I do not know how to do this. I do not know how to begin. I almost feel like I am confessing, but I don’t see where I went wrong or how. Still guilt permeates my heart as I write you this. I feel a little ashamed.
Father, it is not a habit, or a character I picked up as I grew up. It is not a teenage phase. I know some of my friends do not know the Lord, but this has nothing to do with the company I keep. None of them is like me. For what it’s worth, you are my best company; our family has always been close knitted. And if it be true, as you always say, that a man is determined by his company, then father, I hardly know what to think.
But, I think this is who I am. And dear father, do not blame me for whom or what I am. I think I was born this way.
I had never thought about it before I noticed it, I didn’t even know it existed. Father, please, understand that I was scared the first time I noticed my difference. Imagine how heavy and terrible such discovery would have been for a young boy. I so tried to tell you or mother about it. I knew it wasn’t something you would want to hear, I knew, deep down that I should bear the cross alone.
I can’t fight it anymore, I have tried; I have done all a man would do, and I have done what any believer would do. But, Sir, I can’t continue like this. Something has to give, or I die. This is the first time a third ear would hear this. But you deserve to be that third ear.
You must have forgotten Jude, my classmate in Junior secondary; his father used to drive the brown Passat, their house used to be close to the police station, his mum worked in the ministry. They came to the church once or twice before they moved. It was Jude that made me first notice my difference. He brought these magazines of naked women with him to school; forgive me father, I had to look. Everyone else did. If I had known what they were I wouldn’t have looked. The pictures repulsed me. I asked the Lord to forgive me.
Father, there is more. Again I was with Jude, in their home. His sisters were in the shower with two of their friends. We went to the window behind, and we watched them. I was repulsed at the sight of those girls, but Jude had his mouth open and his eyes too, I couldn’t drag my eyes from him. Do not begin to think that I got the way I am because of Jude, no. I only learnt more about myself through him. He is not like me, he doesn’t know my kind. He got married last year.
That day you caught me kissing Deaconess Biodun’s daughter, the tall one in the choir; father, she was the one kissing me. I was as repulsed as you were disappointed. There were more encounters of that nature as I grew older and went through University. But something was wrong. I knew it, but the possibility was inconceivable, so I refused to accept it.
I have wished to be normal like every other man; I have even tried to be. But, father, one can never be more than his nature. I don’t like this nature. To be different is sometimes charming and alluring, but I didn’t want to be this different. To be unique in this…way of mine goes against all you have ever taught me and all that I have ever believed. Why has God refused to change this different nature of mine? I thought he could do all things? I am ashamed to be asking this kind of question, one would think I am a baby in Christ. But father, perhaps, there is nothing to change, and perhaps this is God’s nature too. Or is it that God can only change the nature of sin? Father you know more of these things, you can ask God about it too, he has been silent on my own queries.
You know I love the lord; I had no choice in that matter, you made me know the saviour. But, I prayed about this. I fasted, and I queried the lord. Still I am as I am. I am the creature of God, made in his image and born under the tutelage of a servant of God, if I am twisted or have a nature from the pit of hell, how come? Where did the devil come in, how did he do it, at creation or under your watchful eyes?
I am a child of God; I am as holy as can be. Is it true that anybody born like me is not of God, and is not saved? I feel saved, I even have a relationship with God; the lord is with me, I am sure of that, but sometimes I just wonder if I do not believe in a lie. For a long time I have felt like a fraud, praying and being active in the service of the Most High. But, something has always felt off, ever since I knew my difference. But I could not leave the lord, I cannot still. There was and is no other way. He is all I know. I grew up in the scriptures. But, still, father, whose report should I believe? To believe the report of the Lord is confusion, because if I am in his image and you all are in his image, then why am I thus? Why am I so…darkly different? If I believe the report of the world, I would still be damned; father, that is unthinkable.
Do not blame yourself too, father, you have two other sons, and they are not like me. We grew in the same house, went to the same schools, were tutored at your feet, and had almost all our experiences together. Still, father, I turned out the way I am. It is no fault of yours. All the experiences and training of a man can improve his make, but they can never change his nature. Gold can only be gotten from men of gold. Perhaps, I am a bronze man. A man of bronze will forever be bronze, despite education, despite his training, and in spite of his father’s words. Your two other sons are made with gold.
Whatever a man is is due to his make.
Still, father I do not think it is fair that this should happen to the perfect family you have raised in the way of the Lord. It is not fair at all. Again, I feel terrible that I would be the blight in this perfect circle. I fear that I would be the cause of the clichéd stories of a Preacher’s son gone bad; of a father close to the Lord, and the son gone to the devil. Father, I haven’t gone to the devil.
To be a Preacher’s son is not an easy life, I must tell you too. But we, your children never failed you. You know you are proud of us. I haven’t brought you any shame, until now. I know what this would do to the church, I can only apologise.
I don’t know how mother would take this; please keep her strong, it could kill her. If it be any consolation, tell her I haven’t been intimate with anyone, I am still chaste and pure. But I have met someone, and I must tell you, it doesn’t feel wrong being together. When we are together I am at peace. I almost feel the same ambience I feel when in church, the same joy, same completeness, and there is no guilt. Meeting this someone is part of the reason I write you this.
If things were different I would be introducing you to my partner. But, I don’t see how possible that can be. You taught me to wait for marriage before getting intimate with anyone. Father, I have tried, I have held on this long. But it seems to me there is no other way to live, but in sin. Do not be too shocked.
You will never understand my feelings; I am not writing these for your understanding, I am just pouring my heart to you. It is my own way of coming to terms with myself. If I can tell you this long held secret of mine, then I’m finally in acceptance of it. No one else will understand it, except the few that are like me. But the few people that are like me are wrong for me, they take alcohol and do drugs and fornicate and have piercings everywhere. They look crazy. They are all sinners. I can’t be in their company. I wish there were people like me in the saviour’s flock, perhaps they are in hiding.
I fear it would be a lonely road I must tread, lonely in this life, in both thoughts and preferences, even with my partner. Already you all think I am quiet, but father, think back, was I always these silent and withdrawn? It began when this load of difference was laid on me. Yes it was laid on me, I never sought for it.
I know you still might not know what I have been talking about; I know you wouldn’t skip to the end of this letter to find out. You are a man of principle; everything must be in sequence and in proper order. It’s an admirable quality. When you get to the end of this, I know you will read this over and over again, thinking that your world just ended. It is not your world that has been shaky. Your world is intact. Dear father, forget about your reputation for now, forget about the church, and what people would say, forget about sin and righteousness, about black and white, forget about all, and think of me. Think of me; think of the grey between the black and the white, think of similarities and semblances, think of shadows, think of likelihoods and possibilities.
It is not a tall order, you are a smart man and God is with you; think, father, think.
Above all, Sir, remember me, as your boy, your first proof of manliness, the excellence of your might. Look back and see me grow up, remember your wonder at my birth, see me take those first tottering steps and hear again the sound as I called you daddy that first time. Focus on the innocence and fragile helplessness, remember my tears.
Remember me with love, father, for I am still your dear son.
Even though I am gay.