Continued from “Part 1”
During the five years that I tried to go straight again, I decided that I had to see my son again. I didn’t care what I had to do. I couldn’t stand it any more. All those years they wouldn’t even let me have a picture of him. I had some wonderful straight friends who knew their family well, other pentecostals I might add but quite liberal and they always kept me informed as to how my boy was doing and if he was well and happy. His mother had remarried and his grandparents had him for a long time.
His grandparents were having a big campmeeting at their church and so I decided to get dressed up and just attend their happy affair. As I drove up onto the church property I saw him walking across the parking lot with some other young people. I recognized him instantly. I had not seen him in eight years. I was shaking all over but I was detemined not to give up unil I had gotten a good look a him close up. I had prayed so hard for several days. “God, if you’ll just let me see him, I’ll be alright. I won’t make a fuss or cause any trouble . I just have to see my baby one more time.”
I walked in and sat down in the middle of their service. I knew that even tho these were radical pentecostals they likely wouldn’t make a scene with so many of their fellow church leaders around. The guest speaker must have recognized me because he threw in some scathing remarks about homosexuals in his sermon. I guess they can’t help it. I saw my ex-wife make my son leave the group of young people he was sitting with and come up front and sit by her. Poor little fellow, he could not help glancing over his shoulder to get a look at me. Today, I would walk to the very front of the place in sight of all of those so-called children of God and take him in my arms and tell him how much I cared for him. Then, I didn’t want to make a scene and cause him any harm.
I left that meeting early and started down the road. I was crying and sobbing to God in gratitude for allowing me to see him again and suddenly I stopped the car. I told God, I know I promised that just seeing him would be enough but I can’t let him go yet. I just can’t. So, I turned around and went back to their reception, got me a plate and sat down at a table just like I belonged there. His grandmother actually brought him over within a short distance of where I was sitting and introduced me to my own son. It was grand. After they walked away, a young girl walked up and whispered into my ear. “Robert wants to see you.”
I followed their instructions and went into a vacated sanctuary and began playing the piano quietly. He and one of his cousins slipped in through a side door. Without even looking up, I softly said, “son, I want you to know I love you and I always have.” He was quiet for a moment and then he said, “Daddy, I gotta go.” And then he was gone.
Something went through me. It was if a shadow passed over me. When he spoke, I heard mysef speak, the same tender, soft voice.
I didn’t hear from him again intil he was nineteen and we talked for one hour. He called me again when he was twenty. There were all kinds of questions he wanted to ask about being gay, some very personal and I have the strangest notion he already knew the answers but he just wanted to hear it from me. I knew. In my heart I knew but I prayed it wasn’t true. I wanted him to be straight. I didn’t want to go through the life and heartbreak that I had. As a gay father, I wanted my son to be a straight, normal boy like everyone else and have a happy, accepted life.
He married at the same age I did and had two beautiful children. It was decided that it might be best that I did not attend the wedding. He married a pentecostal girl from the church he attended. I tried to talk man to man with him before he got married and he assured me he was straight and was offended that I tried to imply anything different . Less than five years later, he left his wife and children and came out. I didn’t take it well. It fractured every thread I thought I had left. I told him to go back to his wife and children, that he didn’t know what kind of life this was out here and ………… I prayed. In my heart I knew wouldn’t do any good. Once he found out who he really was, there was no going back.
Today, he has a wonderful relationship with his children and always has. They are very close and they love their daddy so very much because he has been there for them, seen them and loved them no matter what. My grandchildren know who I am today and I see them as often as I can.
He’s a chip off the old block. You wouldn’t believe it. He is also a spirit filled christian and loves God. It’s been a rough road for him because the pentecostal ex-wife faces the same issues from her church that we all did and …………..here we go again.
But he’s my son and I love him and he loves me. We have a unique kind of relationship and sometimes we can both just be sisters and camp and carry on like two queens. Most often, I’m just an ordinary father who gives his son advice and worries about the kids and what their life is going t be like in the future. God said he would “restore the years the locusts had eaten” and he’s doing that today. I guess I’m pretty lucky.