Thursday, August 10, 2006

I'm Tired....Read This Email

Today was my first official day back to school. The kids don't start until next Tuesday but I'm wiped OUT! ha! Because of my wiped-out-ed-ness along with a little computer problem which is a story unto itself that I won't share now (my laptop is on the fritz so I'm having to use the one the boys use...and run them off of it to use it)....I'm going to share an email for a post today.

Someone unknown to me sent me this article, "When the Beard Is Too Painful to Remove", from the NY Times and wanted me to give them my opinion of it. Specifically, they wanted to know if I thought it was accurate and fair. And so, I'll share my response to them with you and then my post will be done for today! It's a win, win. Even if you don't read the article, this reply will probably make sense to you.


Dear XXX,

I assume it's accurate, for fair....well, there's not much "fair" about anything that's as messy as this stuff in life. I know you are talking about an article and wondering whether or not I perceive it to be fair....but, the reality is, that my own bias predicts not only my attitude about it's being fair but the attitude of the person who wrote it. I don't think much of journalism is actually "fair"....but I've come to expect that about it. If I wrote a similar article, it could be highly accurate, and more or less fair, because I'd be writing it. Does that make sense?

These situations are so removed from the one my husband and I share that it's almost like comparing apples to oranges. The biggest difference is the worldview. My husband and I share a worldview that is defined by shared religious beliefs. We have managed, only because of those shared beliefs, to rebuild a relationship of trust.

This article doesn't describe anything like that, but I assume it's accurate in describing what is going on in these situations. I do agree, and told my husband this from the beginning, that if a husband wants to seek same sex relationships, at any level that is sexual, he needs to divorce the wife and move on. In one of the stories in the article the man described his wife as his best friend and then it went on to say that he had relations with men that he'd kept secret from her. His definition of a best friend is very different, apparently, from mine or my husband's.

Does this response even begin to answer your questions about my opinion? I don't really have anything bad to say about these folks....they are big people and can decide for themselves what works best for them. The sort of thing described in these articles wouldn't work for us at all.


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Steve Boese said...

Hey Grace...

I'm in pretty crazy-busy mode, so I saw the article, but didn't try to read it.

I recognize the origin of the 'beard' concept/stereotype, and I find it patently offensive to characterize one of the folks in a mixed-orientation marriage (or whatever one chooses to call it) that way. It doesn't give any sort of reasonable credit or respect to those folks.

...there's not much "fair" about anything that's as messy as this stuff in life.


After I came out, I had an amazing opportunity to talk to a guy who I'd already known and respected for more than a decade. We had attended the same church, known each other's families, participated in some of the same worship and outreach. What I hadn't known was that, in the same timeframe when I knew he was getting treatment for alcoholism, they were also facing up to the fact that he had been acting out sexually with men.

He was a wonderful and engaging guy, as wildly expressive (flamboyant, if you wish) as any gay stereotype you can imagine. Silly. Giggly. Using the hands/wrists to gesture with a dramatically-timed flourish.

But, more than that, they were one of the sweetest, most engaging couples I'd ever met. The silly, giggly stuff happened during church coffee hours where they were seldom separated by much. They finished each other's sentences, laughed at punch lines and were attentive to stories that other couples would have dismissed from their spouses as old and tired. They had survived trials and tribulations from their mixed family, cancer, addiction, and completely renovating and decorating a 120-y/o house.

They were like you and Tdub in that they shared a common worldview about sexual orientation, but theirs happened to be affirming of openly gay and lesbian folk as their peers in church and as ordained leaders at church. Her response to learning about his infidelity mirrored your response to Tdub:

I [...] told my husband this from the beginning, that if a husband wants to seek same sex relationships, at any level that is sexual, he needs to divorce the wife and move on.

I can't pretend to completely understand what my friends had gone through, or what you and Tdub are going through. But I completely understand some of the motivation. And I get that the most important stuff between two people in a relationship -- the stuff that defines them, inspires them, connects them, grounds them -- is often a mystery and a miracle that isn't well-suited to rational dissection.

It's simply true that my friends' marriage is a gift. Same goes for yours. Beautiful, incredible stuff. I'm happy to trust and celebrate the truth of that, in large part because it's none of my business what the exact nature of the magical, mystical, intimate stuff is that makes you who you are.

Andrew said...

Your husband cheating with another man is still cheating, plain and simple. I agree with your response.

To Love, Honor and Dismay

Jay said...

Wow, Grace. I'm truly inspired by your ability to respond to stuff so, well, honestly. It always seems to be right-on-the-money with what I (and apparently a lot of other people) feel but aren't always able to put into words.

Even though marriage for me is a long ways off, I still worry about it a lot. I mean, I'm not foolish enough to think that my SSA will go away as soon as I have a wife, or that I'll be as attracted to my wife as I've been to men in the past (though I'm really praying that I am). I'm definitely not going to go in without her in the know, even if that means a strained relationship at first.

Oh, listen to me ramble. I'm 18 for crying out loud! Sheesh.


p.s. Anyone here who hasn't checked out my new blog, do so! :)

grace said...

Steve: Wow. Thanks. I needed to hear that. I believe it is the mystery, nuance, and even adventure of the Christian walk that gets left out by traditional Westernized Christianity (read fundy religious right ha!)....and it is in this are where TDub and I find springboards to further growth and continued nourisment to persevere.

Jay: You're so cute! I'm a wanna-be hippie, which may explain some of my thought processes...that, and the fact that I'm a public school teacher. Can hippies shop at Ann Taylor Loft and still be hippies??? :) No, wait, I'm a teacher, I can't afford to shop Ann Taylor in the first place. *darn*

Andrew: Thanks for visiting and commenting! Your blog sounds intriguing and I will check it out later when I have some time. Off to school for me this morning!

love to all,

Anonymous said...

I think you should blog about how your laptop is on the fritz. -Tin Man