My So Called Life - The Good, The Bad, The Ugly

Embrace life -- both the sweet days and the bitter...embrace the joy and the sadness...the successes and the defeats -- for all of these things, both good and bad, have made you who you are.

Sunday, July 24, 2005

My Struggle - Homosexuality vs. Christianity, Part IV - The Conclusion Of My Time At Baylor

It was the summer after my freshman year and over the last several months my life had taken a whirlwind 180 degree turn. I had become a Christian and begun attending church regularly the previous fall. Religiously attending if you will. I attended Sunday morning, Sunday evening, nightly prayer atop the parking garage, lifegroup (small community group) on Tuesday nights, and a weekly discipleship meeting on Thursday nights. My plate was full...too full. With all of this "effort" put into developing my walk, escaping the "affliction" of homosexuality, and becoming a solid "Christian", I ran out of steam...internally that is.

I was only one of two students from my graduating class to attend Baylor University. Many of my friends attended the University of Texas at Austin. At the end of an absolutely gut wrenching week at Baylor that summer, I decided to drive down to Austin to visit them and attend a party that was happening at one of the local apartment complexes there near campus. So Friday evening, I packed a bag and headed south to Austin.

I arrived and greeted my friends who were there. I was happy to see them, and the party was a great break from the troubles and stress that I was experiencing in my "walk" at Baylor. I walked back to get a refill on my drink and then I saw him. The person who would eventually occupy my life and heart for 2 1/2 years of my college career.

He stood 6'2 about 190 pounds or so. Dark hair and eyes. He had on a local fraternity shirt, even though he did not belong to one, sun glasses on top of his head, a white necklace around his neck, and two beers in his hand. Then came the words that began it all.

"...Hey my name is Brock. It's nice to meet you..."

As he offered me one of the beers, I responded.

"...My name is Matt. It's nice to meet you Brock..."

We drank beer and talked all night. I forgot about my friends and I didn't ask who he was with. I didn't tell him I was gay and I didn't ask if he was. It was just understood. There wasn't a gap in conversation. There wasn't anything we didn't seem to have in common. As the party began to break up hours later, I told him I had better get going. He asked how often I came down to Austin, and he gave me his number to call just in case I ever made it down again. The party broke up and I left with my friends. I did not see Brock the rest of the weekend and went back to Baylor with his number in my wallet.

Upon my return to Baylor, my life continued the same as it had before the trip to Austin. Church, eat, sleep, church some more. Brock and I spoke exactly one week after the party when I finally worked up enough courage to call him from a pay phone in our local student union (Yes it cost me a lot in quarters!). I bet I damn near spent 15 - 20 dollars on that call we talked so long.

Brock and I would proceed to speak to each other a couple times a month over the next 6 months or so. By the middle of my sophomore year we finally admitted to each other that we were gay, but both of us were uncomfortable with that revelation. I made a couple of trips to Austin over the next several months to visit my friends and Brock. Looking back, knowing Brock and having this outlet for my "gay" side helped keep me sane.

By the time my junior year rolled around, I was stretching myself to the limit. I was about to start leading a life group at my church and discipling several guys within the group. I had also just moved in with Samuel and Jabbar. And to add a little more stress, I had begun dating Brock officially. Neither Samuel nor Jabbar would know about this my entire college career. In fact, no one at Baylor was aware that I would date Brock throughout my junior and senior years. This was the biggest secret I had ever kept from them. And to this day, this secret still causes unrest for both Samuel and Jabbar on some levels. (More details on this later!)

During this period, there were times when I was still conflicted. I would talk with Samuel about wanting to be healed of homosexuality. Those prayers were probably filled with some truth, but were probably prayed out of desperation. After all, the stress of school, church leadership, secrecy of a relationship, and the stress of being a gay closeted Christian in a relationship was hard to manage.

By my senior year, Brock and I were going strong. When I was with him I was happy, I felt free to be who I was naturally and I felt no judgment, just love. It was at the beginning of my senior year, when I moved into a loft with two other leaders from my church that I knew I would eventually step down from leadership and leave the church. I could not find common ground. I could not be a gay leader in their church, but after being with Brock for so long I could not deny what I felt in my heart.

Halfway through my senior year, I left leadership, and I pulled back from the church.

For me, the most hurtful part of the entire process was what happened when I stepped down.

Nothing.

From the time I left leadership, the "friends" I had at the church suddenly didn't appear in my life as often. They became in the church, what you would call bar friends in the secular world. And looking back, I always gave more to my friends than I could ever have hoped to receive in return. Samuel can definitely attest to this. I would give, give, and give more to the people of my church, and felt nothing in return many times. The two lone exceptions were Samuel and Jabbar.

I never saw my other "so called friends" unless I was at church. They vanished from my life. And so bit by bit I vanished from theirs and found refuge in my relationship with Brock. Now I did not see Brock all the time. With both of us attending school and all of our commitments it was tough, but we made it work.

Graduation was coming upon us and both Brock and I knew that our relationship was coming to an end. He had to go to Los Angeles to pursue a career in film, and I had to move back to Dallas to be closer to my family. As heartbreaking as it was, we were both ok with it. We had grown so much together, and he still has a special place in my heart to this day!

As Brock and I said our goodbyes and I prepared for my move to Dallas, I suddenly had a revelation about God that would be the guiding principal for me during my time in Dallas.

This revelation would rank second in importance only behind my salvation experience 4 years prior in the stairwell of my dorm...

10 Comments:

  • At 2:19 AM, Blogger drifter said…

    OH FOR THE LOVE OF.... you can't keep doing this. I have a weak heart and a lot of stress already.....

    I am not sure what I find most amazing - the story itself, the way you write it, or both really.

    You are who you need to be, and you are better than some people out there by a long shot. Very inspiring.

     
  • At 2:33 AM, Blogger Micah said…

    I'm gay and christian. There are churches out there that welcome christians who are gay / gays who are christian.

    You are loved. By others, our brothers and God.

    It's all gonna be okay. I promise.

    Be who you are. Do what you have to do. God knows you're good.

     
  • At 2:44 AM, Blogger Sangroncito said…

    Great read. I've never, ever been religious in any way but somehow I can relate to this. I'm looking forward to the next segment to see how and if you can resolve these conflicts. This is an interesting window into a different world for me.

     
  • At 2:51 AM, Blogger savante said…

    A wonderful confession - and I think something that touches most of us, especially those of us who went through something close to what you did.

    Paul

     
  • At 9:17 AM, Blogger N2D33P said…

    Wow, what a great story! Even though I am Catholic, I went to a Baptist school and man did religion really screw with my head when it came time to admitting to myself that I happened to like guys.

     
  • At 4:29 PM, Blogger Jim said…

    I've said it before -- but just to reiterate, -- you are a great writer. I think this deserves submission to the Observer.

    I can't relate to the religous conflict but I am no stranger to loss, which is what I'm feeling from this post.

    Ive seen you work through other struggles, no doubt that this one contributes to the bigger, better Matt of the future.

     
  • At 5:00 PM, Blogger Matthew said…

    Thanks Jim -

    That is very sweet of you to say
    :-)

     
  • At 6:31 PM, Blogger Nettie said…

    That's an incredible story; I think I stumbled on your blog for a reason...

     
  • At 7:13 PM, Blogger Hannibal said…

    Matt, I really liked the story because it comes from a person whom I think has a good heart.Keep faith in yourself!

     
  • At 12:45 AM, Blogger Scotty said…

    WOW WOW WOW. I feel like I am reading my own story. I should blog mine sometime, but then I would have no reason to finish the book I am writing! I can soooooo relate to your bar friends/church friends comparison. We have a LOT in common Matt!

     

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