Tuesday, September 13, 2011

The pain of my divorce, and how it shapes my position on "same-sex" marriage, and love.

One day was one of the happiest of my life. 
Another day of was one of the saddest of my life.

The day I got married I understood that the day was not only about the woman that I was saying "I do" to and myself (in front of God, of friends and family) but also the holiness of that day. That holy day truly was an opening to the endless possibilities of time and space, in the friendship that is beyond friendship, in a love that goes beyond the world of eros and gets close to the world of agape; of that divine and/or transcendental love. Truly, a new life!

One day, that "new life" was over. 

I am unable to count the days that I yelled in anger at God, at the world, and at myself when it was all over. Words quite simply cannot describe (regardless of the two languages that I speak--English and Spanish) many feelings, emotions, and thoughts I had during some of the most lonely, terrible, and sad moments of my life as I tried to heal from this wound in my heart. I cannot count the days that to get out of bed was one of the most difficult things I could do. I cannot count the days that I would go to a party or a "get-together" and envy the joy I saw in the eyes of a married couple as they gazed at each other because that used to be me. How many times I told myself "I failed", "I failed".... Even now as I write these words, it is a bit difficult to remain steady, to remain objective, to remain focused on what I want to tell you my dear reader, because I cannot count the nights of tears that seemed like they would never end.

What was divorce like? For those of you that have a loving and committed relationship, including those of you who are happily married imagine this:
Think of waking up tomorrow and you are not going to that movie with him/her.
Think of waking up tomorrow and all your pictures of that awesome and/or romantic vacation with him/her, now you can't even look at.
Think of the joy of that first kiss with him/her when you were dating becoming a painful memory, that you hope will become at best a bittersweet memory.
Think of waking up tomorrow, and your bed is empty.
Think of every plan, from today to the last day you will have on this earth, everything that you have planned for together and the joy and happiness that you think about because of those plans: gone.
And if you have a child: think of the child you have in your house today, gone :(

And the day you get your divorce papers in the mail is not quite THE day, because it is a process of many days before and after that day; anybody that has been divorced understands this. It is quite simply a long, long, long process. For many of us even when this process is over, another one begins. There is a process of trying to heal, not only your heart, but the life you have. And if there are children involved and what happens to them, oh dear Lord I cannot even describe to you how painful that is.

So, regardless of where you my dear reader may stand on divorce I tell you this and this cannot be denied: 
it is not the church that grants a divorce but instead it is a judge, it is the state, it is the government. Why is this important? How is any of this relevant to "same-sex" marriage? What I say now may or may not sound very logical or very reasonable. Then again, life sometimes doesn't care one bit about logic or reason, and sometimes that is a wonderful thing...and sometimes it is not.

When I "see" (can any of our senses really help us with this one) an already loving and committed relationship, a relationship of love (of what I described before as the friendship that is beyond friendship, in a love that goes beyond the world of eros and gets close to the world of agape; of that divine and/or transcendental love) before the papers have been signed at a clerk's office or the words/blessing have been given by the priest/pastor I always say: this union is already a marriage in the hearts and minds of these two people. These two people already have what I as a straight male from a legal point of view once had. I simply had the legal right to enter into this relationship, the legal right. Legal. And I could have leave it at that. The government, and my taxes, and the hospitals, and my job would have been fine with that. And if that is all I wanted, I could have simply skipped the pastor/priest and go right to the courthouse. That's it. And when the marriage was over, it was not the Church, or the priest, of the pastor, or my friends, or my family, who gave me a divorce: it was the signature of a judge on a different piece of paper from the first, on a different legal document.

And these two people who are not "straight" should have a chance, a chance, a chance, of having this new life. And it makes no difference that their union does not match what some of us feel is the ONLY way to be married. Anyone can go to Vegas for the weekend, meet someone, and be married! And maybe that could be a happy marriage or it could end in divorce. It does not change the fact that any man and woman can get this done before or after playing in the casino! (I still am not seeing groups in Nevada or outside of it trying to change this nor have I seen any legal efforts in the legislature to change this process, a process that was never in the minds of the Jewish and Christian writers that gave us later what is called the "Bible"and yet it goes on) Members, human beings of the LGTB community should be able to live their lives in the love and the friendship of the commitment inside the possibilities that I as a straight male tried to have according to the law, including if they wish to fly down to Vegas for a weekend of casino playing and a short trip to the chapel.

During the process of divorce, the day of divorce, and after, I experienced suffering that I do not wish on anyone. If you know someone close to you that like me has experienced this, and you can see the suffering in his/her eyes over this, would you not want to find a way to take away that pain? If you say yes, then would you really want to deny the chance to that person to have the opposite of that same suffering? The joy, the dreams, the love?

Legal obstacles can affect a lot of aspects of our lives, and it is here that the "same-sex" marriage as part of a struggle for civil rights cannot be denied. To simply say that 'is not an issue of civil rights' does not deny the fact that life is simply better when the law is not telling you "NO", and many things in life can be taken for granted when you don't have to ask the law if you can do this, or that, because you just simply do. I want to see brothers and sisters of the LGBT community have that same chance, like I did, to have the state say "Yes, this is legal". A chance to have that legal document if they wish to have it because that document could make all the difference.

And many of them may experience the suffering, the kind of suffering that makes one question his/her life because of divorce like I did. But at the least, they were able to try. On the other hand, they may be able to experience the almost indescribable joy that comes with marriage, like I once did, and for them it may last forever. And I refuse to allow the protection of "traditional marriage" (what that means is a subject for another day) to become some sort of medieval wall that only protects the lives of those "lucky" enough to make it inside before the gates are closed.

If the day comes when I have that legal document again, that gives me full legal recognition of what in my heart and mind I already know to be true, then I hope from the bottom of my heart that it will also be the same day when her, him, you, all of us, can.

--
Mario

7 comments:

  1. Comment test. And nice post, Although I would simplify the same sex argument- 50% of marriages fail, why can't same sex couples be allowed the same odds?

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  2. Of course, if you secularize marriage you are right...a contract is a contract.
    The Church does in fact act as a witness to a sacramental wedding. Since the bible explicitly speaks against sinful unions, no establishment claiming to be Christian can officiate such an abomination.
    Since when is "sexual preference" a civil right? Please...(rolls eyes)

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  3. Dear Common Sense,

    Why civil rights? When couples that have been together for over 40 years, one is about to die at a hospital and visitation rights are denied because of not having the proper paperwork...civil rights are in the end about how we are treated as human beings.

    Regarding your comment "if I secularize marriage". Legal marriage is secular and Religious marriage is not. It is in religious marriage that your arguments about how the "bible explicitly speaks against sinful unions", etc, come into the picture. But that remains a different debate and another subject.

    Religious and/or theological arguments based on Holy Scripture cannot apply to legal marriage, unless you are willing to go back into a scenario like the one in our history when we were still the "13 colonies" under the English Crown; church and state were one under the official religion of "Church of England", with the King as head of the Church AND the state.

    Thank you for your comments and peace unto you.

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  4. God's peace to you also sir.

    Living in sin, no matter for how long, is still living in sin. Just because it's been for 40 years makes it OK? The word "couple" as you use it doesn't apply and I reject it.
    Is it also a civil right if that "couple" is a brother and a sister, a Father and his daughter, a 50 year old and a 5 year old, a woman and her cat? Sin has, and will always be, sin. Today's so-called standards do not change the truth.

    You are taking God out of marriage. There can be no true, honest debate when Our Lord is removed from marriage. You are truly scarred indeed, and I pray for you. This secularized thing you keep referring to is NOT marriage. You shouldn't mis-apply terms to make your point.

    How does that feel? ...to completely ignore God and his Word when it suits you? It must make a lot of things easier.
    Leviticus 20:13

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  5. Dear Common Sense,

    There are too many ideas that come to my mind and too many feelings and emotions in my heart to post here regarding your last comments.

    I have decided, in the spirit of productive dialogue, to respond to your last comments in the form of an "open letter" that I will be posting as a new blog entry.

    your brother in Christ,
    Mario

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  6. Dear Common Sense, since I never got any feedback from you regarding my "open letter" entry, I am guessing that you never read it. However, considering that it appears that we will continue to disagree at a theological/biblical level, I decided to address your last comments here in a different way:
    1) The concept of "living in sin" and/or "sin" does not apply to secular marriage since the law does not deal with theological issues like "sin". So the question of "sin" and for how long does not apply here and in turn renders the question of '40 years' of sin irrelevant.
    2) We disagree on how we define what a couple 'is'. Even more, how does the Church sees 'couples' is not the question, but instead how would the law deal with this. And here is another problem: if your church accepts one definition of what a couple 'is' but my church sees it differently, then what is the state to do? Does it accept definition A from Church A, and rejects definition B from Church B? Do we want the state to make this choice? Is it the role of the state do decide theological questions? I don't think so.
    3) I was not speaking of incest, pedophilia, or bestiality. I was speaking of same-sex marriage by the state. Perhaps you are thinking that this is a slippery slope issue. If this is the case you need to show how this will happen. For example: same-sex marriage has been legal in Massachusetts since 2003 and there has been no proposals/bills to legalize marriage in the context of incest, pedophilia, or bestiality.
    4) The questions of what 'is' truth are very important to me and it appears that they are also important to you. But again, the state when it looks at bills, proposals, etc does not look at 'truth', it looks at data and facts. So charges of relativism are irrelevant to this discussion.
    5) Again, you see marriage as religious 'and' secular, and I see marriage as indeed something that 'can' be religious 'and/or' secular. Also, what about Atheists or Agnostics? Do you tell them that they cannot take God out of marriage? An Atheist may go to a court clerk for a legal marriage but more than likely he/she is not going to go to a pastor for a religious marriage. Even if you say "God is in marriage regardless of what Atheists think" does not change the fact that an Atheist does not need to recognize God to be married by the state; in fact, the state never asked me "Mario, before we marry you, tell us if you believe in God"? There is no talk of religion or God when a person goes to a court clerk to be married.

    6) Since you don't know me and only God can look into my heart, I ask you: how do you know that I am ignoring God? We just have a different way of doing theology and a different way of doing biblical hermeneutics. We can debate how to interpret that passage from Leviticus regarding same-sex activity in a religious sense. For example, are you suggesting that the state should execute ("they shall be put to death") gay men? See the problem? Also, In a legal sense the Supreme Court back in 2003 already dealt with this: it is legal. Since it is legal, I don't see how this applies to the question of same-sex marriage by the state.

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