As I read about the Yes on 8’s campaign to retroactively void the marriages that had been performed from June to November I felt a pang of sadness for those involved. No matter who you called your family, hearing a court order saying that your marriage is no longer valid would be incredibly heartbreaking. Personally, it was hard not to feel targeted as a gay man when such actions were sought….
“How can we love days that are filled with sorrow? We can’t—at least not in the moment.”
Elder Wirthlin’s words rang in my earphones. I had his talk from the last General Conference playing on my iPod, but I hadn’t heard a word he had said until then. I shut my computer and started to pay attention to the gentle, understated voice.
“I don’t think my mother was suggesting that we suppress discouragement or deny the reality of pain. I don’t think she was suggesting that we smother unpleasant truths beneath a cloak of pretended happiness.”
His straight-forwardness caught me off guard. It was seemingly in direct contrast to “the Lord’s way is not hard” statement that caused me to swear in my head whenever I heard it. Tell that to Nephi.
“But I do believe that the way we react to adversity can be a major factor in how happy and successful we can be in life.”
I then heard his first suggestion for dealing with adversity and it made me love Elder Wirthlin all the more. The first thing he said we should learn to do in order to deal with adversity was to learn to laugh. I agreed. Oh, how I agreed.
The previous Sunday I stood in the foyer of the church with some friends and acquaintances as we complimented a fellow member of the singles ward on her beautiful performance of “O Holy Night” during sacrament meeting. Another sister flung an arm around her shoulder and asked, “so, what does it look like, standing up there singing and seeing every guy in the ward fall in love with you?” The singer blushed.
“I fell in love with you,” one guy said.
“So did I.”
“I fell in love with you,” I said, “which was really impressive.”
There was a half second where those standing in the group were either wondering what the punch line was or were deciding whether they should laugh at it. Is he talking about what I think he is talking about?
They won’t be crude or vulgar (well, maybe a little…but only with the people I know the closest), but I’m going to make gay jokes. I can’t think of any right now, oh, but when I do, they’ll be hilarious, trust me.
I make jokes about everything. It’s what I do. Crap, I even write jokes professionally. Laughing makes me happy and I’m going to continue to laugh about being gay. Because if I don’t laugh, what are my other options?
So thank you Elder Wirthlin. Like your soul-shaking (in a good way) talk, “Concern for the One”, your last discourse has changed my life by enough degrees that it will surely affect where I end up in the end (to reference the latest gospel metaphor that is likely to show up on cross stitches on the walls of Mormons across the country).
Good-bye Elder. You will be missed.