What is in a Love
Not too long ago, in the first year of my college experience, I encountered something I had never encountered before. The thing, or should I say person, was a homosexual. Being from Memphis, Tennessee, one of the cities apart of the infamous Bible belt, I had never come across such a person and probably would have avoided them if I could. Why, do you ask? Well the simple reason is because I had been brought up that way. My high school, Evangelical Christian School (ECS), though great in academics and on preparing students ready for college, was horrible for bracing students for the Ôreal worldÕ. I had always heard about something known as the ÒECS bubble,Ó but I never knew it actually existed.
The event that changed my outlook on life is still very vivid in my mind. During my freshman year of I decided to see what sports I could do and tried out rowing team, also known as crew. It was a good experience and I made a few good friends. One of these friends was a fellow guy and I grew to like him due to his calm voice and his kind way of shrugging off some of the more difficult issues that were flung his way. However, as my friendship with him grew I noticed little things that led me to suspect that my new friend was a homosexual. The thought of this was a little troubling because I had never actually encountered a homosexual, so I didnÕt know what I should do. I eventually confronted him about the matter and he confirmed my suspicions. I went back to my room and sat down in my round circular chair; its soft gray cloth felt like heaven against my heavy head. Slowly I let my mind wander and soon I found myself wandering through my beliefs, wants, and other thoughts like a man in the Labyrinth.
One of the things plaguing my mind was the fact that Leviticus 18:22, one of the first verses of law in the Bible, says, ÒDo not lie with a man as one lies with a woman; that is detestable.Ó Another such verse only comes two chapters later, saying, ÒIf a man lies with a man as one lies with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable. They must be put to death; their blood will be on their own heads.Ó This means that, as a Christian, I could not support gay marriage or any type of homosexuality. Then I remembered another verse that comes in the Gospels. The verse is spoken by Jesus himself in Matthew 28:19, saying:
Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.
With this verse in mind, I began to try to think of ways to convert people, such as my friend, to Christianity, but I soon hit a snag. Homosexuality isnÕt just something someone does because they like it. Homosexuality is a part of their life; it is their lifestyle and trying to strip someone of their lifestyle would be like trying to tear the skin of their body. It would be the same as if some tried to strip me of my heart. With that thought, I flopped back down in my chair and sat depressed once more.
Gradually my mind started to drift again and I began to think of life from my friendÕs perspective. Not knowing too much about where exactly he came from, I could only suspect what kind of life he may have led during his time before his freshman year of college. I remembered hearing a few bits and pieces of things I had overheard throughout my high school career. Of how some people were being persecuted just because they had fallen in love with another person of the same gender. This just couldnÕt seem right. Love is not something people should be punished for. Love is something to be celebrated, to be cherished, and to be eternal. Then I began to realize something. The people who go out and hurt, maim, or just persecute homosexuals do all of this because they are afraid of homosexuals.
We, as humans, are pretty predictable. We first like to build up our own little sphere of constants and dearest beliefs and hold onto them like a three-year-old child clinging onto his baby blanket. But, when something new enters our view, we often get scared. Rarely do we have people run up to this new object and embrace it with open arms. Most of us sit back and wait, watching what unfolds in the world then acting upon the new object according to our precious beliefs or the actions of others. However, some of us get scared. We become frightened of this new thing and attack it, trying to find some weakness so we can exploit it and turn the object into a target for more people to hate. This is what has happened with homosexuality.
Now some of you might be thinking, ÒHomosexuality has been around since ancient Greece. ItÕs not exactly new.Ó In that sense you are right. Homosexuality has existed on this earth since the dawn of time. When I say Ônew,Õ I mean unknown. Humanity has always feared the unknown or what we donÕt understand. That is why we go and explore, so we can go and understand what is just beyond the horizon and continue to grow. ItÕs the same thing with homosexuality except it goes deeper. People who are afraid of homosexuality and who see it as a threat to our society are not only scared of what the future might hold if they continue to allow homosexuals to exist; they are also scared of love. They cannot understand how two people of the same gender were consumed by love and want to be together. This kind of love is unknown to them and that terrifies them.
Of course love, like other things such as faith, destiny, and the US postal service, were not meant for humans to fully understand. How many writers and philosophers have their been over the years who have answered a thousand questions, but have become stumped when asked about love? Love is something unique unto every situation that cannot be bottled up and analyzed and tracked. Love in itself is a mystery, and when we look to someone and try to love him or her, everyday becomes a grand adventure. No one ever knows what the future will bring, but love makes that future so fascinating that you canÕt help but want to press on towards that uncertainty. That is when I made the link. God, in his mercy and grace, loves each and every one of us. To turn our love from someone, after being shown such great mercy, would be like turning ones back on the father and mother who raised them. That is when I decided to embrace everyone, to never turn down a hug, to never close myself off to a person in need, and to continue to hang out with people who are who they were meant to be.
I still see my friend from time to time though I have changed to swim team and he has become a coxswain on the crew team. He is still the same person he was when I first met him, and I hope he never changes. He helped me open the door to a new way to make friends, which is something I always love, and I know I will never be able to repay him. I hope he will eventually find the guy of his dreams, and I will forever wish for his happiness, no matter how little of it I understand.