by Becky Mackintosh
A flood of questions raced through my head as I read my son’s words, “I’m gay”. What did I do wrong? What could I have done differently? Who did this to him? How can I fix him? What will others think?
That very first night as I sat with my son on the couch and listened, really listened, trying to make sense of what I was hearing, I felt his pain, his sorrow and his hope for a better tomorrow. I told him I loved him and that my love would never change. I shared what I thought were words of comfort and hope, not realizing they were really daggers in my son’s heart. They were things he already knew – he’d heard them a hundred times growing up – this night he needed me to listen and to love him the same as I did yesterday.
I wish I could say it was easy and natural for me to just listen and love, but it took awhile to figure those two things out. I thought I was listening and I thought I was loving, but as time went on I learned I could do better, much better. I am grateful for my patient son. He cried a lot and I didn’t know why. I was telling him I loved him, so why the tears?
Recently, I came across an email that I sent my son early on in our journey, it was filled with scriptures and quotes from church leaders that I was certain would bring him comfort and help him get back on track. This time I read the words with new eyes and a new perspective.
Now, I understood his tears.
I was focused on fixing my son verses loving him. When I changed my focus to loving him, REALLY loving him, mingled with lots of listening, REALLY listening, things changed. Our relationship improved. The tears stopped.
What I learned from my son…
As I reflect back on my journey the last four years, I can see the many things God taught me through my son. He answered my prayers the only way a loving Heavenly Father could do. As I turned to Him for understanding, guidance and answers, He gave me more to learn and more reasons to lean on him and to trust him. He stretched my faith in ways I never thought possible or thought I needed. He taught me what it really means to have compassion, empathy, charity and love unfeigned. He taught me that if I focused on the positive and approached difficult situations – every situation – from a place of love I would see beauty and wonder instead of disaster.
Love is the answer – love is also the question.
No one is perfect, but we can be perfect at trying to be perfectly kind, perfectly loving – and always responding from a place of love. As I have opened my heart and arms wider than I ever thought possible – my heart has grown a hundred fold.
Love – is – a – choice. It is the choice.