It Ain’t All Roses

Let’s be honest: it doesn’t matter so much the choices we make in moments of peace, conviction and clarity. What matters is whether or not we stick to them at the times when we don’t want to.

One thing that I want to be clear about in my writings on choosing to follow the teachings of the Church is that often I don’t want to do it. Often I find myself asking the question, “why should all of this matter? Why can’t I just go find a guy and live the way I want to live my life?” Sometimes it can be exhausting and sometimes sad and depressing.

Lately I’ve been feeling this way. It’s one thing to recognize that truth, beauty and good exist in the teachings of the Catholic Church, but when those teachings conflict with some of your deepest desires, well, that’s when you have to make the hard choices.

Deep down, I want to be a man who lives a chaste life. But the next door neighbor to that deep down desire is the desire to find a man to share my life with, including enjoying a sexually active life with him.

I don’t ever want to convey in my writing, or in my public speaking, that I’ve got all of this figured out, or that somehow God has brought such peace and tranquility to my life because I’m trying to follow the teachings of the Church that I somehow look back on the relationships I’ve had in the past with a baffled and confused recollection where I say to myself, “what was I thinking back then?”  Nor do I want to ever convey the notion that I’ve somehow reached the mountaintop of clarity and transcendence where I see my desires for men as something trifling, or desires that can easily be ignored “because I know the truth.” Nor do I want to convey the view that I’m never lonely, or never depressed, or never frustrated by the choice I’ve made to try my best to follow the teachings of the Church. That would just be dishonest. There is no benefit in telling your story if the truth is shellaced over by disingenuous saintly smiles.

Let me be clear on another front too: there are still plenty of moments when I truly feel great contentment in my single life, and where the choice to pursue celibacy is easy-peazy.

Now is not one of those times. Now is a time when I’d like to find a guy to date and to share my life with, or to just find “Mr. Right Now,” but this is not a choice I’m willing to make.

It ain’t easy, and it ain’t a bed of roses.

But I’ve made my bed, and I will lie in it.

And it will be empty, except for me.

(That’s maudlin and depressing, so I’m going to show a picture of my pup Sophie who gets to sleep in my bed–and sometimes takes it over.)


“Though He slay me, still I will trust in Him.” Job 13:15


20 thoughts on “It Ain’t All Roses

  1. I have noticed that this mood is going around a lot lately. Perhaps, it’s the changing of the weather; perhaps it is contagious. In any case, I will keep you in my prayers.

    • Thanks–I do think some things in life are cyclical and affected by the seasons. Which I suppose is to be expected in incarnate beings, right? Thanks for the prayers! I find it goes better for me when I let others know that I’m going through a rough patch, and I suppose in part this blog is helpful for that.

  2. Gosh, Dan, today you a textbook example of one who is faithfully living St. Ignatius’s rule #5 for the discernment of spirits in which we are instructed that when in a state of desolation we must never make a change from a resolution made prior to that desolation or in a time of consolation. (Fr. Timothy Gallagher does such a fantastic job in his book, The Discernment of Spirits: An Ignatian Guide to Every Day Spirituality and in the companion podcasts, of explaining how to manage the inevitable desolations that comes our way.

    “O Lord, what is it to me whether I feel or do not feel, whether I am in darkness or in light, whether I have joy or suffering, when I can be recollected in the light created in me by Your words? … I quickly turn my gaze upon You, my divine Master, to be delivered by You… I will exalt You above Your sweetness and sensible consolations, for I am resolved to pass by all else in order to be united with You” (Blessed Elizabeth of the Trinity).


    O Eternal Word, Word of my God, would that I might spend my life listening to you, would that I might be fully receptive to learn all from you; in all darkness, all loneliness, all weakness, may I ever keep my eyes fixed on you and abide under your great light; O my Beloved Star, fascinate me so that I may never be able to leave your radiance (Blessed Elizabeth of the Trinity).

    Grace and peace be with you, my friend. Might the day come quickly in which your emotions, your mind, and your will are comfortably playing in harmony again. In the meantime your readers have a privileged glimpse into the inner workings of a man whose soul is functioning as it ought, with passions properly subordinated to intellect and will. Might we each be inspired by your example in our individual battlefields.

      • You got me. I am, in fact, a gerbil (How did you know?). So, as down right cool as a giant, radioactive lizard disguised as a fuzzy little canine is, I guess I’ll have to keep my distance. I hope you are receiving some consolation in this hard time.

      • 🙂 Good to know, Ryan. I’ll keep Sophie on a tight leash if we ever meet.

        It’s good to spend time with friends, which I’ve been doing quite a bit of time lately, which is quite helpful.

  3. Please know that your writing is an encouragement. The recommendation on St. francis de Sales’ Letters in recent post was also helpful. God bless.

    • Thank you Dave for the encouragement. It’s good to hear that, and I’m glad you found the stuff about St. Francis de Sales helpful. I hope eventually to have his whole library. He’s really helped me out quite a bit.

      God bless you

  4. I wish I had the words to console you…….I hope this doesn’t sound too trivial…. these lyrics help me keep things in perspective when the dry winds blow in…..

    God Bless You, thank you for your honest and sincere writing, and will keep you in prayer

  5. Dan, your post is appreciated because of your honesty, but also because of your convictions. God will reward you. Keep up the good work. You are helping many, many souls and He must be very pleased with you. Praying a Hail Mary for you…

  6. Praying for you and with you! I’ve had several family members who shared your struggle and feel led to share that the one who was most victorious in that battle was a beloved aunt who found the remedy to her sufferings in returning to the Church and through daily Mass and Eucharistic Adoration. May you be blessed with similar hope and consolation. She died in a state of grace and at peace! May life lead you to the same glorious end/beginning, when all the struggles of this life will end and the glory of Eternity with God awaits! May St. Andre Bessette, St. Peter Damian, and all of God’s holy angels and saints be with you and assist you always.

    Closing with a Memorare, for all your intentions:
    Remember O Most Gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known, that anyone who fled to thy protection, implored thy help or sought thy intercession was left unaided. Inspired by this confidence we fly unto thee, O Virgin of virgins, our Mother. To thee we come, before thee we stand, sinful and sorrowful. O Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not our petitions, but in thy mercy hear and answer us. Amen.

    • Thanks for the kind and encouraging words, as well as your prayers. I am intrigued by your aunt’s story. I found that the only solution has been in the Church as well, so I do hope that my end will be like your aunt’s. I’d be curious to know more about her story, either here, or in an email, if you feel so inclined to share. I’m wondering about her age, since you say she has passed. Was she “out and proud,” or was this a more private affair? There seem to be a lot of generational differences in experiences of those who live with same sex attraction, and I’m always interested in the experience of those who grew up in different times than I.

  7. Praying for you, I’m a catholic male who is attracted to the same sex and I understand what you are going through. During my college years, i had a community of men I could bond with without it becoming sexual. Unfortunately those days are over, and I’ve been reeling ever since. Some others have come into my life, but only briefly. People are always on the move for other opportunities. It’s hard not to get discouraged. I’m thinking of you and be blessed brother.

    • Thanks for the comment and the prayers! Thankfully, I have a good network here of friends that are pretty permanent, and I’m grateful for that in my life. But I know it may not always be so, but I trust God will take care of that when the time comes.

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