It’s Family Vacation. Everyone’s Here and Having Fun. Except Her.

It’s Family Vacation. Everyone’s Here and Having Fun. Except Her. July 17, 2015

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You lie to the kids about why she is not here. It’s the family vacation and everyone’s here and having fun… except her. She is not welcome. Why?? Because she is gay.

My heart goes out to those who have been left out, left behind and have had to deal with this kind of horrible pain and rejection from the people who are supposed to love you the most.

And my dismay and anger goes out to the parents who reject their child like this, and who commit many sins to pull off this kind of charade – lies, judgment, deception – and do it all “in Jesus name.”

It is indefensible.

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I write Dear Susan posts most every Friday. Sometimes they are poignant, sometimes thought-provoking, sometimes tender, sometimes funny… but hopefully always worth the read.

Dear Susan,

I’m a 44-year-old lesbian; I live with my girlfriend of nearly two years. I was raised in Baptist churches, and every relative on my mother’s side is of a fundamentalist persuasion (we did not see or communicate with relatives on my father’s side). My family is SO unsupportive of my relationship—or “lifestyle.” I’ve been told that the devil has a hold of me; I’ve lost my way; they will not celebrate my sin; it’s not biblical; I’ve hurt them all; and one of my sisters would rather I had cancer. I declined to visit family at all over last Thanksgiving and Christmas. That was very difficult, but because it was made clear to me that my partner is not welcome, I took a stand for our relationship. It was the first holiday season Beth and I spend together in our own home, and it was wonderful to begin our own traditions and simply be together as our own little family. Beth’s family is the complete opposite of mine, and they have welcomed me as their daughter/sister/cousin. I’m so very thankful for them.

As I type this, my parents, sisters, brothers-in-law, nieces and nephews are on vacation together at a resort in Florida—I was not invited. They booked the trip three to four months in advance; I found out about it only a few days before. The kids are being told I’m not there because I couldn’t get off work. It was so painful to see pictures of them all having fun on the beach, at restaurants, just being together. The five kids live several states away, so I hardly see them to begin with. The two oldest are 14; the others are 12, 11, and 6. I understand the rights of parents to educate and nurture their children as they see fit. But to keep them sheltered from a loving, committed relationship and from seeing their aunt happy and in love is something I just can’t understand. Will the kids learn and emulate the same attitudes and behaviors I see in their parents and grandparents? I want them to be curious about the world, to celebrate differences instead of attacking or ignoring them. To abandon the literalist interpretation of the bible that causes so much harm. I may have to wait until they come into adulthood to explain all this to them. But in the meantime I’m missing so many important moments—all because I fell in love and became happier than I’ve ever been.

This whole situation is so painful. Do you have any practical advice for handling this/them? I don’t want to lose them, but I fear I already have. And I think it might be for the best.

Tracy

Dear Tracy,

My heart breaks for you. What are people thinking?? It makes no sense. I too discovered a big family reunion on Facebook because my family did not invite me. I can hardly express the pit of hurt in my stomach—and to what end? Do they think they will make us change? And if we don’t, they will punish us?

It’s a ploy many choose. They read pieces like Romans 1 to condemn others and don’t realize Paul wrote it to condemn them—the very ones who condemn others! (That’s the danger of reading out of context, and it’s the danger of judging others, which is why Jesus clearly said, “Don’t judge others!”)

Your family has lied to the kids, has separated them from a beloved family member, has punished you—all egregious sins in their own right—all the while believing they are holier-than-thou. They believe they are justified, but they are only justifying their own judgment, a sin all by itself.

Let me give a heads up to families like yours: this ploy will bite them in the end. Those kids won’t be under their control forever, and when they find out WHY they never saw their beloved aunt, they will be livid AT THE ONES WHO CUT THEM OFF.

My daughter’s roommate went through this exact scenario. She and her twin were told their (lesbian) aunt was not interested in seeing them. Eventually, they grew up—kids do that—and they contacted their aunt because to ask why she didn’t care enough to be in their lives. When she told them, “Your parents wouldn’t let me see you,” they were livid at their parents for cutting them off and for lying about it. Of course they were.

Box-parents (parents for whom everything must fit in a neat box) often act as if they are God, as if they have the right to do whatever they want. They judge their LGBTQ family member and they fracture their family (NOWHERE in Jesus’ teaching to us), they overcontrol their kids (completely fear-based). Yet they lack the compassionate love God has for all of us.

1 John 4:18 says: [God’s] love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear. If we are afraid, it is for fear of punishment, and this shows that we have not fully experienced his perfect love.”

These fear-saturated parents think they will manage their kids’ lives on into infinity, but they won’t. Kids will eventually be on their own, beyond the parents’ reach, and then the parent will stand there with egg on their face. “But the Bible tells us to do this…”

No, it doesn’t.

All the while, they are raising someone who will eventually see that things were not as they were told.

Your nieces and nephews will eventually discover the truth. That is little comfort now, and there is little you can do. My hope is that these parents will prayerfully reconsider what they’re doing.

Much love,

Susan

 

 


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