Restless Nights

Jeffery C. Olsen  Sunset

I’m a mom.  I’m a worrier.

Thus…

Restless Nights. 

Lately I have had a hard time sleeping, I stay up late, get up early and toss and turn in-between. After another restless night, I logged onto Facebook with the intent to share what was on my mind.  As I wiped the tears from my face, I let my feelings spew onto my Facebook wall…

“It is with great sadness that I write this. It’s been almost a year since my son and I did a video of what it was like growing up living in FEAR of telling your parents or telling anyone you are gay. FEAR of being rejected and contemplating suicide as the best and only answer so no one would know. Ever!

I have received hundreds of emails from gay young men from around the world who stumble upon our video and for the first time feel HOPE—hope that perhaps their parents would or could be as loving. 

AGAIN last night I received another long email from a young man pouring his heart out – his worries – his fears – his lack of feeling any self-worth and battling daily depression – fighting the hurtful things that are said in church and in his home, drilling the confusion and pain even deeper.

This young man is only 18 and feels taking his life would be best—he said his father made it CLEAR to him and his brothers a couple of years ago, when his cousin “came out”, that IF any of his sons were gay they would no longer be his son!  

He said, “I cried myself to sleep that night!”

This young man has chosen not to serve a mission, he is feeling the heat from his leaders and especially his mother. He is so fearful of telling them the REAL reason behind not wanting to serve a mission – so fearful that he just wants to end his life – feeling THAT would be the better option rather than have his parents know they have a gay son who is dying inside and has been battling depression most his life because of his inner battle.

His story mirrors TOO many young men I hear from—SERIOUSLY this has to STOP! CHILDREN deserve to feel loved especially from their parents. It broke my heart to know my husband and I had created a home where our own son lived in FEAR of telling us—fear of rejection. Our son was 24, THAT is what breaks my heart, NOT that he is gay.

One of the greatest desires of every child and human being is to feel LOVED, ACCEPTED and VALUED for who they are NOT “Tow the line OR be BOOTED out of the HOME” – THAT does NOT feel like love to anyone. God does not force us to keep His commandments—He lovingly guides us with LOVE unfeigned. Parents DO THE SAME!! 

I promise a GAY son (or daughter) is far BETTER than having a DEAD son (or daughter)! Any day.”

I really didn’t expect many people to read such a long Facebook post – It felt good  to get it off my chest.  I resumed responding to this young man’s plea,  praying he could not only feel my love, but  feel his Heavenly Father’s love.

The unexpected happened…

The response was positive, with over 90 shares.  This young man’s story had not only tugged at my heart, but was touching the heart of others including his own.  He told me he read every Facebook comment and was deeply touched by the love he felt from total strangers. It gave him HOPE to know people REALLY do care.

The yearning to feel his parents love and acceptance continues,  it’s a dream he unfortunately doesn’t anticipate happening for many years to come.  I pray he is wrong.

I continue to have restless nights worrying about “my boys”, the young men who reach out to me in desperation, who live in fear of rejection and  contemplating  suicide.

What can we do to help?

It’s simple,  love your children, your spouse, your co-workers, your peers, your neighbor your friends. Open your heart and mind to see people as people.  Everyone I meet desires to feel loved, safe, respected accepted and valued for who they are.  Create the space that feels safe to talk about feelings without feeling judged and rejected.   If they can feel your love, they can feel their Father in Heaven’s love.

This young man could be your son, your co-worker, your peer, your neighbor, your friend. Let people know YOU care.

Photo by Jeffery C. Olsen

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