People have come up with a lot of theories on why some people are gay, some are straight, and some are in between. It’s been attributed to biology, sexual abuse, parental relationships, and countless other markers. I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about why I’m gay and I’ve come to the conclusion that I’ll probably never know and that I don’t really care because the why of it isn’t really important. However, in pondering this question, I did think a lot about my relationship with my parents, particularly my dad. As seems to be a trend with many gay guys, my dad and I didn’t have a great relationship when I was growing up.
When I was a kid, my dad was under a lot of stress: my family was struggling financially, my parents’ marriage was on the rocks, and my dad was spending every day at an unfulfilling job, watching his future slip away. I didn’t know any of this at the time which made it impossible to understand why he was so upset and standoffish. At that time, I saw my dad as a source of fear, definitely not a beacon of love and support. Looking back and analyzing him through the idea of the five love languages, he definitely never expressed love through physical touch or words of affirmation and quality time and acts of service certainly weren’t his forte. However, recently I’ve discovered that my dad had been showing love the whole time through gifts and sacrifice.
I wasn’t aware of it back then, but now, when I consider what my parents were able to provide with so little money and how much they gave up for my brother and me, it speaks of an enormous amount of love. I found out fairly recently that my parents love to travel, but I don’t think they went on a single real vacation the entire time I was growing up. No matter how tight things were, my parents always made sure their was food on the table, clothes on our bodies, and gifts under the tree at Christmas. People don’t just give up the things they want unless it’s for something they truly care about and I wish I had been able to appreciate the full measure of my dad’s love instead of being upset that he wasn’t expressing his affection in the way I wanted.
All of this leads me to wonder if these facts have influenced my relationship with God. The way I’m used to experiencing love is through gifts, through receiving what I want. I think sometimes I don’t feel God’s love for me because He rarely gives me what I ask for. It’s hard for me to feel His love in other ways: the words of affirmation through the Bible seem to be meant for someone else, the quality time seems insignificant when it lacks physical presence and verbal responses, and obviously anything involving touch is off the table. Acts of service seem to be the primary method God has used to show His love; He sent His son to live and die for us, but again, He did it for us, not for me. I’ve heard it a million times, “even if it was only you, God still would have sent Jesus, He still would have suffered and died because He loves you,” yet somehow it seems so hard to internalize. Sometimes I think it’s because I’ve heard it so many times it’s lost it’s meaning. I hope that I am eventually able to understand God’s love for me, but I think I need to grow in wisdom and my understanding of love.