In the "Better Late Than Never" category, Andrew Sullivan had a post last week concerning the next "gay generation" and how some of them aren't taking well to the previous one.
Certainly his reader has some points. There are things that the "gay community" has done or enshrined as virtuous that have been at best damaging, and, at worst, devastating to the cause of gay acceptance. A reader writing in to GayPatriot this past week showed in stark detail how gays' public image is still negatively affected by extremists.
Whenever I see this sort of thing, though, I think back to a quote from Alexander Graham Bell; When one door closes, another opens; but we often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door that we do not see the one which has opened for us.
The gay community, in its own way, reflects the life struggles of each of its members. All of us have known pain, embarrassment, humiliation, and other experiences that seemed world-ending when they happened. If asked, very few of us would choose to voluntarily repeat these experience; if given the opportunity, we would gladly UNDO them.
But, the universe being what it is, that isn't an option. Disciplines from the most arcane of philosophies to the most prosaic of stain-removal instructions make it clear that nothing is ever completely reversed or undone. Every action leaves its indelible mark on that which it touches.
To Bell's point, we are then faced with two choices; do we mourn that which we had, or do we take that which we have been given?
Sullivan puts it best with this simple statement:
But life is a flawed journey; and the point, at least in my Catholic soul, is the struggle and forgiveness in that struggle.
I couldn't agree more. As I look back on my own life, there is much to regret; yet when viewed through Bell's prism, I would be less than I am now had these catastrophes not taken place. Each one forced me to take action, a step I'd been postponing, a choice I'd refused to make, an option that had never existed. There were plenty of blunders and false steps, but each marker on my pathway now stands for something -- a lesson learned and a richness added to my experience.
In the same fashion will the gay community learn and be richer for our experience.