…the parched land shall become a pool, and the thirsty lands springs of water…(Isaiah 35:7)

And They Said It Wouldn’t Last

Yet, It Has

By Rex Goode

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I’ve been thinking long and hard since the announcement by Josh Weed that he and his wife, Lolly, are divorcing. Generally, I don’t like at all to post something that amounts to a rebuttal of someone else’s blog. In fact, since I barely know the Weeds, having only met them once in person and not being a regular follower of his blog, I can hardly claim to know enough about their life and decisions to say anything about it.

At most, I find myself wishing he would clarify one solitary statement in his announcement that appears to me to be an unfair generalization that says that his experience should be everyone’s experience. I hope he didn’t mean it that way, but regarding marriage, here is what he said: “Gay people and straight people cannot attach to one another.

While I can’t claim to know enough about what internal struggles have brought the Weeds to this decision, surely he can’t claim to know enough about my internal struggles that lead me to see my life differently than he sees his.

Many of the rebuttals I have read seek to describe what it means to be gay, to reveal how it feels, how it permeates all parts of a personality, and how deeply rooted it is. All of those descriptions seem inadequate to me, and I think all of their authors would agree. No matter how one might try to lay it out in the written word, it will seem unfinished.

Compared to one another, all of those descriptions will also feel quite different. If nothing else is, being gay is entirely personal. As inadequate as it may be for any of us to lay it out for others when writing about ourselves, it is impossible to lay it out when writing about someone else. Because of that, I am always hesitant to claim to know why another person makes the choices they do in relation to what is commonly called one’s sexual orientation.

If you sense that I take great care when it comes to definitions, it is not a coincidence. Terms like sexual orientation, gay, straight, and same-sex attracted are socio-political constructs that seek to simplify what I view to be something for too complex to deserve simplification and relegation to categories or camps.

I can’t call myself gay without worrying a lot of people and I can’t call myself same-sex attracted without offending a lot of other people. That is why I say that the terminology is political. It polarizes people and turns those who should be friends into foes. It creates fear in both directions and judgment from both directions.

Nevertheless, we communicate with language, so we have to have words. I don’t mind being called gay and I don’t mind being called same-sex attraction. Believe me, people who know me know that the only thing I don’t like to be called is late for dinner. Just know that whichever word I use, I use it in capitulation to the inadequacy of language to share my soul.

In a roundabout way, I’m trying to say that I could accept the statement by Josh Weed as being true insofar as he defines “gay” to be a certain thing, but I can’t accept it as a blanket statement that applies to everyone who might rightly claim to be gay, or even that those of us who haven’t discovered it for ourselves are just deluded.

I’m not going to try to spell out why you should let me claim to be gay. I’m not going to plumb my depths and tell you why I fit most of the markers or how firmly sewn it is into the fabric of my psyche. You wouldn’t get it anyway. Not only that, ask me tomorrow and I might give you a different reason.

Just know that I’m gay, if that’s a word you use in that context. Know also that it is not going away. I’m not even trying to make it go away. It would be a futile effort.

One thing I’ve heard people say about themselves is that gay is so much who they are that no other trait is as basic as it is. I won’t go that far. There are a lot of things about myself that I consider to be as fundamental to my makeup as my sexual orientation. Some of these things are innate and some are acquired.

Someone is likely to say that acquired traits aren’t as strong as innate traits. I heartily disagree. Some things I’ve worked for are so deeply ingrained now that it would be impossible to shed them. I’ll be that way until I die.

Other things going beyond death. For example, at the very core of my identity is one thing that is so important to me, so unalterable, that it will last for the rest of this life and into eternity. I am solidly and permanently and eternally Barbara’s husband.

That’s not a mere statement of commitment. It’s a description of a weave in the fabric of my being that can’t be plucked out or unraveled, not even by death. It affects every decision, every yearning, and every hope. It has withstood pressures that no one but Barbara and I could ever have weathered together. It is the fulfillment of a divine revelation that we both received together and it would equal denying the Holy Ghost if I ever said it didn’t happen.

It is what I fought for at my own Peniel, as every son of Israel must. It is what I suffered for in my own Gethsemane. It is what the Lord gave me in his infinite kindness, a grace I didn’t earn and a blessing that I wasn’t owed.

Let others feel as they may about what is possible or not possible. It has been 40 years…and they said it wouldn’t last. Some say that it couldn’t possibly last. They’re wrong.

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