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Why The Tears?

I wrote this article for Northern Lights, another blog site in which I contribute monthly, but I want to also share it with you, my readers at Becky Mack’s Blog of Mild Chaos.

Why the tears

A flood of questions raced through my head as I read my son’s words, “I’m gay“. What did I do wrong? What could I have done differently? Who did this to him? How can I fix him? What will others think?

That very first night as I sat with my son on the couch and listened, really listened, trying to make sense of what I was hearing, I felt his pain, his sorrow and his hope for a better tomorrow. I told him I loved him and that my love would never change. I shared what I thought were words of comfort and hope, not realizing they were really daggers in my son’s heart. They were things he already knew – he’d heard them a hundred times growing up – this night he needed me to listen and to love him the same as I did yesterday.

I wish I could say it was easy and natural for me to just listen and love, but it took awhile to figure those two things out. I thought I was listening and I thought I was loving, but as time went on I learned I could do better, much better. I am grateful for my patient son. He cried a lot and I didn’t know why. I was telling him I loved him, so why the tears?

Recently, I came across an email that I sent my son early on in our journey, it was filled with scriptures and quotes from church leaders that I was certain would bring him comfort and help him get back on track. This time I read the words with new eyes and a new perspective.

Now, I understood his tears.

I was focused on fixing my son verses loving him. When I changed my focus to loving him, REALLY loving him, mingled with lots of listening, REALLY listening, things changed. Our relationship improved. The tears stopped.

What I learned from my son…

As I reflect back on my journey the last four years, I can see the many things God taught me through my son. He answered my prayers the only way a loving Heavenly Father could do. As I turned to Him for understanding, guidance and answers, He gave me more to learn and more reasons to lean on him and to trust him. He stretched my faith in ways I never thought possible or thought I needed. He taught me what it really means to have compassion, empathy, charity and love unfeigned. He taught me that if I focused on the positive and approached difficult situations – every situation – from a place of love I would see beauty and wonder instead of disaster.

Love is the answer – love is also the question.

No one is perfect, but we can be perfect at trying to be perfectly kind, perfectly loving – and always responding from a place of love. As I have opened my heart and arms wider than I ever thought possible – my heart has grown a hundred fold.

Love – is – a – choice. It is the choice.

A Message of Love from a Mom

View More: http://photos.pass.us/beckymackintosh

It’s been brought to my attention that my blog posts have been sporadic and it’s time for me to kick it into gear.  Yes, life often gets in the way of carving out time to blog, and for that, I apologize. First it was the shorty-shorts that turned our life upside down. Then the coming out video and post of me and my son brought on a different kind of busyness, AND  that is what leads me to my post today; “A Message of Love from a Mom” me – Becky Mack 🙂 …

Though I don’t get much sleep, I wouldn’t trade my circumstances for anything in the world. It is comforting to know that people around the globe feel I am a safe place to reach out to, someone who will listen without judgement and will love without conditions – it’s worth the sleepless nights.

I pray someday the emails stop, the personal meets ups and phone calls end, NOT because I’m worn out, but because every person on the planet feels LOVED, SAFE, RESPECTED, ACCEPTED and VALUED for who they are and the diversity they bring – No more fear of REJECTION from family, church, school and community.

If you are feeling grateful that your life is *LGBT/SSA free, it’s perhaps because you have NOT created a safe environment for them to tell you. They listen to your conversations, lectures, unkind jokes and remarks and choose to remain silent. They know your goals, hopes and dreams and they don’t want to disappoint you, so they stay quiet.

Many closeted LGBT/SSA reach out to me confiding their pain, anxiety, depression and self harming habits. Many confess they turn to pills or alcohol to numb the pain. They plead “I just want to be normal”.  They pray for God to take this away and sadly, too often they reach a point where they are angry with God for unanswered prayers.

PARENTS, if your child tells you they are gay or same-sex attracted or think they might be gay or whatever terminology they use, it’s not the end of the world!  It’s the beginning of a time to refine and strengthen your Christlike attributes such as; compassion, empathy, charity and love unfeigned. It’s a time to exercise faith and to CHOOSE to believe in a God who meant what He said, “Love one another as I have loved you.” Lean on Him for guidance and understanding. It’s an opportunity to strengthen your relationship with your child by simply loving unconditionally even if they choose differently than you would. Especially if they choose differently than you would.

By opening your heart and arms, you will discover some of the most incredible, talented, gifted and caring people on the planet.  The answer is simple – LOVE!

*LGBT/SSA = Lesbian, Gay, Bi-Sexual, Trangender / Same Sex Attraction

P.S.  To hear my husband Scott and I share our  journey with our son, go to Voices of Hope.  Please share with anyone you feel would benefit.

It’s no Fairytale: Have Courage and Be Kind

Have Courage and Be Kind-10

Did you happen to see the latest rendition of Cinderella starring Lilly James?  If not, I highly recommend it.  I know it’s just a fairytale, but the messages it shares is golden.   I must warn you – it’s not a musical so don’t expect the mice to break out in song.

Cinderella’s beloved mother suddenly takes ill and in her final moments with her daughter she utters the simple formula for happiness, “Be kind and have courage and all will be well.”  Up to that point, being kind was second nature to Cinderella – it was a gift she inherited  from her mother.  But  to be kind to people who were intentionally cruel would take courage and soon be put to the test.

You know the story – she endured. She turned the other cheek. She went to the Ball. The clock struck twelve.

And…

With ash smeared face, straggly hair and raggedy dress, Cinderella gathered courage as she approached the prince to try on that legendary glass slipper. The narrator, her fairy godmother turns to the audience and asks, “Would who she is really be enough?”  She had no magic to help her this time – she was on her own to shine.  It was perhaps the greatest risk of all. “To be seen as you truly are.

Aren’t we all covered in ash?  Don’t we all struggle with varying levels of doubts, insecurities and self worth?  Do we question if we are good enough?  Do we have the courage to take the risk of showing who we truly are?  Do we acknowledge our infinite worth with gifts and talents that make us unique and genuine?

Recently a friend posted a photo of herself on Facebook, with permission I share; “This may seem like your ordinary gym mirror selfie. But to me it marks Day 1 of facing my fears. The gym. For me the gym is a scary place where I’m judged and embarrassed. But more than that, it’s a place that triggers me. It triggers what I’ve been suffering for years …..an eating disorder.

Going to the gym defeats me thinking I’m not getting where I want fast enough. It makes me think I’m not good enough. I hate seeing my reflection, or the body types I wish I was. But today is a fresh start. …..Today is Day 1 of learning to love myself.”

I am proud of my friend for her courage to be real and vulnerable.

Do we believe that if others knew our worst actions, our ugliest thoughts, our embarrassing secrets, and our weird habits that no one will like us?

Look in the mirror and repeat after me;

“You are more important than your mistakes – you are worthwhile, valuable, and useful.”

Thomas S. Monson spoke on having courage in the April 2014 LDS general conference,  “Courage is needed—the courage to say no when we should, the courage to say yes when that is appropriate, the courage to do the right thing because it is right.”

The following April in 2015, Dieter F. Uchtdorf  spoke On Being Genuine.  “…If Jesus Christ were to sit down with us and ask for an accounting of our stewardship, I am not sure He would focus much on programs and statistics.  What the Savior would want to know is the condition of our heart.  He would want to know how we love and minister to those in our care, how we show our love to our spouse and family, and how we lighten their daily load.  And the Savior would want to know how you and I grow closer to Him and to our Heavenly Father.”

prince-putting-on-glass-slipper

Beneath the smudges of ash, beyond the raggedy clothes – the glass slipper fits – because YOU are enough.

 

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