I’m writing this with trepidation and excitement at the same time. I don’t know how you’ll feel upon reading it, and some of this has been brimming over for a while. I just didn’t have the courage to tell you face to face.
I was walking over to your office the other day after a bad day at work and thought about our friendship, which has survived so many storms. I walked through those doors, and in your hand was a little box from Lady M.
“Here’s cake for you, I know you had a bad day,” you said, with that signature smile.
If people didn’t know any better, they’d think we were together. But nothing could be further than the truth. Not just because we both believe that men and women can have healthy platonic friendships. Not just because we really are just friends.
But because, well. You like men, and I do too.
I remember when we met, but I think what was more striking was how we connected years later, after a church conference had concluded and I had a sudden urge to pray for your heart defect. This was before the existence of WhatsApp, and I couldn’t wait till I got home to log on to MSN Messenger. So I dropped you a text, despite being two hours ahead and 6,000km away.
We hadn’t spoken in years and all of a sudden it was like we had lots to catch up on. Whenever I made trips home from Australia we’d meet up for copious amounts of hawker food. We’d talk about God and how life fits into the picture. We dreamed big dreams and it seemed nothing could stand in the way of them. Most of all, we ate. A lot.
I was certain that nothing could rock our friendship, but little did I know that you weren’t so sure.
Around this time four years ago you tentatively dropped me a message, asking if I’d attend Pink Dot with you. The question was moot, of course, as I was overseas at the time. But I was more curious about why you asked – and soon I felt you withdrawing from our friendship. I didn’t know how else to reassure you that nothing would change, no matter what. But I tried and prayed.
And one day, while you were on exchange and we were on Skype as you sat under a tree, you decided to tell me.
I saw you heave a sigh of relief as you flashed that signature grin.
“You’re the first Christian friend I’ve come out to.”
I don’t think you know this, but my heart broke at that statement.
It’s been nearly four years since, and I’ve seen you struggle with reconciling your faith and sexuality. We’ve made jokes, we’ve danced around the topic, we’ve cried together in prayer. I’ve seen you make truly heartbreaking choices. Each time I meet you in your place of pain, only to see you numb it in every way possible.
I understand your need to ease your suffering, but wish you could see: That price was paid 2,000 years ago. On the Cross.
I really wish you’d see that Jesus’ invitation – come as you are – was not made lightly. He really meant it – that He sees your scars, your wounds and inadequacies, and longs to cover it in love and grace. That’s His job, His specialty.
Perhaps you believe that God only loves those who look or act a certain way. That couldn’t be further from the truth – when He said He loves you with an undying love, He really meant it. His love just can’t die. Won’t.
Borrowing the words of the wonderful Shauna Niequist, sometimes the happiest ending isn’t the one you keep longing for, but something you absolutely cannot see from where you are.
He has never stopped loving you. And I never will.
It’s my prayer that you will come home.
I’ll be standing there with open arms. And so will He.