Trust Me. No One Was More Surprised Than Me.

James is a good friend.  People are always surprised, after reading his posts online, to find out that James is a mere 19 years old.  Or, as I tell people, James is 19 going on 40.  He possesses an intellect and maturity I have not seen in a lot of young men his age.

I love James.  A lot.  No idea why.  And trust me, I once worried about this a lot.  Worry about developing inappropriate closeness, a relationship that was gay in everything but actions, etc.  Prayed about it, worried about it, fretted about it until one day God asked me to just kindly keep Him first, shut up about my worries and learn to enjoy a good gift that He’d given me.  “You prayed about learning to love people better, that there was no love in your life; now I give you some and you complain and worry?  Little man, kindly remove the olive branch from thine hindquarters and learn to live, wouldja?”

So, there’s me.  Learning to be happy.  Learning to lean on God first, to fill myself up with His love and His mercy and His kindness and then go share it with the friends I’ve been blessed (and cursed!) with.  Reveling in the change this has brought in my heart!  Having a really good time these days.

But that concern for holiness in my relationship with James never goes away.  And try as I might, like a dog with a toy that vexes him, I secretly take those feelings out and examine them for signs of pending sin.  Yes, I know, you keep playing with something rough like that and you’re going to break it.  Can’t help it.  Spiritual OCD.

So I’m sitting here one evening, praying for James, thinking about how this relationship came to be, and it hit me.  A light turned on in my soul and God sorta did a spiritual hipcheck as if to say yeah, that’s it.  You hit it.

 Mancrush?  No, not really.  A crush doesn’t have solid reasons.  I can effortly list a dozen.

The feelings aren’t fraternal.  Well, yes, some fraternal.  We’re brothers in Christ.  That cameraderie is there.  Definitely.

But there is more there.  A pride I can’t define; a joy in watching his accomplishments and discoveries.  The weird and wonderous joy in watching a life that’s just beginning unfolding and finding his place in God’s universe.  Watching a man saddled with weights and burdens no one his age should ever have to deal with rise and not just a little.  In amounts and ways that glorify God, he is victorious over much.  He has not been made inflexible by pain and age and bitterness; he is flexible, open-minded, and willing to change his mind and behavior if the argument for same is cogently posed.  He has a strong, clear, and inflexible moral code.  It is his desire for others to see Jesus in him and I admire him for that, more than I can possibly imagine.

Holy cow.  You know what that is, don’t you?  Those feelings aren’t only fraternal.

Those feelings are paternal.

It shocked me into speechlessness at first.  Then I laughed.  Laughed until I cried.  Scared the cat, even.  Me?  Some just-slightly-beyond-middle-aged man who feels like a forever-frozen 18 year old?  Some guy who can’t get his sexuality in order, has a broken sense of masculinity and lives every day under the grace of Jesus Christ for his myriad sins and failures, has fatherly feelings for a young man?

Laughed then, laughing now writing this.

And somewhere deep in my heart, the joy got a little brighter.  Maybe the masculinity isn’t as broken as I think it is.  Maybe God’s work in me, through all the stumbling and groping in the dark, is still active and deep.  Maybe God’s love is more powerful and transformative than I think it is.  And maybe, just maybe, God’s love for me is as deep and epic and far-reaching as I’ve begun to realize.  Probably moreso.

Thank you, Jesus.  Thank you so much for leading my broken heart always closer to being the man you’ve planned for me to be.  Thank you for your overwhelming faithfulness.  I look forward to all the other joyful discoveries in my life.  This one was a scream.

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~ by WriterRand on March 26, 2008.

5 Responses to “Trust Me. No One Was More Surprised Than Me.”

  1. I’m glad you’re realizing that you aren’t as broken as you thought you were, FG. One of the main reasons I feel somewhat isolated from other strugglers is because many of them send across the impression that they feel they are too broken to have good, holy, relationships… just on account of their sexual tendencies alone. We aren’t any more broken than the straight men who deal with lust (and that’s every straight man!)

    I mean, really… Why do you think it’s strange that you can feel fatherly feelings for someone else? Aren’t even those who are not in Christ capable of that kind of love? Spiritually, aren’t they much worse off than you? Why should your sins and struggles affect that, then? God removes sin and shame completely. You know this.

    James is indeed a great guy and I’m glad you have such a good friendship with him. I mean, I’m 19 (and, some would say, a little mature for my age), but James has me beat in the maturity level by far! He’s gonna get a kick outta this, too, I’m sure.

  2. Well, it’s a sign that I’ve quit looking for a “daddy” type and I’m becoming one. One of the first positive signs I’ve seen in my reorientation. A signpost on the journey, and a great one at that. It’s surprising because I really hadn’t given that shame much thought as BEING shame; it just seemed a level of life that I would never reach myself because the thought of ever having children seems so dim and far away. God’s way of reminding me that there’s the family that you’re born into, and then there’s the family you make.

    He knows the mash note is coming; I think the “paternal” thing will be new to him. He’ll roll with it, I’m sure. 😉

    FG

  3. This sounds wonderful, FG. I’m really happy for you. 🙂

  4. I will talk to James this weekend and encourage him to comment here.

  5. We certainly shouldn’t avoid all close male friendships just because there is danger. You can’t accomplish much wothwhile unless you take risks!

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