I couldn’t fit in the picture
Testimony of Cristian taken from the book “Alle porte di Sion” (At the gates of Sion. Voices of homosexual believers), Publisher Monti (Italy), October 1998, pages 63-65, translated from Italian by Adelard.
Christian shares his testimony on how he couldn’t fit in the norms of society and Christianity due to his homosexuality.
Imagine a picture- huge, beautiful. A painting with a thousand faces, of a thousand different characters, covered in a thousand different leaves, intent on a thousand different tasks. Next to the picture, a text that explains in detail the function and meaning of each individual figure. They told you that in that picture you too are eh, curious, you are going to look for yourself in that whirlwind of bodies, faces, colors.
It takes you a long time. Patients scroll through all the characters, all the captions. You can’t find us. You get hurt, you ask why: maybe they were wrong, maybe the descriptions are not so comprehensive, maybe you missed something, maybe you just don’t have to be there. The others insist: they are all there, is it possible that only you do not recognize me?
It’s not a good feeling, but it’s exactly the state of mind in which I lived for years, when I realized that I was not in that beautiful painting. Not only that, therein I couldn’t find the role that I was to embody. There were similar ones, but they were still too different from me to see myself.
Growing up at the oratory, more or less engaged in his various activities, I had to enter the picture aged five. Everyone had to enter, even thieves and murderers: for everyone there was a place, a harmonious place in the composition. Yet I was not there!
The feeling of foreignness, when this awareness came to fruition, was piercing. A total sense of exclusion. Christ had come, but perhaps not for me. Or he never came at all. Whatever the case, I, by all accounts, as I was, with a certain speech did not matter.
To enter it I would have had to deny myself: not abandoning everything to follow Christ, but denying that I existed as I was, claiming to have guilty chosen to be what I found myself to be forever, confessing to having freely chosen what I found myself in spite of myself to try. To deny myself, to hate myself because it is wrong, to train because I was not approved, force me because I was not part of their scheme. I was asked to lie, to continue lying, to others and to myself.
I ran. Escape from everything and everyone. As soon as I had the pretext. No more sacraments, no more mass, no more catechism, no more God. To escape far away, in amusement, in friends, in the intoxication of the sparkling and disordered life. And also escaped from myself, without the courage to take the situation head on, and try to understand who I was, who was right. If I was wrong or the world.
Yes, because the world did not seem to think so very differently: there were like Indian reservations for those like me, very specific spaces, both physical and of appearance, that it was good not to cross. And yet I did not even find myself in those narrow spaces, I felt it is strange also to that appearance, I felt myself, once again I closed myself in a pattern that was close to me.
Get out, find myself, but how? I threw myself headlong into all the fun and youth of today and yesterday, as exciting as they were useless; I had come out into the open with my parents, a tragedy, even a liberating one. And, I attended a lay group, very useful, but insufficient in the long-distance; live a beautiful love story. Perhaps there is the main road of my life; perhaps I had found a reason to fight: the person, the project for which to work, have fun, commit myself, lie, make compromises. Maybe I had found it.
Then, a tragic and blessed day, it’s over. I cried cursed against men and against God; the pain dug me a huge emptiness, I lost my good, the person I called, the caressed project fainted in my hands.
And yet, precisely in pain, precisely in the collapse of every perspective, right there I found peace. Right there I found myself: in a vacuum, I saw myself as I was. Emptied I realized what was in it. Wounded to death in human pride, I discovered the grace of divine love for each of us.
I felt that God really speaks to us. He never stops sending us the signals and encouragement to continue on the path. The attention that shows us day by day, never forgetting us, truly makes him a Father and a Mother, caring for his children. And it is incredible how much patience he has to wait for us to listen: he does not insist, he does not force us, he waits for us to stop and talk to him and listen to what he has to say to us.
And he came to me in the greatest pain; right where life made me problem; where, according to all, there was nothing but error and sin; not in the joy of coming out into the open and living a love, but in the pain of losing what was then the most important thing for me. He could not be a man, even though he had a face and hands; he could not be a man, because there no man of understanding, no right-thinking person, no one with logic and fear of God would have met me.
Only he could be so reckless as to venture into sin to meet me a sinner, careless of rubbing his hands to shake mine, oblivious to the muddy path to make the journey with me, regardless of the judgment of the world to be seen my friend.
So I discovered myself capable of loving: I felt part of a project, finally an integral part of the picture. I noticed that with a nose stuck to the canvas, intent on looking for my role, I had not noticed a strange and extraordinary thing: the canvas did not end up in the frame, it continued and continued along the entire wall, and really there was a place for everyone.
It was enough to get away a little, to have the courage to dare beyond conventional limits. I didn’t understand everything yet, I don’t understand it today. Yet the foundations had been laid: I found myself capable of loving because I had felt loved, capable of compassion because I had suffered and someone had suffered with me, eager to act because the action had acquired a meaning.
When my heart was grieved
and my spirit embittered,
I was senseless and ignorant;
I was a brute beast before you.
Yet I am always with you;
you hold me by my right hand
You guide me with your counsel,
and afterward you will take me into glory.