Search

[生命故事] 如果你是我,你將會了解 (歐普拉) [Life Story] If you were me, you would understand. (Oprah)

中文版 English


如果你是我,你將會了解

上帝給你我這愛都一樣, 愛本身並沒有罪,重點是我們如何生活,怎樣對待與我們不一樣的弟兄姊妹。


◎ 歐普拉


如果不是…

40多歲的我,如果不曾經歷過一段痛苦而漫長的自我認同、接納過程;如果不曾在教會工作過,對信仰有另一番看見與省思;如果不曾勇敢面對;如果不曾認識許多圈內朋友,如果沒有這些生命經驗與看見,我想我會跟台灣大多數天主教徒或基督徒一樣,參與聯名簽署活動或走上街頭反對同性婚姻或多元成家。我想就會跟聖經上未信主的保羅一樣,去堅決地捍衛傳統以來所教導的宗教信念,迫害基督徒,直到真正遇見看見後。


小時的我

我的父母感情很好,為許多親友所稱羨,小時的我以為自己長大後也會同爸媽一樣有個自己的家,與男生在一起生兒育女共組一個家庭,幼年時對未來理所當然的想像。漸漸地長大後,我發現自己並不只喜歡男生,更是容易被一些美好的女性吸引而愛戀著她們,越大這不一樣的性傾向使我越發害怕,尤其是對一位從小跟媽媽上主日,高中時就領洗的天主教徒來說,我知道教會教導這是非常不正常的事,是有罪,是天主不喜悅的。女生”應該”,理所當然要愛男生,夏娃是要跟亞當結合,生兒育女繁衍大地,組成一個為天主喜悅眷顧及祝福的家庭。


生命的掙扎

與人獨特不同的性傾向,帶給我對生命的孤單與對未來的無望感;教會有罪的教導讓我更是陷入在一種恐懼與罪惡感之中,這教導也猶如孫悟空的緊箍咒將我緊緊梏住,變的”極端”恐同,變得害怕自己,情感上非常壓抑。直到20歲,遇到另一個也是天主教徒的女人,我無法自拔瘋狂迷戀著她,壓抑不住的愛戀讓內心產生極大的衝突與痛苦,這痛苦隨著對她愛戀的加深逐漸升高。


尋找神的救贖

就在一次兩人相約好要去”宜蘭礁溪鄉的聖母山莊朝聖地”朝聖時,對方在電話那端告知有事臨時要取消時,原本內心極大的期待興奮瞬間跌落谷底,轉而是很大的痛苦與失落,從兩極端的感覺中,我知道我要的不止是朋友,無法再壓抑,我知道我有問題,掛上電話後,我決定自己一人出發去走這趟朝聖之旅,尋求神的安慰、救贖與恩典。到火車站買了最近一班車票,第一次自己一人搭火車,從台北搭了二小時左右的車再坐計程車到山腳,聖母山莊,幾年前曾跟媽媽和教友們去過一、二次,從山下風景區的步道走到山上的聖母山莊之前走了四、五個小時,印象中有段狹窄的山路真可謂一失足成千古恨。


朝聖之路

走在山裏,山上如此寂靜,空無一人,我獨自一人邊走邊掉淚,我不明白為什麼自己會跟別人如此不一樣,會被同性吸引,會愛上同性別的人,也不懂為何會對這女人有這麼深的愛戀。內心的孤寂與痛苦,誰能了解,有誰可傾訴。許多感覺感受,我覺得是教會、輔導老師及許多人無法了解體會。好像只有我的世界跟別人不一樣,讓我感覺自己像是個與眾不同的怪物。這內在的孤獨、衝突與痛苦,讓我想輕生,想要往山裏一躍而下,結束生命及內在的掙扎與這一切的痛苦,讓它平息。

當時在山上看著山下燈火通明,一堆密密麻麻的房子時,我想到我親愛的家人,尤其是最親愛的媽媽與妹妹,我想像到自己喪禮的可能景像及家人(尤其是我媽媽)將要承受的苦痛與指責,此時親情猶如一條無形的細線把我拉住,阻止我做傻事,於是我放棄輕生的念頭,為了我所愛的家人轉身繼續往前走,尋求神大能的慈愛救贖,將我從痛苦的深淵中救出


恩典的帶領

走了約有1個多鐘頭,當走到通天橋的登山口時已近傍晚,天色有些昏暗,預估前方路程應該還要2~3個鐘頭吧,如果走到一半,天黑了怎麼辦?不想走回頭路,既然來了,就往上走吧,如果走到一半天黑了,就在路旁坐等天亮吧,在山上其實五、六點天就會亮了。

想不到,還未走到聖母山莊,天就暗了,我忘了在山上天暗的也是很快。之前那些迷途登山客,曾在這山中看見聖母顯靈帶路而脫困,我也想要如此讓聖母來指引光照前路嗎?在黑暗中突然看見某處亮光,也會讓人害怕吧。天主了解每個人的心思意念,祂用不同的方式帶領我。


奇妙的神蹟

這時山裏的黑暗已將我包圍籠罩,但我的內心卻有種奇妙的平安,能毫無恐懼面對伸手不見五指的黑暗,腦子似乎有張地圖指引,縱使眼睛已無法看見前路,我仍知道自己走到那裏,仍能站在山中的新舊叉路間選擇。在黑暗中行走,感覺時間特別久,走了一段時間還未到達山莊時,這時我開始惶恐,懷疑自己是否已走去別座山,就在這麼一種不安疑惑的心情下繼續前往走,當踏上聖母山莊階梯的那一刻,心中的興奮是難以言喻,神的恩典與陪伴原來一直都在,黑夜中一路守護。隔天同住在山莊朝聖的教友們一起拜苦路,並在祈禱交託聖母後就下山了。回家路上陪伴我的是內心的平安、對神大能奇蹟的保守感動和讚美。


神的心靈醫治

下山後,我的問題、痛苦與衝突仍在,天主並沒有顯奇蹟拿走或改變,讓我可以跟一般所謂的正常異性戀一樣,我還是很愛那個女人。但就在沒多久後,一次聖神同禱會中遇見王敬弘神父,當時在心靈醫治祈禱及神恩運用上很有經驗與名聲的神父,在會後我鼓起勇氣請問神父的時間,是否可以抽空幫我做心靈醫治祈禱。沒想到這醫治與陪伴會一直沿續到1999年神父去世,約六、七年的時間。


天主的恩典超乎人的想像。在王神父的心靈醫治祈禱中,天主給了我滿滿的愛,醫治了我過去生命中心靈受到的許多傷害,特別是與奶奶的關係。在醫治祈禱中,從王神父、修女到小媽媽的陪伴也教我看見體會愛。我的生命狀態從封閉到開放,不再那麼憤世嫉俗,心變得柔軟許多,對人性的體會也更多更深。


對宗教間與信仰的看見

後來因緣際會接觸到教會的工作「宗教交談與合作」,與佛教、伊斯蘭教、一貫道等宗教及信徒有許多接觸,它打開了我個人狹隘的天主教宗教視野,讓我看到了一個更大更豐富的(宗教)世界,看見神的各種面貌。對終極實在與真善美聖的追求,宗教間彼此教義是那麼不同但某方面又極為相似。我看見一些隱藏在宗教內的我執和偏見。宗教間要能發展出彼此的尊重與自我的謙抑(謙虛),相當不容易。在宗教巡禮中,我發現各宗教發展受當代文化、自身傳統歷史及人的影響亦相當大。在許多豐富的看見與體會中,可以發現天主(上帝)不是只在教會內,教會外亦有救恩,教會的教導不一定都是正確無誤的。每個宗教都有自身可以再成長淨化的地方。宗教擺脫不了人的色彩,寫下宗教經典的是人,解釋經典的也是人,沒有人是完全的,認知都是有限的。


生命的轉變與成長

就在許多的豐富看見與體會中,我生命中孫悟空的緊箍咒,從小對性傾向不同而產生的罪惡感、害怕與恐懼,這束縛也完全脫落了。我體驗到人在信仰中,自我思考與省思的能力是很重要。

獨特的性傾向讓我的生命也因此成長。原本我的個性是很容易受他人影響,較無主見,相信權威,拘泥規矩,頭腦呆板不懂靈活變通,但就在這麼多的看見與體會後,我開始有了自已的省思,主見,重新認識自己是誰,相信自己而不是權威,並勇敢追尋自己想要的生活與幸福。做自己,走自己的路,這並不容易,尤其自已與大部分的人是這麼不同,難免孤單,但人必須忠於自己,忠於自己的感受,為自我生命負責,面對恐懼、面對黑暗與風暴,勇敢穿越。


主的恩賜

感謝主,現在的我有一個很好的伴侶相守一生,很想可以早日嫁給她或娶她,做她名正言順的伴侶,不再躲藏在櫃中,並享有法律及社會上福利,當我們老的時候還可以陪伴在一起,當生病的時候,可以名正言順請假請家庭照顧假照顧對方,陪伴在旁,可以享有異性戀者的權益。從沒想到這一切竟是如此困難。

看著新聞一些衛道人士、宗教人士在反同,反同志婚姻,我心裏在想,這些人因為他們不是同志,因為他們自以為是、理所當然的價值觀,甚至用宗教的理由,去剝奪欺壓別人,這樣對嗎?這是要教小孩子什麼?偏見、歧視,然後一代代傳下去嗎?


God gives the same love to you and me. Love itself is not a sin. The main point is on how we live and how we treat our brothers and sisters who are different from us. If not... In my 40s, if I hadn't gone through the long and painful process of self-identification and self-acceptance, hadn't worked in this church and gain another insight and perspective on faith, hadn't faced it bravely, hadn't met all these friends in this community, if I didn't have all these life experiences and seen what I’ve seen, I think I would have ended up like most Catholics or Christians in Taiwan, participating in gathering joint signatures for referendum and taken to the streets to protest against same-sex marriage and family diversity. I think I would be like Paul in the Bible before he met Jesus, resolutely defending the beliefs taught by traditional religion and persecuting Christians. When I was a child My parents had a good loving relationship that was the envy of many relatives and friends. At that time, I thought that I would be like them when I grew up, ie. marry a guy, have children, and have my own home, just your typical childhood vision of how her future would be like. When I grew up, I found that I not only liked boys, but was also attracted to some beautiful women and even fell in love with them. The older I got, the more scared I became of my sexual orientation. Especially for a Catholic who had been following my mum to Sunday Mass, and was baptized when I was in high school. I knew about the church’s teachings that such attractions were very abnormal, that it was sinful, that God was not pleased about it, that girls should, of course, love boys, that Eve should be with with Adam, have children and reproduce to fill the earth, and form a family. I was taught that these were the things that pleased God and was blessed by Him. Life’s Struggles My sexual orientation, being different from most people, brought me a sense of loneliness in life and hopelessness for the future. The teachings of sin by the church made me fall into a sense of fear and guilt. These feelings was like the Monkey God Sun Wukong's (from the Chinese classic Journey to the West) head band, squeezing and choking me, till I developed a kind of "extreme" homophobia. I became afraid of myself and I suppressed all my emotions. When I was 20, I met another woman who was also a Catholic and I couldn't stop myself from falling in love with her. This un-suppressible love caused great inner conflict and pain in my heart, and which only grew with the deepening of my love for her. Looking for God's salvation Once, the two of us made plans for a pilgrimage trip to the Catholic Sanctuary of Our Lady of Wufenqi in Yilan. When she told me over the phone that something came up and she couldn’t make it, I was devastated. My feelings went from the height of excitement to the lowest of disappointment. From the way I felt, I knew that what I wanted for us was not only to be friends. I couldn’t suppress my feelings any longer. I knew that I had a problem. After hanging up the phone, I decided to take this trip by myself to seek God's comfort, redemption and grace. I bought the first available train ticket at the railway station. It was my first solo train ride. The train journey took about two hours from Taipei, followed by a taxi ride to the foot of the mountain where the sanctuary was located. I was here a couple of times a few years ago with my mother and our church friends. I remembered it was a four to five hours walk along the scenic trail from the foot of the mountain to the top where the sanctuary was located, and there was a section of narrow trail that can only be described by a Chinese idiom as one misstep will result in a whole life of regrets. Pilgrimage path My tears fell as I walked alone in the mountains where it was so quiet and empty. I couldn’t understand why I was so different from the others, why I was attracted to and why would I fall in love with someone of the same sex, and why did I have such a deep love for this woman. Who could understand and who could I talk to about this loneliness and pain in my heart? There was these waves of emotions. I felt that the church, my tutors and everyone couldn’t understand my experience. It seemed that my world is different from the others’, which made me felt like a monster. The loneliness, conflict and pain inside me made me want to end my life, to just jump off the mountains and end this inner struggle and pain, so as to finally achieve inner peace. Then I looked down at the brightly lit houses at the foot of the mountain, and I thought of my dear family, especially my mother and sister. I thought of the possible scenes of my funeral and the pain and accusations that my family (especially my mother) would have to suffer. Suddenly my family’s love was like an invisible rope pulling me back, it stopped me from doing something stupid. So I gave up the idea of ending my life, turned around and continued moving forward for the sake of my beloved family. I decided to seek God's power of salvation, hoping for His deliverance from this abyss of pain. Led by grace After walking for an hour plus, it was almost evening when I got to the mountain overpass. Daylight was starting to fade. The journey ahead would take another 2-3 hours. What if it got dark halfway? I didn’t want to go back. Since I was already here, I decided to carry on, and that if it got too dark, I would just sit by the roadside and wait till dawn. Anyway it would be dawn by five or six o'clock in the mountains. It got fully dark before I could reach the sanctuary, and I had forgotten how quickly it gets dark in the mountains. I thought of those lost mountain trekkers who claimed they were guided by the Virgin Mary to safety. Did I also want the Virgin Mary to appear to guide me with Her light now? It would probably be quite scary if a strange light were to suddenly appear in the dark. Anyway, God understands all of our thoughts, and I believed that He has many different ways to lead me forward. A Wondrous Miracle By this time, the darkness in the mountain had completely enveloped me, yet there was a wonderful peace in my heart. I could face the darkness without fear. It was as if there was a map in my mind. Even when my eyes could no longer see the way forward, I still knew which direction I was heading, and which way to choose when I encountered cross roads. Walking in the dark, it felt like a long time had passed. After a while, when I still didn’t reach the sanctuary, I began to panic and wondered if I had mistakenly walked to another mountain. I continued to walk in an uneasy and doubtful mood. The moment I finally made it to the steps of the sanctuary, the elation and relief in my heart was indescribable. God's grace was with me all this time, guiding me all the way in the dark. The next day I participated in the Station of the Cross with the other pilgrims at the sanctuary, prayed to the Holy Mother and descended the mountain. On the way home, I felt peace, and praised God in my heart, moved by the His miraculous protection. God's healing of the heart After my descent, my problems, pain and conflicts were still there. God did not miraculously remove or change them. I still loved that woman. I didn’t become straight. But not long after, I met Father Wang Jinghong at a Charismatic Prayer group meeting. He was a priest with great experience and reputation in spiritual healing prayer and in the application of divine grace. After the meeting, I summoned up the courage to ask him if he could take time to help me with spiritual healing prayers. Unexpectedly, this healing and companionship continued until his passing on in 1999, a period of about six or seven years. The grace of God is beyond human imagination. With Father Wang's spiritual healing prayers, I received God’s abundant love which healed many of my past spiritual wounds, especially the relational wounds with my grandmother. Through the healing prayers and the company of Father Wang and the nuns, who taught me to see and experience love, my life started to open up. I was no longer so cynical, my heart became much softer, and my experiences of human nature became deeper.

Seeing inter-religious faith Later, I had the opportunity to be involved with the church’s work on "Inter-religious faith dialogue and cooperation", and through it got to know believers of different religions such as Buddhism, Islam, and Taoism. This opened up my own narrow vision of the Catholic faith, and allowed me to see a larger and richer (religious) world and to see the various faces of God. Religions are so different in their pursuit of what is true, good, beautiful and holy, and yet so similar in some aspects. I came to realized some of my own rigid prejudices hidden in religion. It is not easy for religions to develop mutual respect and humility. In my learning process of the different religions, I found that how they developed was greatly influenced by contemporary culture, traditional history and people. Through what I saw and experienced, I discovered that God can be found not only in the church, but His salvation grace can be found outside the church too, and that the teachings of the church are not necessarily always correct. Every religion still has room to grow, and areas they need to clean up. Religion cannot be separated from the tint of human influence. It was people who wrote the religious texts, and it is also the people who explain and interpret these classics. No one person is complete, and each one’s comprehension is limited. Life’s transformation and growth After seeing and experiencing these rich and diverse views, the curse of my constrictive Monkey God’s headband, the guilt and fear caused by my sexual orientation since I was a child, the bondage I’ve been living with, all these were finally completely lifted. My experiences taught me that when it comes to a person’s faith, the ability to think and reflect independently is very important. My life grew because of my unique sexual orientation. My original personality was easily influenced by others. I didn’t have my own views. I believed in authority, was rigid with rules, and was inflexible. But after what I saw and experienced, I began to have my own thoughts and opinions. I got to know myself all over again. I began to believe in myself rather than authority, and bravely pursue the life and happiness that I want. It's not easy to be oneself and follow one’s own path. It’s difficult not to feel alone, especially when being so different from most people. But we must be faithful to ourselves, be honest to our own feelings, be responsible for our own lives, confront our fears, face our darkness and storms, for only then shall we bravely overcome it all. The Lord’s gift Thank you Lord that I now have a good partner to spend my life with. I really want to marry her as soon as possible, so that we may be legally recognized as a couple, to no longer hiding in the closet, and to be able to enjoy legal and welfare benefits. And when we’re old, we can still be with each other. I want that when we are sick, we can ask for family care leave to take care and accompany each other. I never thought that it would be so difficult just to have the same basic rights as that of heterosexuals.


Looking at the news of the religious right who are anti- gay and against same sex marriage, in my heart I think that these people are so full of themselves. Just because they are not gay, they think that only their values are right, and would even use religion to oppress and deprive others of their rights. Is that acceptable? What will this teach the children? Are their prejudices and discrimination going to be passed down from generation to generation?


中文版 English