Wednesday, September 27, 2006
"At a point in every person's life one has to look deeply into the mirror of one's soul and decide one's unique truth in the world. Not as we may want to see it or hope to see it, but as it is."
Jim McGreevey spoke these words in August 2004, when he faced the news media and the public to announce that he was gay, had engaged in an adulterous affair with another man, and was resigning his office because of it.
When he came out, I was deeply ambivalent. On the one hand, I thought to myself that but for the grace of God, I might have gone where he had. On the other, I was jealous that he had declared his sexuality to the world and no longer had to hide his truth.
The governor has been all over the news again the last few weeks with the release of his new book, The Confession. I have seen several of his interviews, and have consistently been impressed with his forthrightness and his acknowledgement of his mistakes, his horrible errors of judgement and his moral failings. I have also been struck by how deeply his experience of struggling to understand himself mirrors my own. He has spoken about how being gay was something he did not want to "own" because it did not fit with the dreams he had for himself and his life. For years, I felt the same way. And while I was not the powerful governor of a populous state when my world began to collapse, I was in a postion of standing in my little Mormon community in Brooklyn. I undertand when he talks about the heavy burden of duality.
I heard him speak last night at the New School in Manhattan. I was again impressed. At one point, he said that when he speaks to people around the country he tells them "don't do what I did." In one sense, he's absolutely right. If you're gay, don't hide. And if you're gay and married, don't betray your spouse with an affair. But I think Governor McGreevey underestimates the power of his example. We should all do what he did--look into the mirror of our soul and accept our unique truth as it is. We should live and love as whole and integrated beings.
Accept the gift of your creation. Do what Jim McGreevey did.