Anger; managing my anger, is the hardest part. I expend a lot of energy trying to the keep the rage in a cage. Sometimes, on a good day, I can harness some of the energy (because anger generates it’s very own type of very potent energy) and try to actually do something that might possibly change the status quo.
As a part of my anger management regime, I pick and chose my battles. There are some issues, sore spots, that I just walk away from. I’m also careful about where I get my news and information. If it’s a really bad loss for “my side” (like on Friday, when the highest court in New York state rejected any right to gay marriage) I read about it in the New York Times; the news may be bad, but a least the prose are good.
And then, there’s the unexpected…it’s happened a couple of times. I’m been going along, minding my own business, and someone opens the rage’s cage. Like when the phone rang one Thursday morning. I answered, hoping that it’d be my wife. It wasn’t. It was woman taking a survey – would I mind? It’ll only take a minute. “Sure. Why not?” I thought. “She’s already interrupted me. May as well find out what she wants.” Her first question when like this – “We strongly believe that marriage is between one man and one woman. Do you strongly agree? Strongly disagree? Moderately agree? or Moderately disagree?” Needless to say, we never got to her second question.
These flash points came unexpectedly, and sometimes they are triggered by people that I love and care about, at a time and in a setting where I’m comfortable – like at coffee hour after the hymn sing at church on Sunday. I’m talking with this guy – a nice guy, someone I’ve known and prayed with for more than 15 years – and he his take on today’s constitutional convention is same-sex marriage will be on the ballot in ’08, the people, will vote it down, and life will move on.
It is then, aftersomeone says something like that, that the real test begins. What do I do? How do I respond? What can I say that they will actually hear and understand? With the survey taker the first thing I had to do was set aside my offense of that the question is even asked and then I told her that I am gay, I am married and I am extremely angry. But the point here isn’t about my experience, because, my day-today experience, my life, is pretty nice. My wife and I married together long before the Goodwin case was decided. We have two really wonderful kids, a nice house, productive jobs. We can afford to travel. We have a grill in the backyard and sometimes the neighbors stop by for burgers and hot dogs. We live openly and we are safe. At times I have felt the grace of God’s love and abundance. But what about the folks who can’t live open, safe lives? What about them? And for me, that’s what this is all about.