Tag Archive | misguided passion

Of All the Men I Loved Before


Today’s post touches on a subject of much controversy in the Christian church, homosexuality. There is no need to respond with the multitude of Biblical passages concerning God’s view of this topic. Both Mitch, the man in the story, and myself know all of them. Instead this post is intended to put a face on the controversy and perhaps help us all not only understand but find a common ground to work towards healing in and of all parts of this issue. It is a true story, one of my own, which I believe may surprise a few of my readers but I did change the name of this man to Mitch to protect not his identity but his privacy.

God brought my spouse into my life when I was 35, I was 36 when we married. We’ve been married 16 years after only a four month courtship. We had much in common from the beginning; a love of and for God, bad examples of marriage in our parents, music, and a desire to have a successful marriage, just to name a few. Before God, our pastor and quite a few of our congregation we vowed to love one, and to remain married to one another until death did us part.

Our promise to one another every single day, whether spoken verbally or not has been, divorce is not an option. We’ve had our share of difficult patches. But we have worked through it, together, getting whatever professional help we needed as individuals or as a couple to help. Today we share a home with our almost twelve year old daughter, the ups and downs of life with one of us disabled and the other in a career that keeps them away from home for long hours and at inconvenient times. I love my husband. He is a man who strives to please God and who takes his relationship with God very seriously. He is my desire. He is solid and dependable and kind. I can think of nothing that I’ve ever asked of, or from him, that he hasn’t moved mountains to provide. Whenever I am in the hospital he moves in right along beside me, taking care of me, holding my hand and in the time his job takes him away as anxious to return to me as I am to have him return. This man has even learned to wash my hair using five gallon buckets or trash cans (clean of course) and trash can liners to prevent spills while I lay with my head hanging off the edge of the bed. Even between the time we have called 9-1-1 and the time they arrived.

The only times my mind ever wanders back to the men I dated before my husband are if someone else brings them up or my daughter mentions something that reminds me of a lesson I learned the hard way that I hope she hears to save herself the heartache. There is no one I’d like to “catch up with” or talk to again. Except Mitch.

Mitch and I dated, hung out, and drove one another crazy during our college days. He was initially a friend of my brothers and normally my brother’s dislike of us sharing friends would have been enough to keep me away from being Mitch’s friend but this time was different. I really liked Mitch. He and I clicked.

Mitch was Christian, cute and kind, serious and funny, reserved, quiet, shy, and introvert for the most part and could play the piano like nobody’s business! Boy could he make those ebony and ivory keys dance. My best memories of us are of me just sitting near him while he rehearsed or he just played for the love of playing. He didn’t mind when I sang along and he didn’t hesitate to follow me when my mood took the music and notes into other styles than what they were written.

Music was Mitch’s dream then and he wanted to go to a private college near the town my brother and I grew up in and he got his start on his dream. When he was accepted there as a student we helped him move into his housing assignment. I knew I was going to miss Mitch like crazy but I also knew I’d get to see him if he went to college so close to my home. I don’t think three weeks went by and classes were just really gearing up at both colleges when I looked up and there was Mitch. He was back!

We drove around in Mitch’s car to aught up. You would have thought he’d been gone a few years instead of just a few weeks by the amount of talking that went on. My brother had a thing about back seats and he still wasn’t happy about how close Mitch and I were, so he had claimed “shot gun”. For once I didn’t let it irritate me, I sat in the back behind Mitch and all through the drive Mitch would catch my eyes in the rearview mirror until it was too dark to see. I was just content to have him back. Finally we pulled up to all go our separate ways and my brother asked Mitch a question, “So, why did you really give it up?”

Mitch turned on the interior light, and waited until I met his eyes in the rearview mirror and said, “What I love is here.” And my heart stopped beating and the air left my lungs and then I’d never been that happy before. He came back for me!

That one night I expected a fairy tale ending. That one night I built castles in the air and wore rose colored glasses. But the fairy tale shattered.

Sadly Mitch and I just couldn’t make it. Not for lack of love but perhaps for a lack of the right kind of love. As perfect as Mitch was in my eyes he was waging a war within himself I couldn’t contend with, or compete with. My funny, cute, marvelous piano playing man was gay.

The music died, the spotlight flickered out and I was left alone on an empty stage before an empty audience. Not that I didn’t try to make being straight more appealing but some things are beyond our ability to influence. Frankly, Mitch and I drove one another crazy with an on again/off again friendship sort of more kind of relationship.

I tried to understand. My mind grasped the events that led Mitch down the path of homosexuality but my heart was shattered. Of all the people to do this to me it crushed me that it was Mitch! Mitch the guy who said he loved me in front of my brother! Mitch the man who could fill my heart and soul with music! Mitch the man who remembered everything I told him even down to that I wanted a gold chain when I graduated from college and bought me one like I’d never seen before, or seen again. Mitch who would grin knowingly when I’d date another guy! Perhaps I was too hurt but I think the main problem was I just didn’t understand.

Mitch and I lost touch. I moved to Virginia and once he called me and said he was thinking of moving up there to be near me. He didn’t call again.

Meanwhile I was dating other men. A few of whom would also make that confession that would start with, “Faye, I have to tell you something…” and I would see Mitch’s face and hear his voice.

I learned to be kinder. I learned to be more understanding and more forgiving. I learned to treasure these men’s friendships. I learned it was time to let them go when they would say, “Faye, if I were straight I’d marry you.” For they weren’t straight. And in my heart of hearts I knew if I wasn’t “woman enough” for Mitch to change I wasn’t for any of these friends either. Besides none of them were my cute, funny, kind, piano playing man Mitch and I didn’t love a single one of them.

After a few years I just stopped dating. I focused on the healing I needed from my own childhood burdens and battles. I told God when He was ready for me to get married He’d have to hit me upside the head with the man because I was through with dating. Shortly thereafter I met my husband to be.

In the last four or five years though I’ve wondered more about what became of Mitch. I would hear things now and then but nothing concrete, nothing certain. Then through all of the social media we have today I located him. We talked a couple times and typical Mitch, he dropped out of my life again. Recently we’ve talked a few times and the connection seems steadier yet only time will tell.

I don’t have a deep insight to Mitch’s life now. We’ve stuck to the current lives we’re living without diving into the past. Should we have a conversation that covers all the old ground all I would want to say to him is that I’m sorry. I’m sorry I wasn’t a better friend to him then. I’m sorry I never really understood his battle. I’m sorry for the hurt he’s had and the pain he’s carried. I’m sorry we haven’t been a part of one another’s lives. I’m sorry he gave up playing the piano.

Mitch has his own insights into not only our friendship/not a relationship but not just a friendship and of course into his sexuality. I hope one day he’ll share them with me. But in his time, not mine. I sent him this blog before posting it for his approval. So I break no promise of secrecy in sharing.

Meanwhile I will pray for him and remember there are numerous faces behind the word homosexuality and all the controversy. One of those faces is my friend, Mitch.

-Faye

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Wrong Words of Encouragement

These words are so often spoken when someone we know is going through a difficult time or a course of trying events, “Remember, God doesn’t give us more than we can bear.” I think we’re wrong about that.

Before you stop reading in a statement of disgust at my statement I offer you this challenge. Find the verse in the Bible where it says that. Where does it say “God doesn’t give us more than we can bear.”?

The thinking is flawed, though this “wisdom saying” has good intentions (And need I remind you of the wisdom saying, “the road to hell is paved with good intentions”?). People when in pain, physical, emotional, mental or spiritual crave comfort and we who are witness to their pain want to offer words of comfort, encouragement, inspiration. But there are some reasons we have to take a second look at a waving banner for encouragement that is incorrect.

One, God does not “give us” life’s troubles. We suffer in this life, as Jesus told us we would, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33 NIV) Life has trouble because life is flawed due to sin. When Adam and Eve sinned humanity gave up paradise and perfection until we come into God’s presence in Heaven after our physical death. Yes, God is in control but He does not force His will upon us. This world is corrupt but that corruption is due to Satan and humanity’s sins, Jesus is in the business of redeeming man. God does not bring us trouble. As in the case of Job, God allows trouble, but He doesn’t cause trouble.

Two, we suffer in this life because we sin and there are consequences to our actions even when forgiveness is given. Our own sins can bring us suffering, but so can the sins of other people. Regardless of what we’d like to believe none of us live without our lives impacting someone else. The unfaithful spouse causes suffering to their spouse and family. The wayward child causes suffering to his or her parents. The thief his victims. The drunk driver his own family and the family and actual victims of his accident.

Three, we have pain in this life because we love. We love our spouses, our children, our friends, our extended family and church family. Most of us share a sense of love for the mass of humanity around us, at least we share sympathy or empathy with those in life who suffer in natural disasters, terrorism, poverty, hunger and war. So when those we love suffer, we suffer too.

But we can offer very real and very Biblically accurate words of encouragement to those who suffer and even to ourselves.

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30)

“To keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassingly great revelations, there was given me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” (2 Corinthians 12:7-9)

“I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances…I can do everything through him who gives me strength.” (Philippians 4:11, 13)

“No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful, he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.” (1 Corinthians 10:13)

“He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed.” (1 Peter 2:24)

In times of sorrow and trouble we are right to offer hope, to offer comfort but let us offer them in truth.

-Faye

Rooting for the Cheat

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The Oxford American Dictionary defines passion as being:

  1. “strong and barely controllable emotion”
  2. “a state or outburst of such emotion”
  3. “intense sexual love”
  4. “an intense desire or enthusiasm for something”
  5. “a thing arousing enthusiasm”
  6. “(the Passion) the suffering and death of Jesus (a narrative of this from any of the Gospels or a musical setting of any of these narratives)”

One of the clichés’ often heard during motivational speeches, seminars, events, graduations is something like, “What is your passion?  That is your key to success!  Go do it!”  Nike had a successful ad campaign several years ago with the slogan, “Just do it!”®”.  Any competitive event from which a victor is proclaimed has someone attributing the success to the competitors’ passion.  A common characteristic for most of humanity is the natural instinct to be the best at something.  We want to win!  We want to win badly!  Why?  Because we have passion!  The one with the most passion wins!

Passion in some form or the other is the magical ingredient.  Skill, ability, talent are only a small part of winning a competition if we have passion!

The first four definitions of passion are about it being an emotion, a feeling.  The fifth about something (or someone) that creates a feeling or emotion so again, it’s about our motivation  which is often based on a feeling.  There’s nothing wrong or sinful about that as long as the emotion doesn’t lead you to do something sinful.  What about when your passion to win causes you to cheat?

Smiling BakerI am a fan of The Next Great Baker© and The Cake Boss© seen on TLC in the United States.  Both are supposed to be reality shows and both center on baking and cake decorating to the extreme.  The first features 12 contestants who compete to win the title of The Next Great Baker© and with that comes $100,000 and the opportunity to be employed by Carlos’ Bakery working for The Cake Boss©, among other prizes.  This season’s finale was aired last night.  Right up until the end I was questioning many things about this season’s shows.  Specifically my awareness of my own uncomfortable prick of conscience over of whether or not the two finalists and eventually the winner are contestants whose performances were greatly aided by cheating in one form or the other.  Were either truly worthy of the victory?

Gretel Ann needed the victory due to circumstances in her own bakery’s existence and her personal life.  The truth is that Gretel Ann’s skills were not as good as other contestants as shown by her sloppy work.   Besides Paul I don’t know of another contestant who needed the win more.  In time she has the potential to be great, I think.  It’s my opinion what stood in her way was her misguided passion to win by frankly, cheating.   I heard her expressing she justified actions such as turning up the oven temperatures so that her competitors bakery goods burned, hiding baking sheets so there were not enough to go around as simple good competition.  Earlier shows had us viewing her plotting to sabotage her own teams competing product by doing inferior work deliberately.  I don’t agree that her passion to win or for cake baking and decorating were keys to her success.  Her passionate strategy and actions certainly lacked good “sportsmanship”.  Most of all for me it screamed “I can’t win this because of my abilities, my skills, my passion to do my absolute best so I will win it by cheating.”

Ashley, the victor in last night’s show, is very skilled, very passionate and in my view, the possessor of a passion also misguided.  It wasn’t as much her method of winning as it was her lack of people skills.  She had no tolerance for a particular few contestants’ viewpoints, work or questions.  In particular one male contestant, Paul, and she were constantly at each other’s throats and Ashley risked her victory for one last opportunity to let Paul know how much she loathed him.  Yet the larger issue for Ashley’s victory was the appearance, from how TLC edited the footage we viewed, that Buddy (The Cake Boss©) favored Ashley above the other’s contestants.  For example during one challenge the contestants were blindfolded and told to ice, pipe a border on and create and place a rose on a small round cake.  Difficult if you can’t see!  Yet Buddy seemed to just stop short of telling Ashley what to do during the competition.

In all the competitor’s defense I don’t think the show truly represented anyone’s personality or “true self” because reality show orCake Decorated with Fresh Flowers not, it was filmed and edited by TLC to be what they wanted it to be.  Ratings were a huge consideration and the more drama TLC could make seem to be going on the better the numbers.  Sadly, the show is but a small and clear example of what America’s seems to want in their hero’s.  Win at all cost.  Win for the sake of winning and don’t worry about the causalities left behind you.

??????????Clearly it’s a competition. This means someone wins, someone loses.  I got that.  I just don’t feel comfortable watching someone win by unfair means.  By adding to TLC’s success with the show am I not agreeing with the message of the programs?  In my heart Gretel Ann’s sabotages were cheating.  Ashley’s lack of self-control and seemingly being favored by the main contests judge were unsportsmanlike behavior and also cheating.

In the Scriptures of the New Testament in John 2:13-17 Jesus responded with passion, with righteous anger because men were selling inferior animals for sacrifice in the temple courtyards and he overturned their tables, driving the men out with a whip.  He did not sin in his anger.

As a believer I struggle with my passion on this subject of competition and passions that arise due to it.  I think that the adage, “all things in moderation” adeptly applies.  Competition, regards of the event, isn’t evil – mankind’s inability to temper their wish to win or for their favored team to win while expecting fair behavior from everyone is where the potential for evil exists.

For myself, I am torn between the enjoyment I have in the creative process and methods of achieving the construction of cakesChildren looking at birthday cake that are masterpieces of art and in watching others strive to be a part of that with the awareness that the shows have entered that arena of passion gone awry.  Do I continue to watch or do I hand the remote over to my husband?

Sadder still, am I more distracted by pondering misguided passion in a TV reality show than in being passionate about Jesus Christ?  Shouldn’t the sixth definition for passion be far more important to me than whether or not the winner of a television program contest deserved the victory or not?  Wow, I just condemned myself.

-Faye

The Passions

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Misguided Passion tore the goal post down,

God’s Passion sowed the seed,

Obsessed Passion stalked the movie star,

Loving Passion took the Gospel overseas.

 

Misguided Passion pulled the trigger,

God’s Passion achieved the dream,

Obsessed Passion collected knives and guns,

Loving Passion followed the Disciples Creed.

 

Misguided Passion turned to hatred,

God’s Passion moved in love,

Obsessed Passion took another’s life,

Loving Passion calls on God above.

 

Misguided Passion used for evil,

God’s Passion discernly ruled,

Obsessed Passion  runs amuck

Loving Passion is carefully schooled.

 

Misguided Passion in the Devil’s hand

God’s Passion of His heart,

Obsessed Passion spoiled by evil,

Loving Passion from God embarked.

 

Misguided Passion robs and corrupts

God’s Passion restores and forgives,

Obsessed Passion steals a man’s soul,

Loving Passion invites the soul to live.

 

Misguided Passion bids the earthly win

God’s Passion points to Him,

Obsessed Passion ruins a heart,

Loving Passion forgives our sin.

 

Which Passion will you choose today?

Which Passion will you take?

Which Passion is read in your life?

Which Passion is given for your sake?