Monday, November 28, 2005

Taking Relational Risks

I'm learning that maybe it's okay to make some mistakes. Safe mistakes. It'd be terrible to do something so stupid that i'd jeopardize my health or life, but what if I allowed myself to go out and take some relational risks - be present and see what happens, see what God does.

I've been building friendship relationships but not necessarily romantic relationships. The thought of dating is actually kind of scary to me. I've never been on an actual date with another guy. Scratch that - I went on one several years ago but that was when I was paranoid for being in ministry and in the closet so I made sure nothing more came out of that "one" night. Now, things are different. My journey has taken me to a place of wanting to see what this would actually look like - for me to serve God in ministry while engaging in a committed relationship with a guy. But that would first require dating which would in turn require being present - emotionally and physically.

Believe me - for those of you who are "concerned" about the path i'm talking about taking - the huge hestitation for me is where this may lead....

I've always denied myself romantic relationships because I didn't want to "corrupt" myself with anything gay-related. Since i'm not straight, I wasn't exactly pursuing a relationship with a woman. The result has been a loneliness that I'm not sure how to describe to a straight person. If I were on a date with a guy or was even in a dating relationship with, can I trust myself to maintain boundaries? If so, then perhaps a relationship of substance can be nurtured. If not, could I be placing myself in a dangerous situation? So yeah, i'm concerned too.

It's pretty obvious, from my posts over the past couple months, that i'm inclined to believe that the sinfulness of homosexuality as referenced in Scripture has to be considered in the context of lust, selfishness, violence, and idolatry and that loving and committed relationships don't fall in that category. (I say "inclined" because it's not a concrete conclusion - i'm still open to the other perspectives). It's just that, at some point, I've gotta find out for myself if I can really see the fruit of the Spirit in the context of a loving relationship with another guy. I can't simply rely on the books and essays i've read or the warnings from concerned people or the encouragement of those in the gay world. This is my journey. I need to discern for myself what the Spirit is telling me. I trust Him enough to walk this through with me. Either He'll show me that this is a fruitless pursuit or He'll show me that there indeed is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control in a monogamous same-sex relationship.

Yeah, that's risk.

The other risk is my own esteem. The last thing I need is to purposefully place myself in a situation of being rejected. Yet the affirming thing about this blog has been the many friendships that we've started with each other via comments, email, instant message, or phone conversations. In one particular instant message with a new friend, I laughed about noticing that someone found Two World Collision by searching for "hot filipino gay guys". (It's actually pretty hilarious to see the things people Google to end up coming here.) But my new friend pointed out that he doesn't recall ever seeing a photo of me at this site and yet some people are ending up here looking for "hot". As i thought more about it, I realized that I've been able to interact with all of you in ways that has nothing to do with what I actually look like. And so, what if I functioned in the "real" world in much the same way. What if I was simply myself - confident in the person I am without feeling like I have to look a certain way. Perhaps the quality of my conversation with a sense of confidence is enough to be attractive to someone else. Since physical attraction is relative to each individual's taste and perception, perhaps my esteem can stay in tact.

What about the other issue? Maintaining boundaries. Can I trust myself? It'd be smart to have them as I'm being "present" out there. I was talking to my buddy tonight and he gave me some good suggestions. (Disclaimer: i'll apologize now in case you think some of them sound a bit raw but i'll share it in case it could benefit others.) For starters, my buddy says that I can always call him at the end of the evening if I decided in advance that I wasn't going to go home with anyone that night. (What a pal, huh?) He also says that we can do the whole double date thing so that I'm not out there doing this alone. This could allow input from my friends that I may not perceive of the guy. Some other things he mentioned was putting things in my car such as laundry baskets in the front and back seats so that I can't take anyone home with me. Or placing something embarassing in my car so that I wouldn't want a guy I just met to see it. The "raw" suggestion he mentioned was "relieving" myself before going out on a date so that my hormones weren't dictating my decisions. I think an important thing my buddy said was that I should communicate to the guy in the beginning that we are not going to have sex tonight. His response could reveal alot about this guy's character and what he's looking for.

Definitely some good stuff.

I want to do what's healthy. I want to do what's right. But I feel like this is a part of my journey that I need to see for myself. For so long I paralyzed myself from being able to connect with someone intimately. It's been incredibly lonely. I think taking safe risks are okay. Maybe it's okay to find out what kind of guys I don't like. Maybe it's okay to discover what a bad relationship would be like. Maybe it's okay for me to fall for a guy and have my heart broken. I still trust Jesus enough to walk with me through this. The fruit will speak for itself, i'll learn from it, and move on from there.

4 comments:

Elizabeth said...

I relate to your post. Sometimes, I feel as though perhaps being gay is wrong. Because I suffer so. (with my parent's callin' me a sinner and all) I wonder if God is punishing me for being this way. I'm pretty sure God wouldn't be against it, but there is that what if in there. And what if it were? What could we possibly do? I mean, others can't make you like women or for me to like men. I just wonder, if God does not approve, what were we supposed to do? Surely God wouldn't want us to live a miserable lonely life, or a lie. I don't know, it's almost 3 am and i'm just...filled with questions at this time of night. It's sad, really.

geek_boi said...

Eric,

I actually went on my first Mandate (actually, my first date with anyone) within the last six months. I got rejected a few times before that, and it never felt very good. I can relate to the lonliness issue.

Loverboi ended up being something of a jerk. If you read through some of my older posts you'll see what I mean. So yes, it went badly, and it still smarts sometimes, but I'll get over it. You're going to miss a lot before you hit the target, so to speak. It's okay, because everybody does it.

I also know that I'll find Love one day. Its difficult for me to believe that, since I find myself so unloveable (and ugly to boot!) but somehow I know that I will. I trust that you will too.

Liz, (can I call you liz?),

I'm not much of a theologian, but I don't think God is going to make you suffer for the way he made you. Life is full of suffering and pain, but God has -- I believe -- given us our fellow humans to alliviate some of that. It's okay to be filled with questions and lack answers (Lord knows that describes me pretty well) -- just know that you are Loved no matter who you are or how you feel. Thats the gospel truth.

Elizabeth said...

geek boi, (since I don't know you by any other name)

Yeah, you can call me liz. No problem. :)

And I want to thank you for your comment, it really meant something to me. And I'll keep that in mind next time I have my doubts. :)

Eric said...

Elizabeth,

Yeah, it's tough huh? I'm glad we can relate with our similar journeys!