Dear Dad, Mom, y Hermano

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Dear Dad, Mom, y Hermano:  
I am writing this letter to express what is on my heart, and what I feel compelled to share with you.  Some of this may be a repeat of things we have discussed, some may not.  My goal is to help you understand my feelings.  
I am not attracted to women.  In fact, I am attracted to men.  I am hesitant to use the term "gay", because I am not fond of the Judy Garland, Rainbow, and Gay Pride connotation this brings up.  However, I will go ahead and use it in this letter.  
I understand this may come as a shock.  I do not know if you already knew, suspected, or thought maybe I was just confused.  The truth is without a doubt that I am homosexual.  Since you know how much I love plans and organization, I am going to break this letter into several parts.  Please understand that this letter was not composed in a fit of passion, or that I don't know what I am talking about.  
Did We Do Something Wrong?  

No, absolutely not.  This has been one of my biggest fears in coming out to you, the fear that you would hold yourselves responsible.  There is absolutely NOTHING that you have done or have not done that has made me this way.  You have been the best parents/family I could have ever imagined.  I will love you no matter what, and I would never trade you for anyone else in the world.  

Why Now?  

I almost came out two years ago, but I did not feel it was the right time.  However, a recent series of events has convinced me that now is the time.  You have certainly noticed the growing chasm between us.  The closeness we used to share has withered.  When I am with you I am constantly stressed and frazzled and distant.  Maybe you have not noticed this, but I doubt my acting is that good.  If you have not noticed this, I have found my calling as an actor.  Here I come Hollywood!  

Have You Tried Not Being Gay?  

This is what I have been doing for the past 8+ years of my life.  I have broken up with several girls because I was not attracted to them physically.  Still, the dream of loving a girl and having the perfect life has been so alluring that I have been unbelievably close to settling down with a girl.  We were going to have a combined income of $80,000 (right out of college!); a beautiful bungalow in midtown; beautiful, intelligent children; petty arguments over taking out the trash or what to have for dinner; and church home-group hosted at our house.  All of this I wanted and have been trying to pursue.  However, this is all a sham.  It would be a house of cards that could not last.  In my heart of hearts I know that my homosexuality could not coexist with a happy marriage to a woman.  Still, the desire to have this is incredibly strong.  However, I know that I cannot give into my selfishness and steal someone's heart for my own desires.  I also know that settling down and getting married will not make me straight.  As a last resort, I even thought about finding a nice lesbian to set up a home with (I am only half joking).   Besides just willing myself to be straight, I have prayed and cried out to God.  I have prayed non-stop for over 8 years.  I have felt that homosexuality is some "disease" that I have to get rid of.  It is a battle raging in my soul and I must not be a good enough Christian.  I felt that if I just worshiped a little harder, prayed more for healing, read the bible more, bought more Christian literature, joined the right church, I would break free of these feelings and God would restore me.  I have been through depression, anger, tears, and a time when I was tired of living.  I never became suicidal, but I was desperately close to the edge.  This has challenged my faith like nothing ever has.  In fact, I stopped going to church for awhile and almost abandoned my belief in God.  There was also a brief time when I attempted to live apart from Him.  These two instances were failures and I was mercifully called back.  This leads to a nice segue into the next section:  

How Does This Work With Your Christianity?  

For so long I have felt that Christianity and homosexuality were mutually exclusive.  This has been the main source of pain in my life.  I have felt that this sin is greater than all others and there was something fundamentally wrong.  Therefore, I must repress all of these feelings in order to be worthy of God's love.  Until very recently, I did not understand that God's love was truly unconditional.  I felt there were conditions, and that I was fortunate enough to meet them all.  I did not need the grace and mercy of God.  I was caring, compassionate, giving, smart, blessed, and "humble".  How wrong I have been!  Coming to the realization that I am not "holier than thou" has been dramatic.  Pride is above all else the biggest sin I struggle with.  My arrogance and pride have left me hard-hearted and numb.  I will now strive for true humility.  Of course, it will obviously be a daily struggle, but Christianity is not easy.      I want to bear good fruit and feel I can do so, even as a homosexual.  I want to obey the greatest of all commandments "Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind, also love your neighbor as yourself' (paraphrased).  Unfortunately, I have been paralyzed in my current state and unable to do either.  I have been so busy obsessed with my sexuality that it has become an enormous idol in my life.  This has left no room for honoring God.  Additionally, my own self-hatred has destroyed the love I should be able to share with others.  Now I can strive to be authentic with the Lord, understanding His Grace and beginning to love myself, leading to an ability to love others.  

Are You Seeing Someone?  

No, I am not seeing anyone.  I am not going to be ready to see someone for awhile.  Consuming myself with the hunt for a perfect mate will only work to derail God's plan for my life.  It will become another idol blocking me from His love.   Also, there is a chance that I won't find anyone.  I am not going to compromise my morals.  I still believe in remaining abstinent until marriage and I will not enter into a relationship with someone who is not Christ focused.  Still, do not fear that I will be living a life of isolation and misery.  That is actually the life I have been leading until now.  Now I plan to progress into a life filled with honesty and Christian love.  Also, do not give up the hope of Grandchildren.  I really want to have a daughter even cuter than Julia, and a son named Ephraim.  Of course, no matter how hard it is for the flesh to acknowledge, let the Lord's and not my will be done in this life.  That said, I do not know what that plan for me includes.  

Where Do We Go From Here?  

Great Question!  I understand this will take some time to process.  Understand that what has taken me 8+ years to process, I do not expect you to come to terms with immediately.  Understand that I love you no matter what your reaction and that you have a standing invitation back into my life.  This time, my real life.  Understand that I am not expecting an endorsement of homosexual behavior, or a rainbow bumper sticker placed on the Corolla.  I am open to your prayers and conversations, whatever they may be.  I am just as interested as you are to discuss this on a theological level.  I am not looking for judgement, in either direction, but I do value candid, honest conversation.  I respect you all and your viewpoints.   

Remember, I am not your gay son Joseph.  I am your son Joseph, who happens to be gay.  This is a small part of the whole person I am...well, the whole person I hope to become as I continue to forgive myself.  I still love Stargate and cookies, shopping and movies, Alias and our Sunday afternoon lunches.   
I know that God loves me and that I will still be able to further his Kingdom.  My priority is to live a Christ-centered Life.  I live and I breathe for an audience of One.  I love you all.  

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