Thanks for your note. Your son will certainly be in my prayers. I remember well when I was about your son’s age, and I was very angry too, and became very angry at my family. (Not for the same reasons as your son, but I really didn’t want to have anything to do with them). My family walked on eggshells around me back then, but now, all is well. I think your son is in a necessary time away from God, if my story is any example. For some of us, we only know how God loves us by leaving him behind completely. It is painful to watch a son make such bad choices, but God wants you to remember that He’s more concerned about your son’s redemption even than you are. I’ve become convinced that the pain and sorrow that a family feels at the poor choices of a son or daughter is something that can be offered up on behalf of the redemption of their child. The greatest way you can help bring about the redemption of your son is to unite whatever sufferings you endure–as a result of his choices–on behalf of his redemption. I think that gives a purpose to the sorrow and pain that you feel right now. There must always be hope, and there must always be a way God redeems our suffering, and for me, I know that parents and their suffering play a vital role in the redemption of their child. The “further sorrow” you speak about, resulting from your son’s current disposition, is allowed by God to be turned around and redeemed as part of the source of your son’s redemption. I think this is the only way St. James’s words in James 1:2 can make any sense: “Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials.” Naturally, no joy will ever be felt when we suffer, but I’m convinced we can endure it if we find purpose and meaning behind suffering, and in the beautiful paradox that is always present in God’s redemption, that which is most painful becomes that which is most powerfully redeemed by God–and surprisingly, the source of great joy. Thus, the pain caused by a child’s poor choices becomes an opportunity to love the child producing the pain and sorrow, by uniting that pain to the suffering of the Christ on the Cross, on behalf of the child. God’s redemption is beautiful in that regard, and I’m confident that your son will be redeemed, certainly in part by your willingness to “offer it up.”
The timing of God is always perfect too–Oscar Wilde reconciled with the Church on his deathbed, which was exactly the right time. (I pray and trust that this won’t be the case with your son!) Perhaps the hardest thing in the redemption of a child is waiting on God to act. But then that becomes an opportunity to grow in your faith in God. I think it’s hard to wait for God in all of this, but I’m confident that God is in control, and He has his eye on your son and is pursuing him. I didn’t come back to the Church until I was 38, eleven years hence for your son. Don’t expect too much, too soon, I would caution, and be prepared to endure more pain and sorrow–but when it comes, always view it as an opportunity to love your son even more. The more angry he gets at you, the more pain you will feel, and therefore the more suffering you can unite with the Cross, on his behalf.
Can I recommend that you consider attending the Courage Conference this summer at Mundelein Seminary? This is a great resource to families who love a child who’s chosen to pursue a life of active homosexuality. I think finding an EnCourage group would help you greatly. It’s so hard for parents who love their children, and see clearly what the child doesn’t see, and we all need help in dealing with such a painful experience. The Conference also allows you to speak with men who can give you hope for your son, since we’ve all come to learn the truth about the Church, and chosen to embrace. But–we came back at precisely the right time–in God’s Providence. The waiting is hard, and the fear that it will never happen is a great temptation too, which we need to avoid, because that leads to despair, and away from peace.
I’ve written a recent essay on advice to parents, which might be helpful too: http://www.legatusmagazine.org/dealing-with-same-sex-attraction/
Please cling to the belief that even now, God is working to bring your son home in ways that you can’t imagine, and that it will probably be in a way, and at a time, that seems strange, or surprising, or certainly later than you’d like. I think the story of the man healed at the Pool of Bethesda is important to remember. It’s the only time in the Gospel that I know of where we know the age of the person being healed: 38. That’s about when I came back to the Church, and it was exactly the right time for that man. He had a Divine Appointment with the King of Kings when he turned 38, not 28, and perhaps this will be the case with your son. Sooner isn’t always better. I needed to journey away from my Father’s house for quite some time before I knew what I was missing.
God bless, and I urge you to consider coming to the Courage Conference. I think it will be a great blessing to you. http://couragerc.net/Conferences.html
Dan (aka Nathaniel Jameson)
PS Here is an excellent blog post by a friend of mine, about the power of the redemptive suffering of a parent of a man living with same sex attraction.