I wish I was Bruce Jenner’s father. Looking at the most recent Vanity Fair cover, it just breaks my heart to see a man in such pain. Jenner seems to be looking for acceptance and validation among those who seek to exploit him most for their personal gain, when the reality is that he is and always has been of immeasurable value.
This is what all good fathers know and try to impart in their children. When our children come to us thinking they are “ugly” or “freaks” or “awkward,” saying that nobody would ever love them, we comfort them with the truth that God created them with tender loving care while they were still in their mother’s womb. We tell them that they are not accidents, but blessings of God, purposely selected to be just as they are, to be uniquely loved by God and for them to love God above all.
And, of course, we tell them how much we (their parents) love them. I have lost count of the many times I have told my daughter Mia the story of her birth. “When you came out, you were this little, tiny baby, and daddy took you in his arms and told you, ‘I’ll take care of you, baby.’ And I will; you are very special to me.”
My daughters, as every other parent would tell you, are perfect. I actually rebel against today’s “fashion and beauty” and the Hollywood industry that tells young girls at every turn that they must look a certain way to have value.
My boy has autism. And he is perfect. Just as God created him. When others come and try to make him feel bad because of his naïve nature, guess what I tell him? “You are the most ‘awesomest’ boy I have ever met. You are a good boy, and God and I are pleased in you. Just keep doing what you know is right.”
I want my kids to know they need not change their appearance to fit into anyone’s preconceived notions of who they are. The power to bring about transforming change in their lives belongs only to He who created them: God.
But today’s culture rejects that essential reality. Today’s culture makes the fundamental mistake of choosing between reality and fantasy as if they were equal. Therefore, we end up with a sort of schizophrenia that encourages us to live with our eyes closed, hitting every obstacle we encounter, causing great harm to ourselves, when all we have to do is open our eyes.
Think about it. For all the talk of this culture wanting to break the stereotypes of men and women and so forth, when Bruce Jenner “feels like a woman,” he feels the need (and everyone encourages him) to look like the stereotypical woman. The picture in Vanity Fair by the great photographer Annie Leibovitz is as cliché as they come. It is everything the culture says it wants to break down for women.
Isn’t it amazing how outraged the liberal elites get when people comment on a woman’s looks and ignore her personal accomplishments? Yet, in the case of Bruce Jenner, they talk of nothing else but his looks.
Shame on our media-obsessed culture for what they are doing to this poor man. He has made his own choices, don’t get me wrong, he must answer for them, but our culture bears some responsibility for sure. I feel the burden, at least.
The saddest part of all is that we will continue to see much more of Bruce Jenner. How do I know that? Because he will not find what he is looking for in living out his Caitlyn fantasy. Therefore, he will need something else very soon to fill the void he will still have in his heart. He is searching for something that is not found in a fantasy, but in reality.
And until he opens his eyes, he will continue to stumble.