28 March 2010

Brother Comes Through

I have one brother, many years younger than me. We've spent most of our lives apart, separated by thousands of miles. We don't hate each other or anything, that's just how life has worked out. He is the classic youngest child, has always been happy go lucky, even-tempered, quietly confident, a peacemaker.

So when I wrote a coming out letter to him on Saturday morning, I took a bit of a gamble and wrote it as if I were confident he'd respond with love and acceptance and no harshness or judgment. I wasn't sure, but I sure hoped.

And little brother comes through. This evening he wrote back, and here's what he said:

Dear Big Bro, There are some things in life that I am sure of.

1. I love you and always will. You are my big brother no matter what.

2. We are all on this Earth to make choices and those are fueled by our experiences and our spirits. We don't always agree with each others choices but each person has to live with their own.

3. All of us just want to be loved and accepted. This is a big fuel for many of our actions.

A wise man said something once that impacted me greatly. He said that God does not love us because of who we are or what we do but because of who he is. I am trying to emulate that and love people because of who I am and not who they are or what they do.

I understand the shock this has caused our family. It will be hard for some to recover from it. It will take time and patience on both parts. My only confusion comes at your claim of being gay and yet saying you have not acted on the feelings. That is my only confusion.

I hope that whatever choices you make that you will feel at peace. It will not change my feelings or love towards you. Feel free to share feelings, thoughts or anything else with me as long as I might do the same.

I love you. You are a great man.

And my reply this evening:

I've been a bit on pins & needles since sending you that note yesterday, wondering how you'd respond. I'd hoped you would do and say exactly as you have, but wasn't sure. Thanks for your kindness and generosity, it means more than you know. I agree totally with all three of your numbered points. And with that great observation about why God loves us and how we should try to do the same.

You said you're confused as to my claim of being gay and yet not acting on the feelings, apparently you're wondering how that works? Best way I can explain it is to say imagine back to when you were in your early teens and suddenly found yourself increasingly preoccupied with thoughts of girls. You can't explain where that came from, it just happened. One day you just found yourself thinking and feeling that way. You just knew. You didn't need to hold her hand or kiss her or go further in order to know. In fact, you probably knew quite a while before you got a chance to do anything about it.

It's as simple as that, really. I just knew, like I knew I was right-handed or that my eyes were blue. Unfortunately I didn't have the courage to be honest about it for a long time afterward. For years I even pretended in my prayers that I was straight, how lame is that, trying to hide yourself from God. But then one day some time after I started coming out, I finally got on my knees with the courage to say "OK, God, I'm gay, now what?" I was just that blunt. And that still small voice spoke very clearly: "I know what you are, and I approve." I have numerous LDS friends who've had similar experiences. I could go on for hours and tell you stories and why I believe the way I do about this, but bottom line is that I think God is a lot more okay with His gay children than the members of the LDS Church are right now, and someday the Church is going to have to accommodate that. That's a story for another time, though.

Happy to continue the dialogue with you if you want or to answer any other questions you might have. Thanks bro, you are the best.

When he was little, I carried him everywhere. How cool is it that now he carries me for a bit. That's how it's supposed to work. I am so lucky, so blessed.


David Baker-@DB389 said...

Rob, I am glad that your brother is kind and caring and open. However, not all younger brother's are peacemakers and happy-go-lucky. I know for a fact that I am no the peacemaker in my home. You just have the mentality of an older brother haha.
PS, my comment verification was "Manly"

Ned said...

Congrats to you both, and cue the music...

The road is long
With many a winding turn
That leads us to who knows where
Who knows where
But I'm strong
Strong enough to carry him
He ain't heavy, he's my brother

So on we go
His welfare is of my concern
No burden is he to bear
We'll get there

For I know
He would not encumber me
He ain't heavy, he's my brother

If I'm laden at all
I'm laden with sadness
That everyone's heart
Isn't filled with the gladness
Of love for one another

It's a long, long road
From which there is no return
While we're on the way to there
Why not share

And the load
Doesn't weigh me down at all
He ain't heavy he's my brother

He's my brother
He ain't heavy, he's my brother

(Bobby Scott and Bob Russell)

Tim Trent said...

Isn't it wonderful how the youngest is the wisest?

Romulus said...

This makes me happier than happy!

Beck said...

His example and attitude will undoubtedly help to smooth things between you and the rest of your family as they see the way he reacts and interacts with you, embracing the brother he loves.

MoHoHawaii said...

I think it's also generational. Younger people just don't have the same problem with this. I'm glad he's there to temper your family's reaction. Maybe he'll be a positive voice in the discussions they have.

Anonymous said...

I am so glad that your brother responded in the way that he did. You really cant get a better letter back than that one! He seems like a mature and grounded man and Im glad you have his support.

Anonymous said...

It's really nice for having a brother like that. You are lucky, man!

I'm the only child in my family, so basically I have no one to talk with.


J G-W said...


When I came out, my youngest brother was still young enough to be living at home. For a while, my parents acted as if he needed to be protected from this information. But as with your younger brother, he was the one who handled it the best, who always just accepted me and loved me as his brother, nothing more and nothing less.

He's also been outspoken about Prop 8 and other similar issues...