Familial Pressures

I want to start off by saying how loving and supportive my family is.  My entire life my parents have supported me and encouraged me to seek the life that I chose for myself.  I remember in high school, one of the guidance counselors had an interview with me.  She asked what I wanted to major in in college and I said math.  She replied, "No you don't, you want to major in engineering."  Her point was that there's no money in any career that requires a math major, but engineers can make a considerable amount of money (at least, compared with mathematicians).  I told her I didn't care about money or about her opinion and I was going to major in math.  I went home and told my mom about it and she agreed with me and encouraged me to seek my own dream, not listen to the short-sighted advice from the counselor.

I love the movie Dead Poets Society, for many reasons (for one, I think Robin Williams is absolutely hilarious in every movie he does).  One of the main characters, Neil, is under a great deal of pressure from his parents to be a doctor, but he really wants to be an actor.  I remember watching the show, having so much sympathy for Neil, willing him to just pursue the career of his choice, and thinking how grateful I was to have parents who want me to choose my own career instead of dictating to me what I should be.  I thought it was so sad when Neil decided that he should just kill himself, unable to resolve the conflict between his desire to be an actor and his parents' pressure to be a doctor.

I share this only to show how much my parents support me in what I decide to do with my life.  They have always been very loving and very supportive.  Like any good child, I have always wanted to please my parents and they have always made it easy for me to do so by being happy with anything that I have decided to do.  Again, I do not mean to use this to contrast with their feelings toward my decision to marry a man, nor to give any fuel to the argument that they should support that decision as they have supported all other major decisions in my life.  I merely say it to indicate that I love my parents (and all my family) very much and I am truly grateful for them.  They really do love me and they are very supportive of what I make with my life.

Having said that, I now come to the main point of this post.  During the last several months, I have had much turmoil deep down inside my heart.  For a long time, a good portion of that turmoil was in trying to decide whether the right path for me to take was to follow the teaching of my church or to enter a homosexual relationship.  However, that turmoil is over now that I feel it is right for me to follow my heart.  Now, the bulk of the turmoil that I feel inside is related to how my family feels about that decision.

I want to make my family happy.  I want them to be proud of me.  In several ways, throughout my life, my family has respected me and looked up to me.  I have tried to do what I felt was right in everything that I do.  I have tried to do what I felt like my family wanted me to do as well--not necessarily for their sake alone, but with the great reward of seeing how happy it made them.  It is a truly sad feeling to know that a decision that you have made is such a disappointment to those that you love.  It is difficult to see them disapprove of your actions and your opinions.  It is a truly sobering thought to see your parents wishing and hoping that you would change your mind and choose something so radically different from what you have chosen.  If it were a small matter, such as where I lived or what kind of clothes to wear, then I would gladly change just for them because I truly want to please them in every way.  But this is such an important thing to me, such a compelling desire, that I cannot change my mind merely in the name of loyalty to my family.

I do not enjoy the pain and sorrow that I am causing my family.  I do not wish to inflict on them any more grief than they have already felt.  I find no pleasure nor happiness in watching them struggle with my choice to enter a homosexual relationship.  It pains me to see their unpleasant reaction.  I would prefer to see them all happy--not for my own sake, but for theirs.  I wish to once again know that I have made them proud.  That they are glad to claim me as their son/brother/uncle--not just in the sense that they love me and are glad to have me in the family, but in the more meaningful sense that they are truly happy for me and wish me well in the path I have chosen.

I would never ask anyone in my family (or anyone else, for that matter) to doubt the religion that they love so much, to disbelieve any doctrine that it espouses.  I would not want to make anyone feel like I want them to turn their back on their church or their God.  Quite the opposite, in fact.  I encourage everyone to seek out God, to find out His will, and to do it with full purpose of heart.  No matter what you feel that path may be, I would encourage you to follow it.  And that certainly goes for all of my family.  If they feel that fighting against the homosexual movement is God's will, as the LDS church teaches, then I will not discourage them from following what they feel is divine guidance.

If I could wave a magic wand and cast away all of the sorrow from my family--from the world, for that matter--I certainly would.  But, without the sorrow to contrast with, how could we know joy?  Certainly there is a reason for suffering, and God knows it.  I will leave it in His hands.  I pray for my family daily.  I pray that they will be comforted through this time that has proven to be so difficult for them.  I pray that  they will know how much I love them and appreciate all that they do for me.  I pray that God will protect them and guide them (and me) in truth and righteousness.