Saturday, June 05, 2010

Blessings Abound In Sorrow

Life has been, to put it bluntly: STRESSFUL.  J and I have had innumerable things to do, not the least of which has been planning a wedding and a honeymoon.  Not to mention that Spring is J's busy season at school because he has to coach tennis - which gets him home pretty late.  Now mind you, on most days he only gets home about 20 minutes after I normally do (any other time of year, he actually beats me home by about an hour), but this extra time supremely annoys him.  So, when he does come home, he's grumpy about how much of his life tennis consumes, and then he is consumed by these thoughts for the rest of the evening.  With the family stress we've encountered the past few months, and then the planning and tennis and subsequent fights about all of the above, we've had a really rough time at things.

Fortunately, tennis is over.  His school year officially ended yesterday.  He's a happier camper, but I'm still in the process of recovering from the last few months of living with an unpleasant partner - and I, in turn, have become a difficult partner to live with.  Thankfully, the fights are diminishing, and fatalistic emotions that surround them are dwindling as well.

But here comes the next glitch.  J has to go up to VT for grad school for the summer, and I'm going to accompany him since I have officially quit my job (last day June 18th).  So now I'm looking for jobs, J's preparing for classes, we're both preparing to spend most of the summer in VT, and oh . . . did I mention we have a wedding and honeymoon to plan for?  Plus J's brother is also getting married at the end of the month.  We're going to have to drive down from VT to PA for that, and then drive right back up to VT.  Lots of driving this summer!

Not that I'm complaining.  At this point, much of this planning and these events are exciting!  It's just so much!  And it doesn't help when you're planning a gay wedding as the children of Evangelicals, let me tell you.  We're pretty much doing this all by ourselves without much help.  The silver lining in that though is that everything we do has a personal touch, especially since we don't have a bunch of money.  So for instance, our wedding invitations were done by hand.  All of our loved ones are receiving a piece of our own creativity, time, and sweat.  It makes it seem just a bit more special :)

We're quite proud of 'em!

It's looking like our family contingent at the wedding will be small.  But that just makes those who attend all the more appreciated.  My parents will be there, and maybe a cousin and a brother - I doubt the other one will come with his family. J's brother and his (then) wife will be there, as well as his youngest brother (who I've grown quite close to the past few months).  And a couple of his cousins will be there as well.  Right now, J's parents are leaning towards not coming.

I actually had J invite them down a few weekends ago, because I wanted to hear from them why they weren't coming.  I also took the opportunity to discuss some other things which have been left unsaid between us for the past 2 years.  The discussion got pretty tense for a bit there, but overall I thought it was very positive, for a few reasons:

1.) His parents came down to stay with us in our "den of evil".  (This is really big for them.  They've come a looooong way.  And while I hope we can make up a lot more ground, it's nice to know that the issue of their son being gay isn't so painful and dangerous for them that they feel the need to shun me/us.)
2.) His mom essentially admitted that - while she would not feel good about attending our wedding to "celebrate" it - she would feel OK about coming simply to be a part of our lives. (She is, however, being consistent in support of her husband, and thus is deferring to his decision on the matter.)
3.) Even though his dad is leaning toward not coming, he admitted that he's not where he used to be, and indicated he's still in process.

J's blog covers that weekend far more in-depth than I plan to, so feel free to head over there and read all about it.

I'm not holding my breath for J's parents to attend the wedding.  I've made my peace with it, and I no longer feel like I want to tear into them Poltergeist-style every time I think about them anymore.  It was cathartic to get some of that stuff out.  At the same time, I am still going to be very disappointed and hurt if they're not there :(

Either way, I simply choose to no longer allow other people decide my happiness for this awesome, blessed event!  As one of my favorite Christian authors (John Eldredge) wrote: "Let people feel the weight of who you are and let them deal with it."

Thus, I'm proud to report the happiest news: our honeymoon is set!  It got a little dicey this week, because we planned our lodgings in Provence several months ago (at two places: one coastal cottage for the first 3 days, and a countryside home for a week).  We held off on getting tickets because we were hoping the prices would come down (they didn't).  When we were finally ready to purchase tickets this weekend, we realized that there was NO WAY for us to get to our destination in France in a timely manner!  We would either have to leave the evening of our wedding (probably an hour or so after our reception started) to be there by the following evening, or move the wedding back a few hours (not ideal since the invitations had already been sent out), or we would have to miss out on an entire day and night on the coast (not to mention having wasted a day's rent on the place)!  We emailed both owners, and to our amazement, BOTH were willing to push up our dates by a day, so now we can enjoy our reception, leave the following morning, and not have to worry about missing a day of our honeymoon! :)

The other really great blessing is that we have an EXCESSIVE number of friends and loved ones who want to be at this wedding. We had already hired a caterer to plan food for 100-125 people, but by the time we sent out invitations, we were expecting about 138 people to come!  Needless to say, when people RSVP and say they can't make it, we are both very sad, and slightly relieved all at the same time.  It's really a bizarre combination of emotions.  (I still have about 20 people that I originally wanted to invite, but simply couldn't due to space and money constraints, so if lots of people can't make it, I'm hoping to extend a few more invitations.)  But all that to say, that even though we've had some great difficulty in the past in finding acceptance from our families and previous spiritual communities, we have discovered meaningful and wonderful new friendships (along with a deepening of some older ones), and our cups are proverbially running over! 

So that's where I've been these past few days.  Busy, busy, busy!  And it's not letting up anytime soon. Please pray for us!  I need to find a new job (so far, the best prospect seems to be joining the Commissioned Corps as a pharmacist in the United States Public Health Service.)  In the long run, however, I want to go back to school and eventually become a counselor, which requires me to go back to school.  Thus, I'll be studying for my GREs this summer in VT while J is taking his master's classes.  Obviously much more could be said about these decisions (which may seem sudden and impetuous, but I assure you that the decisions to quit my job and go back to school were arduously investigated).  More on that later.

Until then, my friends . . . 


Pomoprophet said...

I thought the invitations were great! And even better to know you made them yourself! You got some of the sparkle!

Sorry about family stuff. Fun eh?

I am thankful that My BF and I were 2 of the people to make the cut to your wedding! :)

Jon Trouten said...

Your invites look really nice. We made our's too. We received lots of compliments about our design and about the time and spirit that went into making home-made wedding invites. I'm sure you'll get lots of positive comments, too.

Mark's parents didn't come to our wedding either. I'm not sure if my mom would have come if my dad hadn't died a few month prior. He definitely wouldn't have been there. Do your best to enjoy the company of those who come and to forgive those who choose to stay away.

Good luck with the rest of your planning, DJ! :)

D.J. Free! said...

LOL, Pomo! Yeah, you can never quite rid yourself of "sparkle" ;)

Jon, thanks so much for that. Good advice indeed. God has been pressing upon my heart the need for release and forgiveness. It has NOT been easy. It still really hurts and disappoints me. But at the same time, I can't help but recall that if the only people we're able to love are those that agree with us, then it's not really love at all. It's camaraderie. Loving your enemies is tough - but it's the kind of thing that really changes you, and really makes you grow as a person.

Joe Moderate said...

Oh man, so disappointed to hear the end result of the conversations in your Den of Evil(TM), but so happy to hear that they happened at all. Sounds like they have come a long way... and you sound so much more at rest about where they are. I'm so sorry for your loss, but so happy to hear you sounding more peaceful about it.

I cannot fully describe how deeply I was and continue to hurt by my parents choice not to attend our wedding. I felt it again today as I said goodbye to my mother after her brief visit. I want to grieve her going, but being with her is a painful reminder of her ongoing rejection of the person I love.

I agree with you that love involves loving those who don't agree with you, but I'm not sure that boycotting a wedding is the emotional or spiritual equivalent of disagreement. It's pretty damn brutal, especially when it comes from parents.

While Mom was visiting she noticed and commented on your wedding invitation that is front and center on my fridge (it makes me happy, so I like to put it in a place where I see it often). She remembered you guys and your DP last summer. That was cool :-)