My Best Friend Michael
I've been meaning to talk about my best friend Michael for a while. I met my best friend Michael in September 1992. We were going out as a group from the LDS church to see "A League Of Their Own." I remember the first time I saw him, I was getting in the car (he was picking me up), and when I laid eyes on him, I feel instantly in crazy mad crush for him. He was so good looking I lost the ability to speak for about 15 seconds. With the LDS Singles Group politics, it was already "decided" that he and Marie were going to date, even though I was stupid gaga over him. And he and Marie did date a couple of times, and he also dated a few other girls, and we never went out despite the fact I was pretty much ready to marry him at that point.
In January 1993, I found out that Michael had "come out of the closet." He was seriously gay. And I became the connsummate Fag Hag. After many years of having an attitude of "I know he's gay, but I love him anyway" and many years of him being a bit of a jerk, we ended up settling into a very close and very special friendship.
We've been extremely close for many years. Now, he and I don't necessarily speak every day, or even every week. But when we need something, we're there for each other. For example, he didn't even hesitate when I asked him to sign my Free To Marry letter so that I could get convalidated. He just cancelled his chiropractic appointment and showed up at the Catholic church for me. He was the Man of Honor at my wedding to Dan, and I plan on being the Matron of Honor at his committment ceremony in May of this year. He's been with his partner, Michael, only one month less than I've been with Dan - so basically about five years or so.
Now, here's the problem ... the Catholic church says that being gay is a sin. And a pretty serious one at that. I can understand that on many levels. One of the main purposes of marriage is to have babies, and gay men cannot have babies together. It's biologically impossible. But on the other hand, I don't think being gay is a choice. It's kind of like telling a person that they can only have Vanilla ice cream when all they really want is Chocolate. What if a person was born liking Chocolate ice cream?
Now, I know we all have our crosses to bear. I know that we all have sins we're easily tempted by. I have many sins I'm tempted by on a constistant and regular basis. I'll use the sin of gluttony. When does food go past being nourishment and go to being gluttony? When does my enjoyment of a burger go from eating to gluttony? What if I eat a small burger, but really, really enjoy the pleasure of eating food? Is that gluttony? Is it not?
Now, gluttony is quite different from homosexuality. But I can totally understand where a homosexual could definitely see their desires as their only choice. If you only like ketchup on your hamburgers, but the only kind of hamburgers offered are with Mayonaise, which grosses you out, what do you do? Do you eat the burger with the ketchup anyway or do you forego hamburgers alltogether? Or do you eat a mayonaise burger and gag on it while wishing for a ketchup burger?
It's such a hard decision. And it's not mine to make for anyone else what "sins" they choose to participate in or choose to refrain from. It's also not my place to judge a person on their sins as I hope not to be judged on mine. This one sounds easy, but I know for a fact that every day someone makes a judgement on me because I am overweight due to my many different times of participating in the sin of gluttony. And it's hard to accept those judgements, but it's also the consequence of my sin.
Here's where it gets tricky for me. I am close friends with someoen whose lifestyle is considered a very gross sin by the Catholic church. I am in no way in a place to preach to Michael that his lifestyle is sinful and condemned by God. I'm not even sure totally how I feel about his sin. I know the Catholic church considers being gay a sin, and I know there are tons of benefits of not being gay (such as having a much better chance of having a biological child with your partner of choice and having the ability to get legally married), but on the other hand, I do truly believe that God made Michael gay. That is his cross to bear.
So am I in sin for being friends with him? I know I'm in sin when I go to his committment ceremony and stand there as witness to his committment to another man for the rest of their lives. I'll definitely have to repent for that. Am I in sin if I don't call him to repentance?
It's something I've been struggling with since I first started to think about becoming Catholic. I'm not giving up the friendship and giving up the best friend I've ever had in my life other than my husband. Michael means too much to me. I know in my heart of hearts that I'm not going to call him to repentance for being Gay. It's not my place. I hope that God understands my need to be with this friend in love and in friendship. I hope to minister to him through my example.
Anyway, I didn't expect to come to any conclusions with this post, I just wanted to think things through a bit, that's all.