“Yeah, with me. Got a problem with that?”
“Not exactly, but I usually dance with girls.”
“Well, maybe you feel adventurous tonight . . .”
Shane had felt somehow cornered, at a disadvantage though he didn’t
exactly understand why.
Mick gave him a look. “What? Nobody ever acted interested in you before?”
“You mean guys? Heck, no. I’m not like that.”
“How do you know unless you try?”
Shane had felt pressure from then on, though he hadn’t really admitted it to himself at the time.
“No thanks. I’ve got to go, so if you’ll excuse me.”
Even when rebuffed Mick’s interest had not diminished in the least; Shane could see it in his eyes, and now he realized that at that moment he had felt fear—real fear to see that look and know that he was the prey.
From then on, Mick had turned up at every event that Shane attended, and it wasn’t long before they were talking guy talk—work, ball games, car races, truck and tractor pulls, and Shane forgot to feel leery.
He adjusted his position in the chair, pulled the fleece throw higher around his neck and shuddered, realizing how he had fallen into line so easily. He could see now that it was a strategic move on Mick’s part to become his friend then win his confidence then slowly break down his defenses, until he thought nothing of--he said it out loud to the empty room—“Having sex with a guy.” It was as if reality had suddenly exploded in his head. He had been had.
The sex was also strange. While they might use words like “love”, the experience was purely animal, quite detached and almost savage in nature as if there were simply physical drives that had to be satisfied. There was nothing natural about it; he could see that now. Why hadn’t he seen it all before? Well, to be honest he hadn’t let himself stop and consider it for any length of time. Their life had seen to that; the activities and entertainment never stopped, so when would anyone give it any thought?
His job as a newspaper columnist extended to include whatever the news chief wanted him to do, running errands, fixing equipment that no one else could deal with . . .It hit him hard to realize he had prostituted himself at work, too, accepting less than he wanted because he hadn’t fought to get more.
He was sickened to realize what he had become. Was this all there was to life?
He knew it wasn’t. In fact, at the supermarket, where he now did their regular shopping, someone in the checkout line had handed him a small brochure that caught his interest. It was actually entitled, “Is This All There Is?” He had stuck it in his jacket pocket without reading it, because time was short. Now he wanted to know more.
He stood, let the fleece throw fall to the hassock, and made his way in the dark to the coat closet, where he silently groped for his suede jacket. He searched the pockets and found the brochure, then headed back to the living room where he turned on the lamp.
On the front of the brochure was a giant yellow question mark—much like the one in his head. He opened it and began to read. “Why are you here? Why were you born? Are you here just to take up space until you die? The answer is a resounding ‘NO!’
“You were actually born for a reason—to glorify God with your body, your mind, your talents, and your life. Everything about you resembles the living God. In fact, the Bible says in Genesis 1:27: ‘So God created people in his own image. He patterned them after himself; male and female he created them.’ You are a glorious reflection of who God is. Genesis 1:28 goes on to say: ‘God blessed them and told them, “Multiply and fill the earth, and subdue it. Be master over the fish and birds and animals.” You were born for a purpose, to live out your God-given destiny, to love and serve God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength, and to reflect His love to others. That’s right, I said God loves you. The Bible says you are the apple of his eye, never very far from his thoughts. Psalm 139 says he has known you since before you were ever created and even watched you as you grew in your mother’s womb. It says he knows when you lie down and when you get up, and even if you fly to the farthest reaches of the earth you are never out of his sight. And what’s even more astounding is that he loves you with a deep compassion and wants to spend time with you. Genesis 3:8 says God spent time walking and talking with Adam and Eve in the garden in the cool of the day, because he wanted to get to know them.
“Is it hard to believe God is a God of love rather than a distant and dreaded tyrant who loves nothing more than throwing his weight around and proving his dominance? Well, if you read the Bible with an open heart you will find that he’s not like that at all. In fact, most of the things we believe about God are untrue. When Adam and Eve sinned, by eating of the forbidden fruit, God came up with Plan B, where they would sacrifice an animal, shedding its blood to cover their sins. In time, he even sent his own Son, Jesus, to earth, to die, once and for all, for the forgiveness of sin.
“You probably already know that Jesus’ birth is celebrated on Christmas, but did you know that he came to make you right with God? To restore the relationship that sin shattered, seemingly forever? That’s right. He came to die, and would’ve done it even if you’d been the only one who needed salvation. And now he wants you to accept this amazing sacrificial gift, confessing your sins, and letting Jesus blood erase them for all time.
“Romans 3:23 tells us: ‘For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.’ Romans 6:23 adds: ‘For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.’ Second Corinthians 5:17 tells us: ‘Therefore if any man be in Christ he is a new creature; old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.’ Romans 10:9-10 says: ‘. . . if thou shall confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.’
And in case you’re unsure, let me say that according to scripture heaven and hell are both real destinations, depending on what we do with the gift of salvation. And if that’s the case, let me ask you, ‘If you died today, where would you be in the morning?”
‘Today is the day of salvation, so don’t let another day pass without knowing your future is secure in Jesus Christ.’”
Shane turned off the light and sat there thinking. Did God really care about the minute details and the daily annoyances that impacted his life? Did God know he was struggling with his identity?
Hot tears filled his eyes, but he didn’t care, because he was simply being honest. In a shaky whisper he said, “God, if you’re really alive and you love me like that guy said you do, could you let me know? I need you to reveal yourself to me and make this stuff clear. I don’t want to miss my destiny. I am though, aren’t I? I’ve missed it by a mile. I don’t know how I got so far off-track, but I have a feeling it won’t be easy to retrace my steps and start over. What do you think, God? Can you help me?”
And suddenly as if in answer, he felt a feeling of warmth, like warm oil, start in his chest and begin to fill up every chilly place inside him. He smiled. Maybe there was hope after all.
God loves each of us as if we were the only ones alive. He cherishes us so much that He made arrangements to send Jesus to take our guilt upon His own body. But because He is also a just and holy God He cannot simply wink at sin and ignore it, which is why scripture says that we must approach God with humility, gratitude and a heart willing to forsake sin and walk in obedience, seeking to please Him, in all we say and do. No matter what we’ve done in the past, He is ready and willing to forgive us and make all things new, but only as we walk away from sin and renew our minds, allowing Him to transform us to reflect the glory of God. We love you and God loves you and wants to restore the things you’ve lost as you find your identity in Christ, who wants to complete you, meet your deepest needs and allow you to be all you were meant to be . . .
Copyright© 2012, Nancy Arant Williams | Webpage by: Cheryl |