My friend Will has known about my struggle with homosexuality for four and a half years now. He was the first friend that I opened up to and since then he has walked faithfully with me on this journey. I cannot express how much his friendship means to me and how much I appreciate the grace and love he has shown me over the years.
Our relationship has not been without challenges. While I knew that Will would always be there for me, for almost four years I never felt as though he was able to grasp what I was going through or the magnitude of my struggle. Slowly our relationship became strained as he met a girl, got married, and moved forward in life. While I was overseas, I prayed for months asking God to rekindle and develop a new depth in our friendship. Upon returning, I had just finished reading A Bigger World Yet by Tim Timmerman, a book which I believe is the best and most impactful out of the books on same sex attraction. Not only does the book go into the struggle and needs of the individual struggling with S.S.A., but it also speaks to the church and the role that the church should be playing to provide community, hope, and love. I decided to pass the book on to Will to see what he thought.
Initially I was scared about how Will would respond to the book. It is in a sense, an open confession of the needs and insecurities of those who struggle with S.S.A. As much as I have been honest and vulnerable with him, there were certain needs or feelings that I would never feel comfortable expressing. For instance, despite my need and desire for physical touch, there was no way I could share that with a straight guy. However insight from the book triggered the biggest turn in our relationship and and God has used it to bring our friendship to a new level of depth and understanding. By describing the life of one who struggles with S.S.A. so clearly and the impact that a straight man can have on that person, Will finally was able to recognize and comprehend all that I had been trying to explain for the past four years.
Right now we are at a place where we both are trying to figure out how this looks for Will to walk this journey with me. As he is trying to he apart of my life, I am having to learn to set aside my own pride and be open about my thoughts, feelings and needs. It has been real hard and I have a lot to learn still. As we met tonight, one of the things we talked about was physical touch and how important it can be used to express acceptance and love. Physical touch has never been apart of our friendship, and in as much as I desire it, I don’t want anything forced. It would only make things awkward. Furthermore, even while he is already aware of my need, it is still a struggle to actually admit such feelings. Despite my pride, he spoke a lot of truth into me and reassured me that no matter how awkward it may be, he was willing to walk with me through all of this.
As we prepared to go our separate ways, he came up to me and just told me “I’m going to hug you and from now on when we meet, we are going to hug.” That simple action meant so much to me. While I am still in the process of trying to understand how others can walk this journey with me, I think the bottom line is I really appreciate when others take initiative. I can always share my needs and others can do their best to help out, but for him to step out and just let me know that he cares had a huge impact on me.