Tag Archives: Relationships

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.

Dear Mom and Dad, I am gay.

dear-mom-and-dad

Once a month I blog for Northern Lights, an LDS blog site for Mormon conversations on Sexuality, Gender Identity and Faith. If you follow Becky’s Mack’s Blog of Mild Chaos, or follow me on Facebook or perhaps know me in real life, you know I am very passionate about my religion, faith and family. They are the foundation and core of who I am.  Today I once again speak from my heart sharing my latest Northern Lights blog post with my readers here…

dear-mom-and-dad

Dear mom and Dad,

I am gay…

This blog post is to all the mothers who are grateful none of their children are gay. And also, to the fathers who know all the gay jokes and don’t hold back letting their sons know how they feel about gays. “Can you imagine anyone choosing to be gay?” they gasp.  I’m embarrassed to admit, I once shared those same views.

I write to you parents because my inbox is filled with messages from young men describing all the reasons why they fear telling you – their own mom and dad.  They have gone over every possible scenario of coming out verses continuing to keep their same-gender attraction a secret. They have come to the conclusion that taking their life is the better option.  Then as a one last ditch effort to find answers, they stumble upon my video and feel a pull to reach out.

We talk. We cry. I do all I can to give them hope, sharing resources and reasons to live one more day, week, month  But unfortunately I can NOT promise them that their father will not beat them.  I can not promise them that they will not be kicked out onto the streets.  I can not promise they will be accepted and loved by their family.  Why? Because this is happening right here in our communities.

If people just simply lived the golden rule, my job would be so much easier. People often ask me, “What do you do?” I rattle off, “I’m a mom, grandmother, speaker, author, BUT do you REALLY want to know what do? I SAVE lives”  

AND…

It might be YOUR son, daughter, brother, sister, father, son-in-law that I am corresponding with – YOU don’t know and I will never tell, but I promise you if you REALLY knew them and you REALLY loved them you would see them as God sees them and you would LOVE them all the more, AND they would not be wondering if checking out of this life is a better option than telling you of their struggles.

They are some of the most spiritual, compassionate human beings I know.  If I had the means and the way, there would be no homeless teens living on the street, they would all live in my home, feel loved, needed and valued.

Our Savior Jesus Christ showed us the way – He forgave the repentant, healed the sick, and served without ceasing.

Above all, Jesus was the perfect example of love. “A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you. …” (John 13:34.)

When was the last time you put your arm around someone you know is gay, and asked, “How are you doing?”

When was the last time you invited someone you know is gay and their boyfriend or girlfriend over for dinner?

They are NOT contagious, they are NOT pedophiles, they will not teach your children to be gay – they are people – Just like YOU! They fear you as much as you fear them – they don’t know how you are going to respond – will you react with kindness and Christlike love or hatred and fear?

One of the most asked question I get from same-gender attracted young men is, “Why did God make me Mormon and Gay?”  a seemingly no-win situation that they have contemplated, pleaded and prayed over.  When I don’t know the answer, I resort to what I do know, “I know God lives and I know He loves all of His children.  He did not send anyone to earth to fail or to carry an unbearable cross. I know Joseph Smith was a prophet of God and that Thomas S. Monson is a true and living Prophet today. I know that Christ bled from every pore for me, you and yes, even our gay brothers and sisters.”  God has not given us all the answers, and I’m okay with that, I trust Him.

An Eternal Perspective  As stated on the official church website mormonsandgays.org“We live in an imperfect world. Not all the pieces of the puzzle seem to fit. But having an eternal perspective and believing in a just and merciful God gives us hope that all will work out in the end.”     

Two of the most asked questions from parents with a gay son or daughter are, “How do I embrace both my gay child and my LDS faith?” and “Can members of the church support marriage equality and still hold a temple recommend?”  The first question for me is easy to answer, the second question not so much.

Elder Todd Christofferson of the quorum of the twelve apostles answered those questions and many others in an interview with KUTV, following the passing of the Utah Non-Discrimination Bill, March of 2015.

Parents, miracles happen when you emulate love and kindness – it heals hearts, reunites and strengthens families and truly saves lives…

Dear mom and dad,

I am gay. I love you.

Please walk with me.

 

 

*Visit LDS Voice(s) of Hope to hear our journey, along with many other Voices of Hope.

5 Sure Ways to Be HaPpY

Choose to Be HaPpY

Choose to Be HaPpY

The tears surfaced and rolled down my cheeks as I observed poverty far greater than I thought humanly possible. As I walked the very streets that Mother Theresa walked in Kolkata, India, I noticed something peculiar as I looked beyond the trash, makeshift shanties and barefoot children. I saw smiles and heard laughter!

How could this be possible?  Didn’t they know what they were missing, lacking and deprived of?   Though their circumstantial challenges seemed great, they were happy – focused on what they DO have, not what they don’t.  Right before my eyes, I was witnessing what choosing to be happy looked like.

Be HaPpY

Holocaust survivor Viktor E. Frankl,  and author of Man’s Search for Meaning said, “Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.” 

Game changer.

I went to India to inspire, teach and change the world, but instead it was ME that was inspired, taught and changed.  Forever.  

I realized that if  I desired to live a JOY filled life it was up to ME – it was a choice. My choice.

“When you change the way you look at things the things you look at change.” ~Wayne W. Dyer

I have never been a materialistic person, well at least I thought I wasn’t.  Money didn’t grow on trees at my house, but I never felt I lacked any of the essentials.  There were days I stood in my closet staring at a long rack of clothes uttering “I don’t have a thing to wear.” Pathetic.  And there were days I opened the refrigerator, you know the big ice box that keeps food from spoiling for days and sometimes weeks on end, and while staring at shelves filled with food I mumble, “We don’t have a thing to eat – let’s go out.” Embarrassing. 

On the streets of Kolkata, I  made a conscious decision to be HaPpY. Yes, it’s no secret that life’s a rollercoaster filled with twists, turns and loop-de-loops.  I’ve yet to meet anyone who is challenge and trial free. And I would never pray to have less trials or to have my challenges removed – I feel that’s all part of the journey.

If Viktor Frankl is correct, and the only thing I am really in control of is my ability to choose my ATTITUDE then  I’m choosing to enJOY the journey every step of the way. It’s a choice.

I’ve discovered in my almost 52 years of life there are 5 sure ways to ensure HaPpY-ness.

1. Be Grateful.  Appreciate the little things.  Keep a gratitude journal at the side of your bed.  And at the end of each day write ONE thing that you are grateful for and FIVE reasons why.  This exercises creates a mind shift, training our brain to scan for happiness.  Being grateful adds beauty to life.

2.  Be Others Focused.  When you look for opportunities to serve expecting nothing in return, a beautiful thing happens; you forget about your worries and woes, endorphins are released, thus creating a shift in your mood. Being others focused brings joy to life.

3.  Be Creative – step outside the box.  Being creative adds pleasure to life – it puts the FUN in life and relationships. I love the dad who cut his jeans into short shorts to show his daughter that short shorts aren’t that cute – he demonstrated creative parenting.  I love him not just because he is my husband (smiley face), but because he looks for opportunities to lighten up tough or difficult situations.  That doesn’t mean to not take life serious, it just means to DO something each day that makes you and others smile.

“Smiling stimulates our brain’s reward mechanisms in a way that even chocolate, a well-regarded pleasure-inducer, cannot match.”

4.  Be YOU

 Family Fun 3

Everyone is an unrepeatable miracle.  Share your gifts and talents to lift and serve others.  Being YOU adds VALUE to life.

5.  Be Forgiving.  Forgive yourself and forgive others.  This is not always easy and it does not mean you are condoning whoever hurt you, it means you are CHOOSING to move forward, and a better person for it.

“To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you.”  ~Louis B. Smedes

As I incorporate these five actions, a paradigm shift happens, just as it did when I was in India.  I begin to automatically scan the world looking for good and to see the positive in people, situations and circumstances.  Beautiful.

Life’s Short Lesson: CHOOSE to be HaPpY.

Highlights of my trip to India.

Why We DO What We Do

photo 2 copy 13

Why we Do what we DO…

When Scott Mackintosh wore the shorty-shorts we were inundated with interviews, phone calls and emails, the message that stood out and drove us to SPEAK were the many that said,

“I wish someone cared that much about me to do something like that.”

THAT tugged at our hearts and spurred us to talk about issues surrounding self-esteem, self-worth and the confidence to dance the dance, even when others say you can’t.

Scott and I have had many cool, inspiring and motivating experiences in our life, along with lots of hard lessons learned. THIS equipped us with many true life stories that EMPOWER others, Build CONFIDENCE and MOTIVATES real change. It’s rewarding to see someone’s eyes light up when they are able to see themselves as God sees them.

When our son told us he was gay and two years later we decided to go public, the response was mind-bogling, again inundated with hundreds of emails opened our eyes to the GREAT need for us to continue to be open, honest and REAL about our experience and lessons learned. Not everyone wants to be an open book, but everyone I meet desires to feel loved, respected, accepted and valued for who they are and the diversity they bring. We choose to be their voice.

Therefore…

using humor, courage and a whole lot of LOVE, we SPEAK from our heart in an effort to motivate YOU to put the FUN back in LIFE and Relationships.

AND

THAT is why we DO what we DO.  

 

P.S.  To see where we speak NEXT, follow us on Facebook or visit us at LifesShortLessons.com