It seems like the Jewish High Holydays have become a marker in my life. Being both the Jewish New Year and the start of another academic year would suffice, but at various times it has been infused with additional meaning. It was nineteen years ago that my first wife asked, standing outside our Temple, if I loved her: she already knew of my infidelity. The answer popped out: “I love you; I just don’t like you. “Maybe the holiness of the season just begs for honesty.
And it was a mere two years ago – God, it seems longer – that Carrie skipped questions and instead settled for a simple declarative statement: “Do what you have to do.” I did, with a vengeance it turned out. And last year, everything on the table, no secrets left to bare, I sat in Temple and prayed, as much as a heathen can. I prayed for forgiveness, I prayed to be straight, I prayed for it all to go away – a bad dream that one just shakes off.
So it is that time again, time to sit, the service in the background while my mind wanders around, peaking around the corners of my soul, thinking of what was and strangely, what will be. It is strange indeed to be considering a marriage failed and how one makes it right and then have the mind do one of those little jumps and realize you are thinking of the new life, and a smile is there.
This brings me to the concept of Atonement, the name for today’s Holyday. Bob asked this week about Temple, about the season and how I was feeling. The thoughts were there but it was a day later when the words coalesced. I do not feel the need to atone. Yes, there are regrets, things that could have been handled with greater sensitivity. I could have lobbed the ball with more touch like ones floating into the back corner of the end zone; I did not need to zing every one.
But that is water under the bridge and matters of fine tuning. There remains the big issue – self acceptance of being gay. And for that, I no longer pray, not for atonement and not for change. I like myself, I like my new life. It will have ups and downs and that is okay, that is what life is.
My writing is less because writing is the process of refining my thoughts and finding myself, of trying things on for size, and in some way giving others an opportunity to throw in their two cents. Ultimately it is much easier to write a sad song than a satisfied one, easier to write of conflict than of resolution.
The last line for this blog (when that day eventually comes) was recently suggested: “I am gay.” That it seems should be the next to the last line.
"And I am at peace with myself." Now that will make a last line, and writing it feels just fine.