I have had this post in my head for sometime. It feels right at this time to write it down.

As I untangled the Christmas lights to hang on the tree in my garden, I struggled to separate a set of white berry lights from a set of red berry lights which had been stored in the same box.

I was surprised how easy it was to separate each set, one from the other, and then confounded by the extreme difficulty which I had in unravelling each set from themselves to create a straight line from which I could begin the action of hanging them on the branches of my tree.

It was truly horrendous, frustrating and I felt like I had neither time or patience to be bothered as it was cold and dark outside in the garage where I had gone to do the job under the lights.

The entanglement of the red berries betwixt themselves and also the white berries betwixt themselves, brought strongly to mind the reality that our choices, even when they are clear and separately identifiable, are within themselves tangled , unclear, full of hope and risk, full of desire and acceptance, full of safety and denial.

In my mind the comfort and security of my marriage respresented by the white berries, seems like a pure choice, a sensible choice and safe choice, and my marriage and my place within it carries the hopes and aspirations of my wife, whom I love.

In my mind the brutal honesty and risk of embracing my gay truth, represented by the red berries, seems like a selfish choice, unsafe, harmful to others and also to myself, but it carries the truth and the honesty of my feelings in the harsh reality of who I am at my core.

Eventually , I unravel the lights so that they are laid out untangled , side by side on the garage floor, next to each other.

I carry both sets of lights out separately to hang on the tree and place them there side by side. I deliver the cable to provide the energy which will be needed to light them up so that they sparkle and twinkle, side by side in the night sky for the benefit of my family and my neighbours and for those who pass by.

Such a public display of my truth, hidden in the metaphor of the white and red berries, shocks my inner turmoil, provokes it to grieve in silence for a time of peace , when my heart and mind can be settled and reconciled to the dual reality of my life.

There was a time when I did not recognise within me , or feel able to articulate my inner conflict, now it is present , a companion of my private reverie at the deeper mystery of who I am.

I know my truth, it cannot be denied, it is right to set it side by side, untangled for the world to see, knowing that in the white and the red berries , glistening in the night air, and blowing in the breeze, that I am doing what I can to honour both myself and also those whom I love.

William Defoe

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