There is this friend I used to? have that I met while in college.  We met doing Young Life.  At a Baptist university.  So you know where this is going. 

We were close in college.  But by close, I mean that she opened up to me and I listened, not the other way around.  I was very guarded back then – with everyone. 

She dated this guy that was an Asshole.  But she said she loved him.  They dated for a long time.  And when they had sex at her parent’s house and his parent’s house, I did not judge her.  I think she knew I wouldn’t judge her.  And I think that’s why she told me.

Then they got engaged.  By this time, I was in graduate school in a different state.  And Asshole had matured a bit and was now just an ass, with a little “a”.  He was turning a new leaf, and considering going to seminary.  I saw hope.  Her parents saw a situation that would not provide the means and lifestyle for their daughter that they thought she deserved.  They were Furious, Powerful, Religious, and Wealthy.   

During mid-term week, her mother called me and begged and demanded that I call her daughter and tell her not to marry the guy.  She said “you cannot let her marry this guy, it will ruin her life.”  I told her that I had had many conversations with her about this guy, but she was set on marrying him.  And as her friend, it was now my job to support her.  That she was adult.  I said, “Are you suggesting that if I cannot convince her to call off the wedding that I have played a part in ruining her life?”  “Well, yes, sort of” she said.

I did not convince her to call off the wedding.  I don’t remember trying to either. 

A better friend than me must have.  Or maybe her family convinced her.  Or maybe ass did something Assholey.  Or maybe the Inheritance factor.  Or maybe it was just guilt.

**********

I came out a year later.  To myself.  To my family.  To my friends.  But not that one.  Not any of the people I went to college with.  Because I knew how they’d respond.  And I’m better at delaying pain than I am at delaying gratification.

********** A few years later, she got engaged, and then married, a different guy.  They liked this one.  More economic potential.  Didn’t badmouth her family.  Conservative.  Wealthy.  Religious. 

My friend is a stay-at-home mom.  Her husband is a good dad to their two children.  They live in the suburbs, I’m pretty sure the same one that the Cleavers live in.  Kids go to school at their conservative Baptist church. 

**********

A couple weeks ago, after much hesitation, I shared with her that I was pregnant.  I also shared that I was a lesbian, in a committed life partnership of seven years and counting.  And I thought this was important to do because I wanted to be clear that the decision and efforts were prayerfully considered, and made in Love.  I thought that the mommy-factor would override, at least momentarily, her judgment of my God-given sexuality.  I was wrong.  I said I was so happy for the gift of being pregnant after so much struggle to get there.  Her response was “I’m happy if you are happy.”  How backhanded.  She went on to say “as a Christian, I don’t approve of your lifestyle.”  As if her approval somehow carried any weight with me.  Didn’t she remember from Young Life that you had to earn the right to be heardBecause as a Christian, I know that God created me exactly as I was intended to be, no matter what others say. And thanks be to God I have been strong enough to keep my Faith despite the efforts of the “faithful”. But that doesn’t take the sting away. 

A few weeks later, she sent an email and wanted to know if I planned to find out if they were boys or girls or one of each.  Which confused me.  Because her email was unsolicited, yet without visible judgment.  So I thought maybe the mommy-factor was playing a bigger part.  Because I just can’t imagine a mom not being happy for a mom-to-be who so wantingly, prayerfully, and deliberately tried to get pregnant and chose to do so in the confines of a loving life partnership.  Not much different than hers.  So I responded:  “Yes, we plan to find out.  Any planning we can do with twins will be welcome.  We should know around Christmas.  I’ll keep you posted.”Just two days ago, I went to a luncheon.  My old friend and her mom both attended.  They didn’t approach me.  But I thought it was important to say hello.  And so I approached them.  And exchanged the typical how-are-you’s.  Talked about her kids, or in reference to the mom, about her grandkids.  Must have been about ten minutes.   

NOT ONCE DID THEY ACKNOWLEDGE ME BEING PREGNANT. 

Not a “you look great” or “you look like shit” or “how are you feeling” or “how are the babies doing”.  And it maybe it’s just me, me being emotional and sentimental, but I thought that was incredibly…CRUEL.  I mean, to stand three feet in front of someone who you know wanted so much to be pregnant – and then Not. Say. A. Word. takes a pretty cold heart.  I tried to forget about it.  But instead, it has hurt my feelings deeply. 

And not just because of that experience, but because I know it foreshadows experiences that will come.  Like possibly when I tell a few of my friends from college.  Or how our children will be hurt by comments from their classmates.  Or ridicule from other parents. 

And from somewhere, I’ll have to find the courage and the strength to rise above this kind of cruelty.  I wish it wasn’t like this.

**********

To my friends and readers who are gay, fortify your hearts with love and kindness from supportive friends and family.  And to my friends and readers who are straight, please be aware of how much hurt there can be to your gay friends.  And when someone you know says something ugly or mean – as a joke or directly to or behind the back of someone gay– know that there’s someone like me on the other end, trying to heal the wound. 

And then speak up. 

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