A letter to a parent whose child is about to come out
Dear Parent who is about to hear from your child
that she/he/they is gay, queer, transgender, bi-sexual, lesbian, gender fluid,
This moment is sacred. Your child is trusting you with their life by revealing their innermost being. This is an act of vulnerability and takes deep courage. Honor this moment. Accept it as a gift. You were entrusted with your child’s life in the very beginning. Remember that moment just after the labor pains; after breathing deeper than you had ever imagined possible? Even if you adopted your child, you went through an arduous journey before you were able to hold that child in your arms. In that moment you were filled with overwhelming, unconditional love and hope for your child’s future. This is that moment again. But this time it is your child who has done all the deep breathing and made their way through pain.
Your child comes to you now exhausted from a fierce inner turmoil longing only for you to reach out and offer a determined, hopeful, joyful hug, just as you did all those years ago. This is a once-in-a-lifetime moment. It is not about you; not about who you are or what you have or haven’t done; not about how you feel or what you think.
Be still and breathe……in and out. Choose to be quiet. Listen to each word your child speaks. Breathe again……in and out. Stay quiet. Listen like you have never listened before.
Your precious child has already tried to tell you a million other times, having rehearsed this “coming out” moment to the point of agony; has thought and over-thought and wrestled deeply. More than anything, more than anything….take a breath….in and out….. and hear these words: More than anything your child needs you….needs you….really needs you. Your child loves you and needs your love.
You are the one who can choose to love without condition. After your child has spoken, sit for a minute before saying anything. In the silence, reach out and hold your child’s hand. Smile. Breathe. If you don’t know what to say, then say that. “I don’t know what to say.” But please, quickly follow those words with: “But I know I love you.”
If you are filled with fear; if all your mind and heart can do is race through all the negative things you have heard about what it means to be lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, transgender, queer, gender fluid, then with the greatest of humility and compassion keep all those thoughts to yourself. Your child has heard every single syllable of those condemning words. Your child has already fought their way through the “love the sinner hate the sin” battle. No matter how hard it might be for you, swallow your pride, swallow your fear and in this sacred moment make a choice to offer your love without condition. The only choice in this moment belongs to you.
You will have a lifetime to journey with your child. There is time for you to find your way through all the feelings and thoughts that flood you in this moment. Just remember. This is not about you. This is all about your child who needs you and loves you. Show up and choose to honor your child and shower them with love. Your child’s life depends on it.
Written by Rev. Dr. Wm. Blake Spencer
Copyright © 2020 Wm. Blake Spencer. All rights reserved
This post was written by the Rev. Dr. Blake Spencer. Blake has been in ministry for 32 and currently serves Ocean Heights Presbyterian Church in Egg Harbor Township, a More Light Presbyterian congregation. Blake came out 12 years ago. One of the first things Blake did was write a letter to his parents. Blake is married to Jim Wagner and is the father of Wayde and Nakia and their sons, Damian and Aiden; Maddie and Iron and their daughter Nova Blake.