August 27, 2010

(This is going to get sticky.)

Two days ago, my best friend told me that she's in love with a woman. This wasn't completely out of the blue, so I can't say I was totally surprised. But when I read the words--so emphatically expressed--in black and white, I felt like I had been stabbed in the gut.

Part of me doesn't think she's really gay. I've known her for 10 years, and up until the past year or so, she's always been interested in men. She had at least two major crushes on guys when she was in college. I have no idea what to think now.

My friend is in the ministry. She wants to become ordained. She just graduated from seminary after spending three years there beyond college. But if she decides to publicly pursue a homosexual relationship, the church will never ordain her. She may even lose her current job. Everything she has worked for will be for nothing--not to mention that her mom will be crushed at the prospect of never having a grandchild. I would feel better about supporting my friend through this if I believed this was more than the result of social influence.

I feel like I'm in an awkward position now. First of all, my father has been a pentecostal minister for most of his adult life. You can imagine what his views on homosexuality are, and he considers my friend like a second daughter to him. I can just picture his disappointment, as well as my becoming at odds with my parents over my choice to support her.

The situation is made more awkward for me because of my personal feelings on the subject. I openly admit here that I'm not totally comfortable with the idea of homosexuality. That does not mean I'm homophobic. I gladly befriend gays, hug them, hang out with them, and genuinely listen when they talk about their lives and loves. If a gay person confessed that she found me attractive, I would not be offended or repulsed. I would even vote for their right to marry. But I'm not 100% convinced that homosexuality is a natural, inherent attraction. Maybe it is, but I can't convince myself.

I know admitting this is dangerous. I know that dozens of people will argue otherwise. They may even provide scientific evidence to suggest that it is. Trust me, I've heard all the arguments. But all that can do is change my mental understanding of what it means to be homosexual. It cannot change how I feel about it. Maybe that's because I live as a heterosexual woman and, therefore, will never truly understand what it means to be gay.

All I know is that I love my friend and will support her in whatever she chooses to do. I can only imagine what she is feeling right now--facing the possibility that she is different from what she always thought she was, that many of her friends and family may reject her, that she may have to choose between her convictions and her career. I just wish I knew for sure that this is the right thing for her. I'm also afraid that one day she'll ask me what my true feelings are, and that will be the end of our friendship. I'm willing to meet her halfway on this. I just hope she'll agree to meet me on the other side. I want to be there.

Thanks for reading...and understanding.

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