Tuesday, February 17, 2015

An innocent comment gone awry

When I was 18, my home ward was split. At that time, we received many young families whose parents were just a few years older than myself. One such family was the Browns (not their real names). Lisa (also, not her real name), the wife, and I became fast friends. We shared many common interests: watching over, playing with, and loving her small children; pulling pranks on her husband; playing softball on the ward team; riding bicycles; even toilet papering homes in the neighborhood after we won our softball games.

In short, we had a lot of fun together and became good, close, and trusted friends. Over the course of the next many, many months, Lisa and I had many conversations about many different topics.

One day, while talking, Lisa made the comment that she could understand it if, one day, her husband found another woman to be with. But, she said, she would never understand, nor accept it, if he found a man with whom to be.

That conversation made a huge impact on me. Even though I had not yet come out, I had known from a very young age that I was gay. When she shared her comment with me, an immediate wall, one which I could never get through nor go over, went up between us and I knew I had to protect myself from her comment. While I understood that she did not want anyone coming between her and her husband, she had made it abundantly clear how she felt about gay people and how much she truly disdained them.

To her, Lisa had shared an innocent comment. She had no idea that I was gay. She probably even thought I shared her sentiment. But, that "innocent" comment became a clear and decisive wedge between us. I knew I could never fully trust her with who I was, who I am.