My Son is a Miracle to Me
From an ex-gay Jewish father
He plays basketball and soccer with confidence and effortless grace, always looking for a pick-up game. He often joins games with bigger guys than him, and earns their respect by skill, hustle, and focus.
He's not afraid to push forward on offense, asserting himself against the man who's covering him - and doggedly in-your-face on defense. He argues the fouls and fine points without a shred of shame, weakness, or waffling.
Both men and women find his directness, vigor, and open smile disarming. He's received some hand-knitted sweaters from admirers, and appreciates fine things - but when a game or adventure is on, he is oblivious to mud, thorns, gravel, or minor scrapes, and the sweater winds up on a bush beside the playing field, his body and breath radiating warmth.
Somehow the dirt and sweat look good on his muscular frame. The smile that gives way in a moment to sharp focus, the dirty blond hair that catches the sun, the power and grace of the limbs...
He's eight years old.
He's my son.
Believe me, I don't have to fake the look of awed, jubilant adoration when I see him play. He is a miracle to me.
I never was or will be a jock. And I don't have to be, for him. I just have to be there, his dad. I know how basketball is played, and have learned enough to follow soccer. I photograph. I shout.
He runs over to me, gives me a hug. T
his is my Dad. Then he is back in the game.
I am here, on a midweek afternoon, with the handful of fathers who had the sense to realize that work is just work. There is a spiritual calculus that transforms need and lack into giving and power. This is how it works: these playing fields have painful, shameful, fatherless memories for me. Because of what I went through, I make the time to be here. Straw and thorns are thus spun into gold.
I do not have to be a super jock. He has a very good coach. I am not the tallest, most muscular father, nor do I have the fanciest camera. I have only to be his Dad. To look at him like he's a miracle, the best - not a hard assignment...
Everyone dealing with homosexual attractions can achieve this - especially the younger guys. Each of you can become a loving, and loved, husband and father.
This does not belong to some unattainable, perfectly imagined future - I was hitting video booths for weeks after this kid's birth and circumcision, when my old insecurities bubbled up. During his childhood I have gone on the internet, flirted with men at health clubs, cruised during business trips. I have not always been there for this kid - and the others - as I would like. But in the sum total, in the aggregate, success happens. In messy, unsatisfying incomplete steps and painful patches of inconsistency.
That's how you, too, will get there.
Example: shutting off the computer and going to my son's ball game was one small action, acting on my deepest truth. Healing is made up of many of these small moments of integrity, of being true to yourself. Houses, homes are sticks held together by nails. Each integrity choice is a nail, building your soul's new home - and sealing doors from which foul winds blow.
Everyone struggling with same-sex attractions can attain this. Every one of us can transform need and lack into the power to give, into positive resolve. Everyone of us can become a lover of others, have a family and community to love.