Sunday, June 18, 2006

Happy Father's Day, Dad.

[That's me in front holding the dog.]

One of the aspects of the Nicolosi / reparative therapy ideology (and it is an ideology, though it pretends to be science) that annoys me is the notion that I'm somehow this "broken" heterosexual that needs to get fixed -- and that the reason I'm broken is because my dad was a lousy father and my mom sucked as a mother.

I guess that's why my three brothers all ended up straight. What? They raised my brothers right but screwed up when they were raising me even though I came first?

I couldn't have asked for better parents. Sure, I complained about them all the time when I was growing up. They were too strict. They wouldn't let me wear long hair. They made us go to church. We couldn't drink.

But you know what? That house of ours was filled from top to bottom with love, and even when I felt I had to separate myself from them, in my 20s, in order to spare them what I knew would be a painful revelation -- that I was gay -- they never inflicted guilt, never played mind games, and they always let me know that I had a home with them.

I remember, particularly, when I first began on ships. I had a terrible accident in Bermuda on a moped. My arm was a bloody mess. I was stuck in someone's house waiting for the ship to get back to Boston. I called them and the first thing my dad said was, "Come home."

Come home.

I didn't realize until I got out of the house and began meeting other people how loving and how special these two people are. His devotion to my mother was never less than adoring. His sense of loyalty to his congregations never faltered. He never lifted himself up. He was never ego-driven.

I called him this morning and though his voice sounds older, he's still the same friendly, incredibly strong and loving man I grew up with. Our family was never rich. We lived in small rural communities or, even when we lived in large cities, he always pastored small, intimate congregations. But every single person he ever pastored knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that they could call on him for anything.

Anything.

And, to this day, I know that whatever I do, whether they "understand" the direction my life has taken or not, if I ever needed him, he'd be here in a heartbeat with the same message, "Come home."

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