Meet You in the Middle . . .

This has been a very trying summer!  My beau and I have been sheepishly navigating the worlds of family and developing relationships.  We’ve wanted to marry for quite some time now.  In fact, if we had supportive families, we would already be married.  However, we recognize the need for supportive community, and we both love our families, so we’ve been slowing things down to give them time to grieve their straight hopes, and catch up a bit to where we are.  Meanwhile, we grow closer every day.  It’s been a difficult balance.

We realized we could no longer hold off on at least making the next step (engagement), so when I returned to Vermont to pick up J from his summer school stint, we got engaged!

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There’s been no small amount of retardation since the announcement.  It’s really sad actually, that the happiest, bestest news of my LIFE, is met with such ambivalence (if not antipathy) by our families   On my side, everyone but my parents has been completely silent, and my parents would be too if I hadn’t forced them to say something

We’re going to see his family this weekend.  Do pray that this goes well!  They already know the news, so now we’re all going to “talk” – whatever that entails.

Most of my friends have been very cool.  Even the ones that haven’t quite figured out what they believe regarding Christianity and homosexuality.  There’s one exception: my South African friend Rebekah.  I’ve received nothing but callous judgment and arrogant derision from her . . . all in the name of “Christ”, of course  

But some friends have demonstrated much more empathy, compassion, humility, and grace – even if they couldn’t be 100% supportive.  Like our friends from church – the Mussers.  They sent a very interesting email to us expressing their confusion in how to respond.  So on Labor Day, we invited them over for dinner, had a great time catching up, and discussed things further while in town eating yummy ice cream!   They got to hear a little of our story, and I think we all walked away a little more appreciative and knowledgeable.  Admittedly though, my fiancee and I are really growing weary of having to explain our “happy” news to so many sad, confused faces.  So after this weekend w/ his family, we’re taking a break.  Doing the tough work of meeting people in the middle can get draining!

On yet another front, or church community – which up to this point has been exceptionally supportive – is now embarking on a journey to delineate our stance on various issues (sexuality included).  When we announced we wanted to marry there, they said that we could not do this behind closed doors, but that we’d have to involve the community in discussions about this (not our marriage in particular, but how we will approach gay families and their needs in the church).  Now, the leaders are more than happy to support us, but there is a substantial part of the community that either does not know what to do w/ gay couples, or does not think that these couples are “living out God’s best.”

So yes, this could potentially be yet another piece of our community that we have to in some sense “battle” in order to help them understand.  And yes, the very thought of another battlefront is tiring.  Fortunately, I don’t think it will really come to blows, but it will probably be a little awkward as we move forward.

So there you have it: the drama and woes of living in the tension of the middle.  Pray for us.  It ain’t easy!

D.J. Free! 

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One thought on “Meet You in the Middle . . .

  1. I’m finding that working to “bridge the gap” brings some tough situations.  I’m eagerly following your story and praying for you, and as I’ve already messaged you, you have my well wishes and I consider you a friend here on Xanga and on Facebook.  It would be a pleasure to meet you in real life as well.  I appreciate the encouragement that you’ve given to me.  You know we disagree theologically on some issues, but I’ve learned from experience that the cold shoulder and blank face gets no one anywhere.  It led to estrangement from my sister, whcih thankfully has healed, and I now have to consider the possibility that she may enter into her own domestic partnership at some point.  I commit to praying for you in your married life, that you keep on growing in Christ, and that you seek Him in all you do.  Yeah, I’m not always sure what to say, but I’m seeking to build bridges rather than burn them.  Peace to you, my friend, as you continue to communicate with your family members. Jeff

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