Our close friends lost their son Cody at 2:30 Saturday morning. We had just sat in the hospital with them the night before, talking to Cody as he lay in a coma, and holding the family close as they faced the inevitable. He was 18.
Cody and our son David were friends from age ten, waging Nerf wars with unarmed sisters and playing video games while Cody had hour-long breathing treatments for his cystic fibrosis. “We have to play, Mom—Cody has to have his treatment” served as a free pass to many gaming hours.
Losing a child is the most intense grief, they say, because you never expect to bury your own child—it’s simply not part of any plan that makes sense.
I receive emails from parents so devastated about their gay child, they draw a line in the sand, they take action to drive their child into the closet or out the door. They tell their child to renounce their orientation, or lose the relationship. It’s a no win situation with the “best” choice to leave and never come back; the worst outcome is self-hatred, despair or suicide.
Not to become dramatic here, but Cody’s parents would give anything to have Cody back—anything at all. Gay, straight or any other way. For a parent to throw away a relationship with their child because they don’t approve of them, for whatever reason, strikes me as ungrateful and arrogant.
Please be grateful for your children. I don’t care what they’re doing or not doing—that is so not the point. Let Thanksgiving this week be the turning point in your relationship. Love them like God loves you, completely and unconditionally. Or as my wonderful friend Linda Robertson says, “Love them just because they breathe.”
However tempted you may be to ‘speak for God’ about your child’s sexuality, please don’t. That’s what I meant by arrogant. Instead of playing God by speaking for God, simply ask God. And be willing to hear that God may NOT change your LGBTQ child but may instead change you. As we have seen from Exodus and other so-called therapy, trying to change orientation not only doesn’t work but causes serious damage.
We don’t understand everything, and frankly no one said we should. But life is a gift. Children are a gift. At the end of life, we are amazed at how short life turned out to be, and all we want is to be with those we love.
Choose to love, choose to embrace, choose to let them be. In the end, you’ll find that the love was what mattered.