What do They Mean When They Say Unconditional Love?: Jamie’s Story

CC image courtesy of Flickr, Beau Giles.

There’s a million pages I could write about my experience as a homeschool kid and what
I went through and what I saw other homeschool kids go through. But who wants to read a
million pages? Not me, so instead of trying to be inspirational-and
credit to those writers who are-I’ll be honest.

This isn’t a story about how I recovered, this is a glimpse into the world of struggle that I’m still in after coming out to my parents three years ago.

I’m twenty-two, and I’m still wondering, what do they mean when they talk about unconditional love?

This is something that I remember from my childhood. Looking across at our desks to my
mom and hearing her say, “Honey, I’ll love you no matter what you grow up to be. You could be
anything, astronaut (my eighth grade ambition at the time) or a garbage collector and I’ll still
love you. Unconditional love.”

So was it unconditional love when, after finding out that I was talking to another girl and
our conversations had become sexual, they took away all the laptops and disconnected all the
phones so I could have no contact with her?

Daddy, was it unconditional love when you told me that you were glad my grandpa had
died so he wouldn’t have to know what I had been doing?

Mom, was it unconditional love when you took me to counseling to “pray away the gay”?
Is it unconditional love when your parents tell you that you’re not morally fit to go to church?

And then, when my girlfriend picked me up and I left home for the first time at nineteen,
was it unconditional love or sadness that had tears streaming down your faces and had your
arms wrapped around me so tight in a goodbye hug?

What about all those packages of food and goodies you sent for the holidays? Was it
unconditional love or was it fear that you would never see me again? Was it a desperate
attempt to stay in my life?

What do you mean when you say that you love me unconditionally but cannot accept my

What lifestyle are you talking about? Do you mean the lifestyle of a Healthcare
Specialist in the United States Army National Guard or the retail working/waiting on an EMT job
lifestyle? Because both apply to me. Do you mean the crazy I-sometimes-binge-Netflix-till-three-in-the-morning lifestyle or the Oops-I-adopted-two-kittens-because-I-wanted-to-help
lifestyle? Both of those apply too. Oh, you mean my “gay lifestyle”. Oh yes, that one. The one
where I drink my gay coffee while I read the gay new, then go for a gay workout, go to my gay
job in my gay car, get back to my gay home, drink a gay beer, slip into my gay pj’s, and watch
gay Netflix? (ok, maybe you’re right about the Netflix. I’ll give you that.)

Still, I don’t know what you mean when you say you love me unconditionally. Does that
mean you’ll let me buy you lunch (apparently, yes) but you think I’m doing things the wrong way,
the hard way, the “ungodly” way? (apparently yes to this, too)

What does unconditional love from a Christian parent to their gay child mean?

I’m still in the process of figuring that out…


  • Unconditional love is not what you got but you sound very brave and open enough to admit human feelings. Christianity does not make us more human; being human does, being ourselves. Christianity does not want to understand that humans might have feelings for those of the same sex and other sex or no sex or what-have-you. Don’t make no nevermind… You sound to me like a real human being and that is big accomplishment these days. Well done! I am clapping my human hands together on the side of a just-now sunny mountainside in the north Okanagan of B.C., Canada. Listen, the clapping is for you. I mean it.

  • Wow, I relate to this so much. Only replace ‘gay’ with ‘atheist’ and you have described much of my relationship with my own mom.

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