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