Sometimes when I am talking to people who deal with attractions to the same gender, they will ask me what their chances are: chances to be happy in the Church, chances to be able to have a happy and successful heterosexual marriage. I used to ask those questions. I wasn’t really interested in statistics, though. My question really wasn’t about other people, but I wanted a prediction, an assurance about my future self: could I make it?
Statistics, of course, cannot answer that question. The number of people who made it to the moon before Neil Armstrong: 0. The number of people who climbed Mount Everest before Edmund Hilary: 0. Despite those long odds, the effort to get there was still worth it. I honestly don’t know what the odds are with this challenge. I was recently re-reading a book that had a wonderful answer to this question, however. It’s a mother speaking to her daughter:
No one ever said that you would live to see the repercussions of everything you do, or that you have guarantees, or that you are not obliged to wander in the dark, or that everything will be proved to you and neatly verified like something in science. Nothing is: at least nothing that is worthwhile. I didn’t bring you up only to move across sure ground. I didn’t teach you to think that everything must be within our control or understanding. Did I? For if I did, I was wrong. If you won’t take a chance, then the powers you refuse because you cannot explain them, will, as they say, make a monkey out of you.
(From Winter’s Tale by Mark Helprin, page 597.)