Finally, I have found my sympathy for the Devil.
Do you remember the story, that first story, of this garden, a snake, a woman, and fruit from a tree? Yes, it was a beautiful garden, a woman made by God’s own very hands, fruit from a life-giving tree, a tree of knowledge and goodness, and a snake, a serpent really, crawling upon its belly through the dust on the ground. If you don’t recall the story I will give it to you in short: the Serpent lied and the made, the woman, disbelieved her maker and disobeyed His one pronouncement, and she ate of the fruit from that tree, and now we all have been felled for we are all descendant of the fallen.
It does not matter if you believe the story to be true, to be mythic and a teaching legend, or to be false. It only matters that you understand the aftermath of the Serpent.
For this Serpent was not actually a snake – he was an angel that had taken on the snake’s form as a method of trickery, for he wanted the worship that was intended for his maker. He was full of envy. He was full of pride. And Lucifer, once the morning star, was now also one of the fallen. And his eventual punishment was banishment from Heaven; and with that banishment his anger, oh his anger, was great and unquenchable – it was rage.
And finally I now understand that rage.
For those of us who come from families who are not as accepting, or understanding, or even tolerant, of anything but strict heterosexuality, with or without the expectation of religious observance, it may feel like we are the same position as the Devil. For, we have sinned in the eyes of our makers – too often, our parents – and the punishment, the expelling from home – be that home physical or emotional or community or some combination thereof – is an angry thing. There is sadness, there is regret, but most of all, there is anger.
We are not the Devil, however, because this is not a sin of pride of envy. This is not a sin of trickery or conspiracy. And, last time I had checked, we were not at war with humanity or God; at least, I should hope not, for that will change the nature of it all, wouldn’t it?
But, I understand the “great anger” especially since when you’re in the closet you pronounce judgment, too often, on yourself. At 14, I knew what it was like to be kicked out of my home, emotionally, self-inflicted yes but because I knew that home could not be a place where I could not be who I was, and I could not be anything than what I was, and therefore, if I remained as I was home would never be home again. And it hasn’t been, and it isn’t, irrespective of my physical location in the space that technically is classified as my “home address” and is on my driver’s license and my insurance forms and my passport.
Sympathy for the Devil, yes, I have it, because he was forced into the vicinity of the earth to await his final punishment. Well-deserved but painful nonetheless.
And me? All my life since I have been looking for a place, a person, a thing, or some combination thereof, that makes me feel safe, warm, secure, trusted, and comfortable again. I have been looking for home. I have been looking, I have been looking, and it has not yet been found.