Desire of the Everlasting Hills is a documentary profiling three people, their sexual identities, and their relationship with the Catholic faith. I happen to be one of the three. My name is Rilene.
The movie — I hope the word movie is not insulting to the filmmakers, I know so many people who only call movies “films,” but using that word makes me feel pretentious — premiered this past Saturday night at the Courage Conference. There was no physical red carpet, but the reception was as warm and affirming as any you could imagine.
It was also the first time we were all three (Dan, Paul and I) together to see the movie. After some press interviews, we sat in the back of an auditorium of about 350 people, and we laughed, we teared up, we squeezed hands and passed tissues. And we got a standing ovation, which was really a little embarrassing but also fun.
I don’t want to spoil the movie for you by giving too many details here, but our three stories are unique from one another, and yet have some common threads running through. Dan had a quiet, short one year same-sex relationship, experienced a conversion through an unexpected romance with a beautiful woman, and then opted for chastity and the Church. Paul lived the gay life to the fullest from about fifteen years old, and lost a lot of friends to AIDS and HIV. He is now in a deep but chaste friendship with another man. I was in a 25 year committed relationship with a woman who eventually left me because of a chasm between us created by financial stress and my refusal to “marry” her.
Maybe the most remarkable theme is the finding of love, even within disordered relationships. That will seem obvious to some, and impossible to others, but the three of us undeniably experienced love in our relationships. And yet, with a fuller understanding of God’s design for human sexuality, and the Church’s gentle and loving teaching, we three recognize the wisdom, beauty and sacredness that is literally embodied in the marital act between a husband and wife. And each of us is prepared, whether or not we achieve that ultimate state of spousal union for ourselves, to forgo any imitations or substitutes. Through chastity we grow closer to Christ, and are prepared to live out our new and deeper understanding of our own sexuality in whatever way God chooses to grace us.
Please take the opportunity to watch the movie, it’s available online at www.everlastinghills.org.
More postings on the movie to follow…