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A Son's Journey PDF Print E-mail
I dreamed that my father was hugging and kissing another man, but dismissed it as crazy. It seemed impossible that Dad was gay. I was 12 years old when I had the dream that would eventually change my life. I was swimming in an indoor pool with my siblings, enjoying an afternoon at the local YMCA. 

Leaving the water, I entered the men's locker room. Pushing through the steam I stumbled upon my Dad in a full intimate embrace with another man. Their embrace lasted for moments and, to my shock, it was followed by a vivid and passionate kiss. Moments afterward, I awoke and dismissed the images as a strange and unpredictable dream. 

The next day I mentioned to my mother that I had seen Dad kissing another man in my dream. Her response was one that challenged the casual mood of the discussion. "Nathan," she said in a soft convicted tone, "tell your father about your dream." 

My parents had already been separated for two years, although Dad visited with us on weekends. As a result, I spent two days anticipating our dialogue. He and I had a few moments alone in the car as we waited for the others. 

"Dad," I said, "I had a crazy dream and Mom wanted me to tell you about it. I dreamt that you were kissing another man." 

My memory at this point becomes hazy. I cannot remember the details of my Dad's response. He said something like, "Well, son, what would you think about something like that?" Neither he nor I were anxious to continue on the subject, so further dialogue between us ceased. After that day, we both pretended that the entire discussion had been meaningless. 

But two years later, Dad called a family meeting to give "a special announcement." My brothers and sisters speculated that he was going to announce his intentions to marry again. But inside, I feared that the disturbing image of my dream might in fact be a reality. Still, I rationalized. Dad? Gay? Being told in my dream? No, I told myself, it is all too far-fetched to believe. 

"Kids," Dad said to us, "after much thought and consideration, I have come to the place where I need to tell you something. I believe in my heart that I want to live the rest of my life with men rather than women." 

The news brought me to the edge of my seat and I blurted out, "You're gay?!" 

My Dad looked at me, nodded, and responded softly, "I'm gay." 

I felt goose bumps up and down the back of my neck. My attempts to rationalize my dream had been viciously crushed by Dad's words. Responding to my tears, my parents explained that the dream I'd had two years earlier was given to me the very evening my Dad revealed his secret to my Mom. The sharp tone she used in her response was a cover-up to hide her shock. To her, the dream and the timing involved were more than coincidental. 

My Dad's words to my mother two years before reflected his commitment to a specific destiny. He was making a purposeful statement, declaring that he no longer was going to combat his fleshly yearnings. His was a conscious calculation of the consequences with a conclusion: for him, the freedom to have sex with men was worth any price. 

Whatever the cost, my Dad had chosen to surrender his life to homosexuality and it meant that soon, certain people would have to hear about it. Specifically, it meant that someday there would come a time when he would tell his children. 

God knew that this devastating news would one day be presented to me. He gave me the dream as a preparatory attempt to soften the blow. This dream showed that He truly loved me. His love pierced through the emptiness of my life and filled my soul. 

But what did His Truth say about my Dad? I was told that homosexuality is sin. When Dad told us about his homosexuality, I told him that what he was doing was wrong and that his ideology had taken a wrong turn. 

Periodically I would approach the subject and we always concluded our discussions in disagreement. In my heart, I was aware that if our discussions continued and increased in their intensity, one day our relationship would be severely broken. 

The situation slowly intensified. My Dad found a man with whom he desired "permanent" partnership. In reaction to his announcement, I informed my Dad that no night would pass with his partner under the same roof as me. I was demanding that he respect my boundaries, just as he had demanded that I respect his lifestyle. 

Graduation from high school was imminent for me, and so a plan was set in motion. The day I moved out for college would soon be followed by a move-in day for my Dad's partner. The plan played itself out, and shortly thereafter came a climatic confrontation as my Dad and I communicated over the phone. 

"Son," my Dad said to me, "your actions toward me have got to soften. If they don't, I will not continue to bear it. Unless you change, I will have to disown you as my son." 

Facing permanent separation from my Dad, I contacted a mentor whom I trusted. His questions pierced my heart and illuminated a pathway through a situation I believed was a dead end. He asked me to look honestly at what it was that compelled me to follow Christ. 

Truthfully and without hesitation I told him that it was God's unconditional love and grace. Then he asked me how I had demonstrated this grace and love to my Dad. I sat and looked at him in silence. 

Conviction gripped me as I realized the damage I had caused. God's unconditional love and grace had called me and inspired me to walk towards Him out of darkness. Yet for the past six years I had been giving my Dad nothing but judgment and conflict. Where was the unconditional love and grace? I realized that I was pushing my Dad away from the very thing I desperately wanted him to embrace. 

Moments later, I spoke amends to my Dad. "I have not loved you," I confessed. "For years I have given you judgment and condemnation, and for that I am truly sorry. I do not agree with the choices you have made, but thank God that Christ does not turn His back on me when I make poor choices. Dad, I do love you. I want a relationship with you. Can we keep things going?" 

My Dad chose to keep his door open to me. In the years since then we have had many opportunities to bless each other. My Dad still persists in his homosexual choices. But I still have a unique and personal position in his life. This position gives me an opportunity to give the love of Christ to my Dad. It's a blessing I almost lost. 

Over the years I have learned a few things about homosexuality. I have discovered that godly love is usually something that the homosexual struggler has learned to live without. Often, sexual behavior is an attempt to receive the very intimacy they long to have with Jesus. I have grown into a real and genuine peace knowing that I help give that special godly intimacy to my Dad. 

But this peace is occasionally challenged. Recently I encountered a difficult scripture found in 1 Corinthians 5:11 which says, "...you must not associate with anyone who calls himself a brother but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or slanderer, a drunkard or a swindler. With such a man do not even eat." 

Since my Dad calls himself a "brother," the tension between unconditional love and the instruction of this verse tears at me inside. As He always does, God will use this difficult and confusing situation to deepen my relationship with Him. 

I will continue to seek resolve, walking forward in faith that God is the Lord of the situation. I hold out hope that one day my Dad will find repentance in his heart and walk upright once again with His heavenly Father. 

God knows better than anyone what will bring him there. My part is to pray--and unconditionally love him, just as Christ has loved me. 

Additional Information:
Copyright 1999 by Nathan Bell. Distributed by Love In Action, PO BOX 753307, Memphis, TN 38175-3307
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