Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Everybody should have a Dad like Stan Wright

Everybody should have a dad like Stan Wright, but he is apparently the exact right person to be Chely Wright's dad. They both appeared on Oprah today and he struck me as a model of strong solid silence, what we often think typifies men but doesn't really. His silence masked love and support for his child as she told him she is gay and has since shared her truth with the world. How sad that she ever doubted that he would be there for her, but I can understand why. How beautiful that she finally dared to risk finding out who loves her and who doesn't understand love at all. How telling that only two of her peer country singers have contacted her. I guess it's easier to write songs and sing about love than it is to give love.

The Wrights reminded me of the many times I've sat in church and heard homosexuality denounced and wondered how it would feel to be a parent of a beloved gay child and hear such judgment seemingly coming from Almighty God. The Wrights came up believing the preaching to homosexuals that says "the way you are is sinful...God wants you to be some other way...your desires and behavior are are disgusting." And yet, the power of Stan's love overcame all this indoctrination and allowed him to hear his daughter above all that noise.

From Oprah's web site:
Chely's lifelong secret also affected her relationship with her family. "When one lives a closeted life, there's a compartmentalization that happens. That's my experience," she says. "I became a skilled liar, and I lived two different lives."

Then, one day, Chely received a phone call from her father, Stan. "He said: 'Chel, what have I done? Are you mad at me? Is there something wrong? Why aren't we close?'" she says. Soon after, Chely found the courage to tell her father the truth.

After a concert in Missouri, Chely sat with her father and faced her fears. "[I said]: 'I have to tell you something I've needed to tell you my whole life. I've been afraid, though, to tell you because I'm afraid you won't love me, and I'm afraid you'll be ashamed of me. ... I'm gay,'" she says.

At first, Stan didn't say a word. "I grabbed her, and I put my arms around her," he says. "I told her it was all right. It would be fine."

Stan says he was raised to believe that homosexuality was wrong and sinful, but he found out quickly that was not true. "I knew her heart. I knew her mind. I knew her soul," he says. "You hear a lot of times unconditional love. Well, in this old man's world, it's true."

Before passing judgment on others, Stan offers one piece of advice to people in the same situation. "The simplest thing I can tell anyone is, do not close the door," he says. "Open the heart."


Mad Hatter said...

I would hope that a love for a child would overcome any silly rule... but I don't know. I don't know if my dad would be ok if one of his kids were gay. My mom would be fine, but I just don't know about my father. I hope I never have to find out one of my kids is gay... just because I know how painful it can be... or at least I know because gay friends have told me. I do think I would still love them, but I wouldn't that on anybody.

"P. B." said...

The problem is that many parents themselves never experienced love that accepted them and made them feel secure. To expect people to give what they never had is a tall order, but sometimes a miracle happens and sometimes people surprise us with their strength and good will.