All is Gift from God
By Peter Maynier
This story is written from a Christian perspective. If this may be offensive to you then you might not want to read it.
If a person, nasty person, place, event, church, country, happening, thing or sport seems familiar, it is purely coincidental.
It’s Sunday morning and once again I’m being dragged off to church. I hate going to church. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t hate church or God. I just hate going to church – or, at least, Pastor Ian’s church. Pastor John has been our pastor for about four months now. He’s nothing like our old pastor, Pastor Peter, who is one of the kindest, gentlest, most caring men I know. Pastor John, on the other hand, is the coldest, meanest, most hateful, self-righteous man I know. According to Pastor Ian, everything I am, and almost everything I do, God hates, condemns and disapproves of even my very own existence.
I know that this morning I’m going to hear again why God hates gays and why I’m going to Hell and all gays. Every Sunday it’s the same. His sermons never praise God; they only condemn people. I often wonder why we still go there. My mother certainly isn’t like that. Maybe it’s just because it’s close by, or because we have gone there since time memorial, it’s like a habit a ritual. Maybe, like me, she’s hoping his head will explode one Sunday and we’ll get someone like Pastor Peter again. Whatever the reason, we go there and every week bloody weak and I have to listen to his hate-filled hate speech for an hour or more.
I’m not sure which Bible Pastor Ian is reading, but I’m pretty certain it isn’t the same one I’m reading. The Bible I’m reading tells me God is Agape. .love, not hate. However, it seems the Bible he has only talks about hate and seldom if ever, mentions love. No matter how many times I read my Bible, I can’t find the verses that tell me God hates me. How can it say God created me in His image if He hates me? How can it say God is love if He hates me? How can it command me to love my neighbour as myself, if He hates me? Very confusing indeed.
It doesn’t really matter where it’s written, though. Pastor Ian leaves little doubt and I often wounder if this type of ranting and raving is not a little bit of a Freudian slip: God hates me. Not me specifically – well yeah, me specifically and ‘my kind’. You know the kind, boys who love boys. And boys who covet their neighbour’s butt – well not my neighbour’s butt, but his son’s butt. I can probably list a hundred more reasons, but apparently, either of these is enough to send me to Hell, so why bother? The I won’t even go to his sermons on the Rapture all I can say is cry me a river.
Anyway, I’m fumbling around in my room getting ready and trying to predict which reason he will pick this week when I’m broken away from my thoughts by the sound of my mother’s voice calling.
“Hurry up, Vince, or we’re going to be late,” my mom yells up the stairs.
“Be right there,” I yell back.
I grab my jacket and run down the stairs, getting the death glare of an agitated lioness.
“OOPS,” I say.
“You’d better be,” she responds. “One of these days you’re going to miss a step, fall and break a leg or even your neck. Then we’d have to rush you to the hospital and we can’t ever miss church.”
“Really? Just a minute, let me try that again,” I say as I turn to start back up the stairs.
“Get back here,” she says, laughing, “or it won’t be a fall down the stairs that breaks your neck but rather you wearing my shoe.”
I spin around and give her a kiss on the cheek and say, “You love me too much to do that and who knows I may love wearing your shoe.”
It’s a short walk and we arrive at the church about five minutes later. Pastor/El pastor Ian greets my mom as if she’s some long lost relative or something. I, on the other hand, get an icy glare. ‘How can his eyes be blue when he’s so full of it?’ I wonder. After our heart-warming welcome–well, Mom’s heart-warming welcome–we enter the church and make small talk with some of the people who are milling about near the door. I stand next to her, smiling as if I’m happy to be there if only they could know. I’m such a good son goody two shoes it’s almost embarrassing.
Suddenly the organist starts pounding out the intro to the first hymn and everyone hurries to get seated, grab their hymnals and start singing. Pastor Ian’s voice comes shrieking out over the speakers. It makes me think of a cat and bagpipes at the same time, and the cat with its tail caught in the door. .a big, angry cat.
As soon as the first hymn is over, he moves straight to the pulpit and gets ready to start his sermon. I figure we’re really in for it this time. There are no announcements, no introductions, no welcome to visitors, nothing; just straight into his sermon. As I sit there watching him, I can almost see the fire in his eyes and the fire of hate. He slowly raises his Bible up in his right hand and stares at the ceiling. Oh yeah, there’s no doubt: this is going to be a good one. Everyone is deathly silent. .it’s like waiting for madam guillotine to fall I just wish it was his neck under it.
Suddenly he slams his left hand down on the pulpit and shouts, “Sinners and DAMNATION!” Everyone jumps a foot in the air. I think one or two of them are going to have to change their underwear when they get home there will be more than stipe. He slowly looks down and lets his beady cruel narrow little eyes scan the congregation. Everyone looks scared half to death. .I wonder what they’ve been up to this week.
Then his eyes focus on me. I just stare right back at him. I think he’s counting on intimidating me, but his ability to do that has long since passed.
His voice becomes very quiet as he says, “I witnessed something this week certainly not the Rapture.”
Since all his attention is focused on me, I wonder, ‘What the hell did I do now or who did he see me kiss or did he see me going into Adult World?’
Still looking right at me, his voice rising with each word and getting shriller, he says, “I witnessed something this week that will bring the WRATH of God’s damnation down upon us.” He puts extra emphasis on the word wrath and he slams his hand down on the pulpit again. This time, only half the congregation jumps the rest just stare.
“We have a sodomite among us,” he yells as he points at me.
There is an audible gasp throughout the congregation as everyone looks at me. Intimidating or not, if there was ever going to be a time when I wished I could sink through the floor, disappear this is it. But I’m not going to show fear, and I continue to stare right back at him this self-righteous son of a bitch. I might very well come unglued and fall apart later, but I sure as hell won’t give him that satisfaction now the cock sucker.
He must have seen Paul and me holding hands in the park, and now he’s going to out me to everyone here, including my mother. I feel devastated as a cold sweat comes over me.
Then I feel my mother’s hand grip mine and give it a squeeze. She stands up and pulls me up with her. She looks Pastor Ian in the eye, then turns and, still pulling me along, walks down the aisle and out of the church. He’s yelling something at us, but neither one of us is listening.
We walk home hand in hand in silence, but as soon as we’re safely in the house, I fall apart, burst into tears and begin sobbing. I’m in my mother’s arms in an instant she holding me to her breast as the passage of Is 10verse 11 comes to mind ‘As a shepherd, he attends to his flock holding the little ones to His Breast and leading the mothers gently.
She holds me and comforts me with soft whispers of, “It’s okay. Let it all out. I love you,” as she holds me tight and rubs my back holding me tight to her.
Once I settle down, she leads me into the living room, sits with me on the sofa and pulls me into a hug. I wrap my arms around her and we just sit like that for several minutes.
“I’m sorry, Mom,” I finally say.
“You have nothing to be sorry about,” she responds.
“Yeah. .I do,” I tell her. “Mom, I’m gay.”
“I know,” she says quietly.
I pull back and look at her. “You know?” I ask, totally astonished.
“I’ve known for a while now,” she replies, smiling. “I was just waiting for you to tell me.”
“How?” I ask.
“I’m your mother,” she says. . . right, like that explains everything.
“But how?” I ask again.
“I’ve watched you grow up and mothers always know my child. Over the last few years, you have never had a girlfriend. You never talk about girls. You’ve never been on a date with one,” she replies. “As time went on, I began to wounder, so I started to watch you more carefully. You stopped bringing friends home as often. Then last month, you brought Paul home with you. It was the first time you brought a friend home in about three months. I watched the two of you interact and I saw how you looked at each other. Every time you looked at him, your eyes would light up the smile on your face the sparkle in your eyes and his. They lit up when you looked at him the way your father’s eyes used to light up when he looked at me. That’s when I really knew. I knew you were in love with another, and it didn’t matter. You’re my son and I love you. If you’re in love with another boy instead of a girl, it doesn’t change who you are. I love you and I want you to be happy. I want you to feel as proud of who you are as I am. And who you fall in love with has little to do with who you are.”
I burst into tears again as I pull her back into a hug My mother has just told me she has known I’m gay for some time now. She knows I’m in love with another boy and she still loves me.
After a few minutes, Mom pulls back, looks at me, pulls my head down and gives me a light kiss on the forehead. “I don’t know about you,” she says, smiling, “but I’m starving. Let’s make some lunch.”