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Really big deal for me.

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As I've posted before, I have come out as gay to my parents and siblings during the last year. That has gone okay, but I have been very anxious about the prospect of coming out to any one else in my family. Almost all of my family is very very Christian, most of them of a particularly conservative persuasion. The one exception to that is my Mom's father. He is very much a Christian, but he is very open minded. I think he is the wisest person I know. I have considered coming out to him for a while. At this point I wish I had done so sooner.

Last month, he sent me an email asking me some big questions about my life and particularly my faith and marriage prospects... In the last several years, I have moved away from Christianity. I knew when I received it that I should go ahead and open up to him about how I am really feeling. Lately I have been quite stressed and anxious about a lot of things. Last night I finally decided to write him back. I had planned just to say a few things to start a discussion, what happened instead was that I started writing, and I didn't stop until I had poured out ten years worth of thoughts and experiences into the letter. After typing it, I read through, to make sure I actually wanted to send it, and then I clicked send. As soon as I sent it I regretted saying so much, and I have been nervous all day. About an hour ago, I got a response... It was better than I could have imagined. I can't even describe how much relief I am feeling right now! I will be going to visit for Thanksgiving next week, so we will get to continue the conversation in person.

Normally this correspondence is the kind of thing, I would only share with my closest of friends. However, the protection of anonymity creates an interesting dynamic here. I am going to do a little editing to change names and identifying details, and I am going to share the correspondence here. It will be much too long and boring for most people to read, however for anyone who may be dealing with similar issues, they may find it interesting to at least skim it. I hope that by sharing, it may help someone facing similar challenges. Disclaimer: In the letter, I go into detail about my process of discovering and accepting my same-sex attraction. My interest in diapers also played a role in this whole process, but I make no mention of diapers in the letter, as that is not something I feel the need to share with my family. So if you feel like getting into the nitty gritty of someone's life who you don't even know... Here we go This starts with the letter my Grandad originally sent to me.

Dear Bean,

We trust all goes well with your hands involvement in nature as well as bicycles! Hopefully they’ll not keep you out of an enriching social life–also a good side of one’s college experience.

You’ll know of course that we feel concerns for your continuing to examine the place of faith in your life. We cannot coerce your worship involvement and/or church relationship. They hold value only as you choose intentionally to gain what they promise or continue to investigate their value.

You have far more potential in your family spiritual heritage than financial or social status. What do you look back to in your family’s spiritual heritage that’s not worth retaining–parents, grandparents, uncles, cousins, etc.? Of course you’ll find nothing perfect in their practice, but the source is sure.

Surely you realize you are at the stage of life when one’s marriage partner is likely to be selected. If again, you wish to have a marriage enriched by meaningful spiritual heritage, you know where to get acquainted. You are an adult and decisions are yours, we would simply encourage you toward what has given us the richest of life experiences in spite of our many mistakes.

We do look forward to seeing you next month. Probably your mother has mentioned our trip to Israel in November, we’ll be back in time. And if you ask, we’ll tell you about it.

Hope you enjoy the experience of learning new things and grow in the wonder of holding life potential in your hands both literally as well as by faith.

Love,
Grandad

P.S. My friends, the Smiths, let me know their appreciation in getting to know you. Of course, I said it was because you took after your grandfather Jones!!!!!!!!!!

Here is my response (its long):
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