A Valentine to My Gay and Lesbian Friends–Welcome to the World of Romantic Love!

I have a story I want you to listen to and remember on Valentine’s Day and hopefully beyond.

When my former husband Gerald was staying with me at the end of his life in 1984, preparing to die from AIDS (see Goodbye, I Love You), he slept on a couch and I slept on another near him. Once in the middle of the night I awoke to his very agitated voice. “Come on, come on…!” I went to him and asked what was happening.

“The curtain won’t go up. It’s ‘La Cage’ and the curtain won’t go up. Come on…come on…!” The landmark gay musical “La Cage Aux Folles” was coming to San Francisco, and with the last of his money Gerald had purchased one ticket. How he was looking forward to attending.

Later, I gave Gerald’s ticket to one of his friends.

“La Cage Aux Folles” was ground breaking because it was about two men who love each other, yes, two gay men. It was the first musical ever to appear on Broadway where two men held hands. And the ballad “Song on the Sands” was the first love song in a gay context to be widely embraced by us non-gay folk.

…Through the crash of the waves,
I could tell that the words were romantic:
Something about sharing,
Something about always.
Though the years race along,
I still think of our song on the sand.
…And I’m young and in love.

 

The curtain never went up for Gerald. His dream of finding true love in the gay world died with him. Once, after telling me of yet another disappointment, he said, “Blossom, if I could just find a man like you I’d be in seventh heaven.”

So now, my dear gay and lesbian friends, listen up. Do you understand the remarkable day in which you live? Yes, we still have a long way to go. But you–you–live in a day in which the curtain can go up.

You came here to be the hero in your own love story. Not the hero in your own sex story. You have an opportunity so much larger than being able to have sex with the person of your choice. You have the stunning opportunity to fall in love and create a lasting relationship with the person of your choice. That, you know, is something that frightens those who would rather keep you in the closet, even keep you in the bars and the alleyways–-that you will actually fall in love and create lasting joy with your friend/lover/husband/wife. Marry? When Gerald was dying nearly thirty years ago, that thought was unthinkable. And now state after state is allowing gay marriage. Do you appreciate what a privileged time you live in?lesbian_valentine_love_oval_ornament

So here is my invitation, my challenge, my hope for you. Write and live your own love story, full of all the delight, the heartbreak, the learning, the sweetness that romantic love offers. I know some gay people who seem so enamored with the new availability of sex that they don’t see past that to the larger prize. Love. Romantic love–one of the variations of Real Love that is–-to my observation and experience–-about as close to Divine Love as you are going to get. I had tears both times I recently saw “Les Miserables” and heard, To love another person is to see the face of God. Combining Eros (erotic love) and Agape (Christlike love) creates a richness that leaves plain old sex outside the window looking in as the feast is spread.

Something about sharing,
Something about always…

As I began writing this I went to YouTube to listen to that lovely love song from “La Cage,” and I’d like to ask you to listen too– Song on the SandsShare it with your loved one. Or dream of your loved one if he/she is not yet present. Then make yourself into the kind of person he/she will find honorable and irresistible.  Love each other.  And let your love shine on the rest of us.

Finally, I ask you to read this poem I wrote long ago, found now in my book In Love Again and Always. This Valentine’s Day I send every good wish that you will find some one person who, for you, can truly be–

HOME

Outside your arms
Is a place I like to visit
But I wouldn’t want
To live there.

This is home now
This small cozy structure
We build of an embrace.
This is comfort–
It is fireplace, lamp,
And softest chair.

I will go out
From time to time
For exercise and such
And to keep in touch
With the world where people
Eat and laugh and work.

But I’m a stranger there now,
A stranger in a strange land,
And I never get warm enough
And I’m always alone.

Then–
The touch of your hand,
And I know I’m nearly home.

11 comments for “A Valentine to My Gay and Lesbian Friends–Welcome to the World of Romantic Love!

  1. Dadsprimalscream
    February 13, 2013 at 9:28 am

    That was beautifully expressed. THANK YOU! I can’t imagine how life-altering it must be to be a young gay man and read such a thing! Yes, indeed what a wonderful time we live in. I was in college in NYC while “La Cage Aux Folles” played on Broadway in the 80’s. I wish I’d let it touch me more deeply then. I hope visitors to this site let this post touch them!

  2. Diane Benson
    February 13, 2013 at 10:16 am

    Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful!

  3. Heather sather
    February 13, 2013 at 11:26 am

    My daughter and daughter in law had a beautiful, celebratory wedding in Washington State 3 years ago. Last Sunday they were legally wed, after bring together for ten years. Our hearts are bursting with joy. The times are truly changing!

  4. Les Blake
    February 13, 2013 at 1:15 pm

    My favorite Boyd K. Packer quote adds a witness: “Romantic love is not only a part of life, but literally a dominating influence of it. It is deeply and significantly religious. There is no abundant life without it. Indeed, the highest degree of the Celestial Kingdom is unobtainable in the absence of it.”

    Lovely post Carol Lynn.

  5. Karin
    February 13, 2013 at 1:37 pm

    Thank you. We love you more than we can say!!!

  6. Joseph
    February 14, 2013 at 8:15 am

    Thank you, Carol Lynn, for sharing this. I particularly liked the phrase: “be a hero in your own love story.” The imagery is profound. I have posted my own love story on my blog (link below), in commemoration of Valentine’s Day because I believe our (gay) love stories need to be told. As you point out, what frightens some people most about gays is not the way they *make* love, but the fact that they are *in* love.

    http://josephsjourneyings.blogspot.com/2013/02/falling-in-love-with-man.html

  7. Jennifer
    February 15, 2013 at 10:56 am

    Hi, Carol Lynn. Judy’s daughter here. Mom sent this to me today, and I now have mascara running down my face! My heart is so full of love and admiration for the work you and my mom are doing in the gay mormon community. Being the mother of two gay sons (seriously, who is luckier than that?!) I wanted to insulate them from any doctrine, false belief or people who would make them feel less than the perfect men they are. I am moved by your courage, optimism, and of course your eloquent writing. It is imperative that gay men and women understand their perfection, that romantic love is a God-given right, and that there is a community within which they can feel safe and supported. Thank you for pioneering this critical work. Jennifer

  8. Bonnie L Mitchell
    February 16, 2013 at 10:53 am

    I’m in Wash DC for the Forward on Climate Rally & just read this to my cousin– “Very nice!” was his slightly surprised response.

  9. Ben Vess
    February 17, 2013 at 12:04 am

    Am reading through everything you gave me 🙂

    Love how you merge Greek words of love into how it is supposed to be portrayed. The word “love” has always been insufficient in my opinion. Also am grateful my language, American Sign Language, have several words for this singular English word.

    I have two questions I’d like to ask; but, I’m gonna go finish reading all that you sent me before I ask them.

    Once again, thank you for all you’ve done.

  10. Marcia
    February 23, 2013 at 12:19 pm

    It’s chilling to see the words of the prophets used to support the practice of homosexuality, a lifestyle condemned by these same prophets. Has anyone else noticed that as the majority of Americans begins to support the gay lifestyle the nation declines economically, and catastrophic events increase?

    • Daniel Parkinson
      February 23, 2013 at 12:26 pm

      And the Westboro Baptist Church agrees with you completely Marcia.

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