Updated: May 14, 2020
By Connie Hubble
The bikes were the last items shoved into the twenty-four-foot U-Haul before we shut the door on broken dreams, broken hopes, and broken promises. With a hint of irony, the date was April Fool’s Day, 1999, and I was fleeing my bankrupt life in Fairfield, California. Emotionally and physically spent, I was leaving behind a failed marriage, a foreclosed house, and a gay son to start over in Colorado. Somehow, I thought my existence would be easier if I just got away from the “problems” instead of facing them and coming to a reconciliation between my religious beliefs and the reality of my life.
Before taking the driver’s seat, I accepted my eldest son Robbie’s request that we take one last walk around the block, yet neither of us could find the words we wanted so desperately to convey to each other. With heads bowed and thoughts racing, the stress of the impending separation squeezed the words, but not the conviction, I wanted to impart.
“Robbie, I know you’ve been struggling with some issues for a few years now, and I want you to know that no matter what, I love you. Please be good and choose things in your life that will make you and God happy.” What I wanted to say was, “Robbie, don’t be gay! Please don’t go against everything we have taught you about God.” I had never directly acknowledged Robbie’s homosexuality up to this point and did not want to start talking about his sexual attraction the moment I was ready to drive away.
Robbie’s words were tentative, “Mom, I love you, and I would never choose to do anything to purposefully hurt you. I’m going to miss you.” What Robbie wanted to say was, “Mom, I am gay, and it wasn’t my choice. I am scared and need your support.”
I jumped into the big truck holding my life’s accumulations and drove away from my scared son. I did not want to look back.
Denial was my companion on the twelve-hundred-mile trek to Colorado. Homosexuality, Love, Compassion, Confusion, Fear and Doubt argued in the seat next to me while I tried to ignore them all. I truly believed that the further I drove away from Robbie, the closer I would become to God. I could not see a way to love Robbie and his homosexuality and still be faithful to the God I had come to know.
A year earlier, the summer after high school graduation, Robbie broke his spine while jumping from a boulder at Lake Berryessa. He said the impact of hitting the water felt like he landed on cement. For three days, as he lay in bed with his belly distended from his inability to pass urine or stool, Robbie said that his mind was not on his injured body as he bargained with God. He pled “please God, let me be normal. Let me be straight and I will do anything you ask.” After months of physical recovery, he was still gay.
Robbie then thought that if he would consecrate two years of his life to the service of the Lord,
God would help him overcome his same-sex attraction. While serving a mission in Osorno, Chile, Robbie’s testimony led many people to Christ, but when he got home, he was still gay.
“Context Specific Therapy” with Dr. Jeffrey Robinson was momentarily helpful, but after working the workbooks, countless hours in prayer, and trying to concentrate on anything but being homosexual, he was still gay.
How could I reconcile my belief homosexuality is morally wrong with the fact that no matter what Robbie tried he was still gay? The Bible says, “By their fruits, ye shall know them” (Matthew 7:16-20). Robbie is gay, and his fruits are kindness, love, charity, peace, forgiveness, tolerance, and acceptance.
I knew I had to look at my own soul in a mote / beam sort of way (Matthew 7: 1-5). Passing by the vanity mirror one day, I had to do a double take to see who was staring back at me. Mousy hair, depressed eyes, a sullen frown, and overall worn countenance revealed the fear, anger, and phobias building inside me. As I stared at the image in the mirror, I reflected upon a saying I heard once, “Neglect is the most destructive form of abuse.” Whether true or not, by ignoring Robbie, I had neglected my son, and the face of an abuser was staring back at me. What I found in Colorado was that I could not in truth come to know God until I became closer to Robbie. My job is to love my son with the love the Savior shows to God’s children. “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails” (1 Corinthians 13:4-8).
It is the Savior’s job to do the rest. He will judge us. He will help us. He will teach us. He will buoy us up when we find no other way.
When all the tears were spent, I figuratively took my mixed-up emotions and crazy thoughts and put them in a box. I then took the box and placed it humbly on the altar of the Lord; I let the Savior have my confusion, doubt, and fear because I could not carry them any longer. The Savior repackaged the box and gave it back to me. Inside he gave me more love and compassion for my son. I began to truly comprehend what a difficult road my son had traveled. My heart broke for him.
Not only does my increased love and compassion flow to Robbie, I also use these qualities when
working with high school students who are struggling with the same things. I provide a safe space in which they can learn, talk, and feel loved. I did not find out what made Robbie gay, but I don’t need to. That is not my concern. My concern is to love Robbie as the Savior does. With perfect charity. Through Robbie’s patient and abiding love, he has taught me about what it means to serve God…and he is still gay.
Connie Hubble is mother to eight his, mine, and ours children.
She is expecting her 6th grandchild soon. Connie teaches
at an alternative high school in Fort Collins, Colorado.