🙂 Hi to all you beautiful people out there
This is our testimony (Helen & Harold Grebert) that we gave at the Sydney F2b(e) meeting in September so I just thought I would share it.
Our journey only started for our family as the parents of a gay son about 2 years ago.
Now, a little bit of past history that you may not know is that Sam just announced one day to Harold and I that he was moving to Sydney. No reason – no nothing – he was just going. We had no idea that he was gay. From a very young age he was just a typical kid who just lived for Jesus.
There was always other Christian kids at our place and even more so in his teenage years when he was Youth Pastor.
When Sam announced that he was moving, he was Pastor of a very successful faith-based church in Grafton that he planted 12 months previously. He was only 19 at the time – almost 20.
Harold and I totally supported this church and loved being there every Sunday to support him and interact with his congregation. When he announced he was leaving Grafton and handing over the church to someone else, it was a most gut-wrenching time in all our lives because he was just so passionate about it and so were we. It left a huge void in our lives.
You see, the lady he handed over the church to was also someone he trusted and confided in about his same sex attraction. This person then gossiped about him around town and this in turn led to quite a number of people knowing about Sam’s orientation even before Harold and I did. One lady I had known for many years (she also attended his church) actually stopped me in the street and asked me if Sam was gay. Of course, to this I replied “no” because I didn’t know at that point.
Sam came home for Easter in 2010. He was quite agitated that weekend and that’s when he told us. He only told us then because an old man who he also confided in and who is a real character and family friend, told him that if Sam didn’t tell us – he would – and he would have too!
I don’t know quite how I felt initially. Harold and I both didn’t say too much at the time.
I had a few tears – not too many because I recall that my first reaction was rather selfish when I look back on it, and that was of not being grandparents especially when Sam is an only child.
Harold’s reaction and comment was that Sam is old enough to make his own decisions and it doesn’t matter – we love him no matter what and we told him this.
When I reflect back over the last 2 years, it’s really quite funny how naïve we were as his parents. There was really no indication that Sam was gay ever except for one Christmas I remember he was about 3 or 4 years old and he let his older cousins hang the tree baubles on his ears like earrings and thought he was just great and had them on most of the day (sorry son).
Even when Sam first moved to Sydney he flatted with 3 gay guys in St Peters and we thought nothing of it. We stayed with them and got to know them quite well and we still didn’t put 2 and 2 together that he was gay.
As you probably already know, Sam also took me clubbing with him quite a few times when he was single to the gay clubs and we had a blast and I still didn’t click that he was gay. You are probably thinking – is this woman stupid or what? Well, Sam says I’m very liberal – not stupid, so that’s good.
Both our families know about Sam and none of them are bothered by it and just told us that “Sam is just the same as he was before they were told – it makes no difference”.
Harold and I have always been very broadminded people and have just accepted people for who they are. I grew up with a girl who I didn’t know was gay until in my early 20’s and she has been living with the same partner for over 33 years now.
Not only have Harold and I met some amazing new friends in Sydney in the Freedom2b(e) family, but we also now have another “son” in Ben and an extended family in the Greshams. Sam and Ben have helped each other immensely in their journey of reconciling their faith and sexuality and this is reflected in the relationship that they have shared over the last 12 months.
We, as parents, now see Sam as a very happy, gay young man who has come a long way in 2 years from being “out there” initially in the gay scene to now knowing and accepting who he is.
We love you guys and our door is always open (even though we live 10 hours away at present). We are actually moving to Sydney in the next 12-18 months so then our door will really be open to you all.
It’s been a pretty good journey for us really and a very big learning curve as well. Harold and I are like sponges – soaking up as much knowledge and understanding as we can where the gay community is concerned, as 2 years before, we knew really nothing.
One of the main highlights for me personally so far, is that of marching in the Mardi Gras alongside Sam this year. I felt so proud, not only of Sam but of everyone who marched. Harold will be joining us next year so I am so looking forward to that.
You are all amazing people, we love you all and everyone’s story is just so different and you all should be so proud of where you are at today.
I just want to finish with some words that are very special to our family and also relate to many of you here tonight. Some of you may not know, but we lost Harold’s mum and dad this year and his sister was diagnosed with leukemia in May also and is awaiting a bone marrow transplant as we speak and has been away from home (us) since May so it’s been a tough year so far.
These words were written on the chapel blackboard at the hospital the day that we lost Harold’s dad.
It’s called Today.
Today is ours – let’s live it
And love is strong – let’s give it
A song can help – lets sing it
And peace is dear – let’s bring it
The past is gone – let it go
Our work is here – let’s do it
The world is wrong – let’s right it
If evil comes – let’s fight it
The road is rough – let’s clear it
The future is vast – don’t fear it
Is faith asleep – let’s wake it
Today is ours – let’s take it
You are loved.