On Depression, Same-Sex Attraction, and Advent

Daniel Mattson

 

Last week I was on the phone with a man who lives with same-sex attraction. He told me the worst part of the day was getting up. The best part: going to bed. Each day is drudgery for him. He loves God, yet every day he wishes God would call him home. Just getting through each day feels like the greatest act of love he can give to God right now.

Another friend wrote me this past weekend, telling me she is experiencing bone-crushing loneliness. She too lives with same-sex attraction, lives alone, and is doing her best to be faithful to the call of chastity. Yet she is weary of living alone, always coming home to an empty house.

A man who lives on the other side of the world told me just after Thanksgiving that he has sex with men so he won’t feel so alone. His favorite part of being with a man, he says, is being held by the man he is with, after the deed is done. The sex is the key that unlocks the door for sharing intimate moments with a man who he can pretend, for a moment, loves him. He is profoundly lonely too.

ansel-adams-clearing-winter-storm-yosemite-national-park-california

Ansel Adams, Clearing Winter Storm

In the cold of winter, as the days grow shorter, and the clouds fill the sky with dreary monochrome, loneliness can freeze over the soul. Advent, we’ve always been told, is a season of waiting–but waiting for what, exactly? The life of the single person often feels like a perpetual Advent, a life filled with waiting, watching, and hoping that somehow, someway, someday, “life” will finally begin. The single life can seem like the waiting room to happiness, especially in one’s twenties and early thirties, as friend after friend gets married and starts a family, while the question one fears to ask grows like a thundercloud, (felt so heavily in Advent, with each Christmas card received, featuring pictures of smiling, happy families, next to a Christmas tree): “What about me, dear God? What Joy to the World is there for me? ‘No more let sins and sorrows grow, nor thorns infest the ground?’ Bah, Humbug!”

This is not an essay where I will turn the corner from the thorns and sorrows, to visions of verdant and green pastures. Part of Advent is painful. It’s a time for sorrow. For waiting. For recognizing that we live in a valley of tears, “in a dry and weary land, where there is no water.” This is a post for the lonely, the heartbroken, the tired and the hopeless. I won’t offer here something to take away the pain, except to say that this Advent, I desire to enter into people’s loneliness, and carry it with them, since I know how heavy a burden it is. Sometimes, the wisest thing we can do is to sit in silent waiting, alongside those who are in profound pain and suffering, just like the friends of Job did. This, I’m convinced, is part of what we are called to do while we wait for the coming of Our Lord.

Pray for lonely people this Advent. Pray for single people. Pray for the divorced. Pray for the widow. Pray for women who wished to be married and have a family, but are still single, with no hope of ever being a mother now. Pray for men and women with same-sex attraction who dread the specter of living alone. Pray for the misunderstood, the betrayed, the abused, the sick and the dying and the bereft. Seek them out. Sit with them. Walk with them. Perhaps most of all, think of them as if they were Mary and Joseph, with no place to lay their heads, and in the painful and cold waiting of Advent, invite the lonely and heartbroken into your home.

Perhaps what they have been waiting for is you.

 

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9 thoughts on “On Depression, Same-Sex Attraction, and Advent

  1. Beautiful, Dan….good job. The loneliness is hitting me hard this month too…coming up on the 1 yr anniversary of mom’s passing. On the day she died, while family streamed in to say their goodbyes and we waited for the mortician to come, I busied myself with taking down all the outside Christmas decorations. January 11th. This year my sister Terry with whom I live did the decorating. I can’t bring myself to do it. I’m not alone, but that doesn’t quell the lonely, or the temptations to reach for the digital (or actual) crotch. We walk together. I hope your Advent and Christmas brings you an interior joy and peace. Jeron

    On Mon, Dec 10, 2018, 23:11 Letters to Christopher wrote:

    > D. C. Mattson posted: “Last week I was on the phone with a man who lives > with same-sex attraction. He told me the worst part of the day was getting > up. The best part: going to bed. Each day is drudgery for him. He loves > God, yet every day he wishes God would call him home. Just” >

  2. I will be praying for all the lonely people. If each of us is lonely, then we are together in that (from a movie). That’s all. I will be praying and we can meet and join each other in prayer.

  3. The guy’s feelings in your first story is how I feel for some years now. Every now and then a/some fleeing ray/s of happiness come/s in to shine through the perpetually heavy thunderclouds of my life and then its dark again. Thank God for the Courage group in my country.

  4. I found this to be very depressing. Sorry. I think taking one for the church – who is in a way very hateful and marginalizes us – is sort of like participating in our own abuse. I for one feel very abandoned right now.

    • I’m sorry you feel very abandoned right now. Feel free to write me, if you’d like. I don’t feel the Church is hateful to me or marginalizes me at all. But I do understand feeling depressed and lonely during the holidays. My email is letterstochristopherblog @ gmail

  5. Hello, I thought it was very interesting what you wrote, I also live with same sex attraction and one of the challenges I am facing is loneliness and seeing how my friends are building a family. At the beginning it hurt a lot, however, now I understand that I can see it as a challenge and that I have never really been alone, since God has been by my side, giving me his grace. Greetings.

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