I think one the darkest challenges of walking my path has been dealing with the loss of custody of my children. While much of the past are stories for another day, I will say that leaving my sons in the custody of their father was one of the hardest choices I ever made. It was also one of the wisest. The agony nearly destroyed me until about six months after I left, when I had a vision/dream. I saw the huge hands of God cradling my tiny sons in the palms of his hands. It was a visual affirmation of the words my sponsor kept repeating, “Children never belong to us. Sometimes we are just gifted with the opportunity to care for them for awhile.”
Gaining joint custody when they were teenagers turned out to be a disaster because of The Evil Warlock, my fiancé. Nevertheless, during those years I was attending ritual regularly while training with the a Grove in the suburbs of Atlanta. I knew I had a calling. I seemed to have been led to the grove. Yet just before initiation I knew something had gone horribly wrong. I challenged for initiation, but they refused to allow the trial Meanwhile, my bipolar, unemployed fiancé managed to gain his first degree. He was completely unstable at the time, but had gained the confidence of my also bipolar priestess. They seemed to feed each other illnesses. He was also taking money, unbeknownst to me, and paying her bills. It took about six months for me to realize the harm my fiancé had been causing to me behind my back. It took the grove about another year and a half to realize their mistakes. I have subsequently received an apology.
One of the reasons I was determined to expose my sons to paganism was to expand their world view. We come from an area dominated by Baptists and the Church of Christ, so I wanted the boys to know there are other ways to explore their spirituality. My oldest son never “got it” and pursues a path possibly leading to becoming a Chaplin the military. My youngest is extremely involved in the Baptist church with his wife. While the oldest is traditional and narrow minded, the youngest remains open minded and nonjudgmental. I have no idea how I actually influenced either son.
Just as my spirituality can be challenging in my life, so can be being gay. My youngest son is entirely unconcerned regarding my orientation and loves my partner. My eldest son, however, is military and breaths military culture. I suppose the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy reinforces his resistance to homosexuality. Ironically, he loves my partner who has been part of his life for 11 years. The agony of grandchildren growing up without my ever holding them, reading them stories, or hugging them is indescribable. Unfortunately, between paganism and gay, the distance between myself and my son seems insurmountable. Fortunately, I believe in miracles.