Thursday, July 10, 2008

Apology

A bit of a drama has unfolded over at Tdub's blog. That actually makes it sound a lot easier than it is. It feels more like a bunch of us have this massive wad of stewing gunk in our stomach and it's finally starting to belch it's way forth. Sorry for the graphics, but that's how it feels.

And I, in my "gracefulness" have made an idiot of myself by calling out a brother in public for an offense that should have been dealt with privately if I were going to deal with it at all. In which case, the brother is exactly right, "a blog is not a good place to heal."

So, JB, I'm sorry. And I don't mean just a little bit. I mean that I'm crying as I think about it and I feel sick inside for not extending to you at least the same length of grace that's so graciously been extended to me. I screwed up. Big time. I'm sorry.

And maybe I don't really think it SHOULD take longer for the rest of you to heal than it has for me, but you know what, it's not my place to lawd over you guys, "hey, look at me, I'm all cool with Todd...what the heck is wrong with you people?" That's just silly and wrong. The root of the issue I have with all of it comes down to the boys. One of the reasons I had to "get with the program" so to speak was for them. I love Zach and Hayden and I love their dad if for no other reason than because I love them. And I was just hoping that a few more than what have seemed to have done that could belly up that wad of gunk in their stomach and take one for those boys the way I have. But you know what....it's okay. It is.

This is all very tough for ALL of us. And yeah...it's particularly difficult for me to see other people JUST NOW beginning to deal with this stuff and only because Todd is becoming public with his story. And I hope and pray that people aren't just being defensive when they go over there and read his stuff....thinking he's going to start bashing the church that picked him up from the BASEMENT of life many times over during the course of just the years I was married to him.

One of our young friends, a different Ashley than the one involved in the little blog drama, suggested to me privately that it may have been better if Todd had remained anonymous until he sort of had his "blog legs". And when I first read that suggestion I was like "what? That only reaffirms the very issues he's having right now. He shouldn't HAVE to be anonymous, he should tell his story and they should just be able to finally LISTEN to what the guy has to say." And then I realized, about the same time I realized what a jerk I'd been to JB, DUH, PAM, you were anonymous for a long time and didn't even tell Todd about your blog at all until you'd written enough copy to give him a picture of what you were all about with the thing. I was really worried that he'd think I was going to write a "let's b*tch, moan, and whine" sort of blog about being married to an SSA struggler. So, again, I'm wrong because I'm listening with something other than my ears of grace. I'm listening with those ears that tend to form knee-jerk reactions to things and that also tend to get me into all sorts of trouble where I end up needing to make public apologies.

At this point, I believe Todd (weird to write his actual name here) should move forward with the blog as is. He's probably going to say some things that will make "the church" cringe, but it's not because he's set up some sort of vendetta over there. Not at all. The guy is just trying to work through this stuff. Just like I did.

And....not only do I apologize to JB, I promise from here on out not to go over there like some rabid mama bear and lay into any of you who decide to comment. I promise. After all, it is HIS blog and not my place to really get into it.

And Todd. I'm so proud of you for coming "out" again. I promise you'll be better for it. Because even though a blog really may not be the absolute best place to heal....it's what we've got. And I'm proud of you for taking the talents God has given you and using them to help yourself and others. Blog on, brother.

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18 comments:

seithman said...

I imagine this had to be a hard post to write. I'm glad you did, though.

I'm also glad to see the drama might be sorting itself out. I've been struggling with whether or not to put in my two cents during it all.

-- Jarred.

dahatle said...

Pam,

I'm glad you wrote this too. I know it has been difficult at times for me to read some of what you write because it seems you are oblivious to the feelings of others who do not agree with you. Your words and thoughts have been negligent at times and very hurtful to people like me and others. Lots of feelings from lots of people are always involved when they have been affected by homosexuality - it has been interesting to watch how you have dealt with it, almost like if you believe strongly enough that no one else can modify their homosexuality to either stay in a marriage or begin one, then that will justify what happened in your marriage. If you believe strongly enought that no one can do it, that all gay people can never be any different, then that will explain Todd's decision and pain. Well, not everyone is like Todd. Some choose integrity over desire or at the very least choose not to celebrate a decision that has hurt and continues to hurt so many. If your story turned out different, would you feel the same about defending homosexuality as you do now? That is something to keep in mind when responding to others - they might have a different story and deserve a more thoughtful response from you. How many hearts did Todd have to break into pieces to make himself whole? Are you still picking up the pieces for your family? You were willing to extend yourself to him regardless of his response to you in order to keep your family together until the boys were on there own. That was completely unselfish and loving. I am not going to say anymore about what he did and how many it affected so many and obviously still continues to for fear that you will jump all over me in defense of him and homosexuality. I do wish, however, that his blog was not promoted as a way for him to heal. As far as I can tell, he has gotten what he wanted - very much at the expense of others. I wish he would be just quietly grateful and happy with that and not continue to show us how whole he is now while others are still in pieces on the floor.

grace said...

dhatle,

I apologize for hurting you and seeming oblivious. I do communicate at times with others and have one very dear friend who I speak with almost weekly who struggles to modify his homosexuality as you put it. All I can do is apologize for hurting you. That's certainly not been my intent. And maybe you can find a quote where I say that homosexuality can't be modified to stay in a marriage, but I'm not sure where that would be. I do believe that there are modifications that can be made to stay in marriage and I was willing to stick it out and make those in my own life so that our marriage could stay together. Todd, obviously, was not. There's no justification for what Todd did. None. But there is forgiveness and I offer it to him and others like him.

In his own way, Todd chose integrity over desire as well...just in the opposite fashion that your husband is choosing it. And I want you marriage and the marriage of others in your shoes to stay together, not disentigrate.

I hope you don't perceive this as me jumping on you. I don't intend it that way. I'm just responding.

I've been defending gay folks for a lot longer than I've been divorced from Todd. So, no, I don't think it would be any different if we'd kept it together.

His blog just is what it is. I've admitted openly that it may very well not be the best place for healing.

Again, if you feel jumped on by this response...I'm truly and sincerely sorry.

And I'm sorry for hurting you the way that I apparently have.

seithman said...

I wish he would be just quietly grateful and happy with that and not continue to show us how whole he is now while others are still in pieces on the floor.

While I respect and sympathize with your pain, dahatle, I find the above notion rather selfish.

dahatle said...

Thank you Pam for your response.

Just to clarify - I am not married nor have I ever been married to someone who struggles with homosexuality.

I agree that there is no justification for what Todd did and I also agree with you about forgiveness.

Curlz said...

Good to hear your heart Pam. The beauty of you is you...the real you ~ the grace, the pain, the wit, the charm, the hurt, the hope, the humility, the love, the fun, the sadness. You are human and you are loved & appreciated.
Nuff sed ~ Curlz

Robert said...

Hi Pam,

When I pop my head in, it seems there is some real action going on in your blog!

Even though I come from a different perspective, some of what Dahatle said I can relate to. Before Todd left, I had an image of someone who was essentially bisexual, who had gone through a marriage and had kids, and was now married happily for a second time, but who also had a side where he could experience strong sexual desires for men. When I heard that your marriage was over, my initial reaction was "Is he gay or is he straight --Can't Tdub make up his frigging mind?"

In reality though, Todd is the only one who can understand Todd. I cannot fully relate to Todd's experiences, because they are not my own. I do believe that it is important to value and support heterosexual couples where one or both partners is same-sex attracted, just as much as we should value and support a homosexual couple where one or both partners had experienced attractions for the opposite sex. One may not understand the choices people make in their lives, but one can continue to love and respect them nonetheless.

-- sending lots of love yours and Todd's way --

Robert

dahatle said...

Pam,

I appreciate you allowing me to post what I did and promise I will not dwell on something that is so personal to you and your family.

Another clarification - I asked you if you would feel differently about homosexuality, not those who are, if your story turned out any different. I know it sounds petty but I feel there is a difference, and an important one, between homosexuality and those who are gay. I fiercely defend my friends and acquaintainces who are gay, however, I do not defend homosexuality.

t-dub said...

dhatle: i don’t know if you’re someone we know or don’t know. (i get the feeling you know us.) but regardless, i can’t let this go without addressing it. (and be aware, I’m not as graceful as she is…)

1. Grace’s words negligent and hurtful to people like you and others? Oblivious to others' feelings? you have to be kidding me. this blog is about her and her life and her thoughts and her walk.

and you know what? while she had some harsh words for JB, those things needed to be said. not her typical M.O.? yeah. maybe should have been said in private? (probably, but maybe not so much.) but i tell ya, she remains true to her moniker, without a doubt. maybe her words just hit people as "truth" that "sometimes hurts." hmmm.

but anyway, i don’t think anyone is twisting your arm to read along.

2. as far as justification—all things considered, my first wife should have never left me and my sons. grace's first husband should have treated her right. i should not have married Grace if i couldn’t do so without knowing 100% i would be able to see it through. but life happens. and honestly, there was no justification for staying any longer. i simply could not do it. (she gets why that was choosing integrity over continued deceit.)
our understanding of God’s purpose and ability to make all things good convince us that at the very least, good can come from even the worst of situations and misguided intentions.
you, having absolutely no understanding of what is in my mind and heart plus my life experiences, have really no place to be telling any of us what to do in this situation.

3. thanks for your heart-felt concern: all-in-all we have “picked up the pieces” of our family, by the grace of God, quite nicely for the past 20 years. at the very least, our boys know what love and grace look like.

4. grace is the most unselfish person i know…her relationship with me is proof of that. her patience and tolerance for unloving people and their words astound me to this day. and that includes her gracious reply to your comment.

5. yes, my decision did affect so many. i suppose (and will blog about this in the future) i should have just pretended my feelings didn’t exist and that i believed in the loyalty of the men who were supposedly trying to help me and of people who only loved me if I was a certain way, and the therapist who was trying to heal me while he abused other clients, huh? such behavior must seem justifiable to you, huh? that i should live according to everyone else's expectations of me. right. that's fair.

6. i never ONCE promoted my blog as a place to heal; as i wrote though: if it happens for me along the way, great. (obviously judging by my reaction to your comment, i still need to.) but if my blogging can help one other person who feels like or has been treated like i have or who struggles with what I have struggled with…or if it helps one person gain an ounce of empathy for a class of people oft-treated like the scourge of the world (you know, the people Jesus associated with), then the existence of my blog is worth it.
again, if it’s offensive to you, please don’t read it.
i tell you one thing, though, i'm really sick and tired—and i've only been blogging for 2 weeks—of hearing people complain about how hurt they are when they never bother to consider (or care?) how the person they have been so wounded by must have hurt his/her entire life! what nerve, gall, and insensitivity! [unless they have paused to consider the hurt the other person must have felt and still continue to complain about their own hurt. that's even worse and probably a lot more likely.]

7. although i am at peace with this particular facet of my identity, i havent' done it to "get what i wanted” at the expense of others and certainly am not writing to "celebrate." how totally insensitive and ignorant of you! come on here and indict me (and grace) for decisions and at costs you couldn’t possibly even grasp. i am simply living as who i am. [finally.] finally at peace with God for who He created me as. and writing about the process. the grace i have received. the blessings i experience. and the things i still struggle with.

i truly hope that you will be able to glean some of the compassion that so freely exudes from the heart of the woman who writes this blog.

tdub

t-dub said...

now, much delayed...a response to the original post:

as far as remaining anonymous, i kinda was trying to continue with the whole t-dub thing. that was my preference at least. i guess people who knew us over here on this blog would know and those who didn't would just find the blog and not worry about who it was.

but...in the interest of authenticity, i guess i'll be ok with our names being on there (i think Jarred started it by calling me by name first...). and to an extent, i guess i can be open to others' opinions (well, i try...really, i do...try...) ...anonymous, public whatever. but does that really matter??? we've started a dialogue. period. one that obviously has a lot of opinion and emotion attached....but it's out there for the WWWorld to read...daresay that the world needs to read? (dang where is my copy of that Gay Agenda??!! LOL)

thanks, grace, for being DEFENSIVE lol. it's nice of you and others (seithman, curlz, robert) to exhibit your compassion and own authenticity publicly. mama bear or not.


you know...as far as being proud of me: i know i will [eventually] come to be thankful for your encouragement to do this blog, because you're right: it's what we've got.

so.....see ya on the blogosphere.

and sorry about the hornets nest i've inadvertently helped stir up over here at willful grace. paybacks? :)

tdub

seithman said...

i think Jarred started it by calling me by name first...)

Erm, I didn't know your name until I read it on your blog, T-Dub. So it couldn't have been me.

-- Jarred.

dahatle said...

T-dub,

Thank you for your thoughts. My post was a personal one to Pam and it was about what she writes and how it has affected me and others I know. I appreciated her response and have promised her I will not write any more about it.

I cannot answer your post to me - I don't even know how to - you have once again taken someone else's feelings and turned them around to accommodate your own.

I cannot fully understand you as I am not you - however, please do not underestimate my knowledge of or understanding of homosexuality and the pain it can cause directly or indirectly.

The greatest blessing any of us can feel is peace. I will always be hoping this is what you and your family feels.

t-dub said...

I cannot answer your post to me - I don't even know how to - you have once again taken someone else's feelings and turned them around to accommodate your own.

gee, it seems like that's what YOU were doing with your post in the first place.
i'm not even sure what you mean by ME using YOUR feelings to accommodate MY feelings as i was doing nothing of the sort. rather, i was commenting how your comments made me feel and taking up for grace. she posts how she feels. you comment how that makes you feel. i post how that makes me feel.

did i miss something in my blogging 101 class? is this not ok?


I cannot fully understand you as I am not you - however, please do not underestimate my knowledge of or understanding of homosexuality and the pain it can cause directly or indirectly.

funny you say that because your words and the attitude you convey implied that you knew so much about my motivations, our relationship, and our lives. i really am sorry you have experienced pain directly or indirectly (especially if i was involved in it). would that we could all live without causing more of it, huh? (ole Jabez had the right idea...)

The greatest blessing any of us can feel is peace. I will always be hoping this is what you and your family feels.

thank you.

t-dub said...

sorry jarred...i thot it was you...the "culprit" was actually SUZANNE lol ...

i really wasn't upset about it...just trying to be humorous and so often i fail at that! ;)

Iain said...

I wonder if I could offer a few comments as someone who is detached from the situation? I hope very much I don't offend anyone.

It seems to me that talking about feelings is a most important thing to do - but it works best when the person listening is someone who is not personally involved in the situation, and nursing hurt feelings themselves.

A lot of the discussion on here is from people who are all hurting in their own way - everyone's pain is unique to themselves.

At such times, things can get overheated, and if you're hurting already, it's easy and understandable to react immediately on the basis of your hurt feelings. And some of the things said (I won't single anyone out), have come across as rather judgemental. (And I don't pretend to be any better in this myself - when I'm hurt, I also lash out and get into playing all sorts of manipulative tricks!)

I'm so sorry for the pain you're all working through, and the grief you all feel in your different ways. I pray that God will deal with the hurt each of you feels at the moment and that his peace will reign over the situation.

grace said...

dhatle,
You'll have to give me more to go on about the homosexuality vs. gay thing. Guess I'm dense. I truly don't get it.

I also think it would help us all if we're going to be able to really have any productive discussion if you would be a bit more specific about how homosexuality has hurt you. It's really difficult when you know all of our "dirt" so to speak and you make judgements (not in a bad way...you are just able to make up your mind about what we say with a pretty clear picture) about us and yet we just get these vague statements from you and are supposed to accept it at face value. I'm typing this with true interest in dialogue...I hope and pray you don't feel jumped on. At some point, we've ALL (myself included) got to get our hearts off our sleeves and just be able to talk about this stuff...come what may.

Which I think is the point Iian is getting and I appreciate his input greatly. Thanks Iian. And thank you, dahatle, for hanging around for a second and third comment. I really do appreciate it. If we don't talk and hash through this stuff, none of us learn a thing or grow at all.

Tdub,
Thanks for jumping in here as well!

Curlz said...

Oh my goodness!! Pam, at the risk of being redundant your grace astounds me! I, too have no clue what the difference is between gay and homosexual?! AND, if you don't mind I'd like to reply to T-dub's comment. T-dub, I am glad you said it! I couldn't have said it better myself! If I may say to my two new cyber friends - much love to you both, and warm hugs.

dahatle said...

Pam,

My question was about the subject of homosexuality, not any individual person. I think many of our thoughts and opinions are formed from personal experiences and circumstances. That seems to change as those experiences change. At one time I believed, without exception, that no one was able to fulfill their dream of marriage to an opposite gender person if they were experiencing same gender attractions. Now I feel differently about it and see that while one may not be able to change unwanted feelings, they certainly do not have to limit themselves from achieving what they really want in life because of it either. That is a generic example but I hope it helps clarify what I asked.

Also, I would like to clarify that the posts that have been hurtful have not been on your blog, they have been on others. The post to JB reminded me of them. The apologies you make afterward are alway appreciated but the sting of your words still hurt. I am just humbly asking your consideration of others before writing something that you then want to take back. My original post to you was personal and the first time I have ever participated on your blog. From the responses I got to that I see that what I wrote was perceived as inappropriate - if you feel that way as well, please accept my apology. I know you do not need anyone speaking for you or what you have been through. You have admirably stated how you feel now and I respect you for that.

I am very happy for the new man in your life - there is nothing quite like this feeling - perhaps all this time, you have been preparing for this and for him without even knowing it.