Saturday, February 2, 2013

My Story of how this blog came to be:


The title for his blog was inspired by my friend, lover and partner, who uttered the words to me while I was visiting him one day in the nursing home where he was dying of cancer. These visits were difficult. I never knew whom I might meet, perhaps an angry family member or a caregiver who had no clue about who I was. But this day was different. It changed my life in more ways than one.

On this particular day, I came into the room where Antonio was being cared for and the nurse in attendance was having difficulties trying to get Antonio to cooperate with her. I explained to her that I was a good friend and had been for many years and that maybe I could help─something I was absolutely sure of─because after 28 years together with the one person who is your soulmate, anything is possible. And so, seeking to encourage him to cooperate with the nurse, I turned to Antonio to ask him if he trusted me. He nodded and said that he did trust me. I asked him if, for my sake, he would let the nurse complete her task, and he did. After she was able to complete her task, to her surprise, the nurse commented that no one had been able to do what I had just done. I told her that Father and I were best friends, very close friends. I looked at Antonio and he looked at me, and I said, “Isn’t that right, Antonio?” And to my knowing, he looked at me and uttered three words that have remained with me since he said, “Make It Known”.

After Antonio had passed away, I began to reflect on our lives together and what these three words meant. In the months that followed, it was difficult for me to express openly how much we loved each other, how much we meant to each other, all the time we spent together, the vacations, the bedroom, the walks with the dogs, the 28 years. I couldn’t help but try to make sense of those three words.

“Make It Known” is meant to encourage people to tell their stories of love. No matter how complicated, how scary or how impossible the truth is, telling your story can set you free. I was a gay man who became a priest and fell in love with another priest. Though it was it difficult, we stayed together through the years. I left the priesthood, but he stayed. It was easier for me, for I was younger and less indoctrinated to the guilt and shame, though still present, that makes it difficult for many priests to leave today (a discussion for another time).

The truth is, we were in love. It happened naturally, evolved lovingly and endured despite our disagreements. We had many discussions about our love and how it affected our relationship with the church. We were challenged often with the promise to remain celibate in the face of a love that demanded physical expression despite the teaching that that love was evil. Although this need waned over time and was eventually less important, we still remained in love. We both struggled with the shame and guilt, Antonio more than myself, but no matter, we continued on in love. Our mutual conviction that we were soul mates would see this through to the end.

This is part of my story. A story that I no longer need to hide, but a story that I can share and be open about. I hope my story of love, as a priest, can inspire your story of love and you can help “Make It Known” so that together we can inspire others to make the church more aware of the need for change.

Thurman

6 comments:

Henry said...

Thurman,
Thank you for your blog and sharing your story of your love for Antonio. It is indeed difficult to "Make It Known" while under the oppression of the hierarchy and their hurtful rhetoric toward gay people. Glad to see your blog where one can find understanding and support.

Thurman said...

Henry thank you for your support. It is my intention, by sharing my stories, others will find strength, understanding and support in their stories.

Terence Weldon said...

Many thanks for your honesty and courage in sharing your story. I am not a priest, but in my work at my own blog ("Queering the Church") I have become acutely conscious of the difficulties faced by gay priests. You are absolutely right in saying that our stories need to be told. I have posted a short shout- out to your blog at mine, have placed a link in my blogroll, and will continue to do whatever I can to promote your blog further.

Thurman said...

Thank you very much for your comments and making it known on your site, as well. Together we can make a difference. There is such a need out there for gay priests to be validated and not scorned by the Church. I hope blogs like ours can pave the way for continued change.

Esteban Mendez said...

Thurman,

It is great to see your blog about your experience loving your soul mate. Your story is beautiful and helps me to have hope. I am a 47 yrs old lay person who is deeply in love with a priest from out of state. I live in Arizona. We have known each other 17 months now and have been together numerous times.

This man I am in love is from Mexico and is 41 yrs old. He has his fear of repercussion and I think he may want to leave the Church. However, I've told him I'd want to move to Oregon so that we could be closer and still have a relationship like any other couples. We are discreet in public and I would like for him to remain a priest.

I would like to know how I can help him to not fear about anything and allow time to help us advance and grow beautifully together. Do you have any suggestions as how I can encourage him to feel confident about himself with the Catholic Church?

Anonymous said...

I am a former priest in Ireland. I ministered in the UK for 12 years and left because I am gay. I went to the far east and became a teacher. There, I met the love of my life and we were together for 18 years. I had to leave him and return to here because of health problems.
I miss so much now...... The Church, priesthood, the UK, teaching, Thailand, but mostly his smile.
i am so lonely, sad and afraid. I am and have nothing.
pray for me.
patrick
padraig56@hotmail.com