Is that really the best I can do for a title? There are a million things frolicking through my brain today- each one of them worth a blog post or two, but I have come to settle on this:
Many many years ago, back when I actually was the age that I think I am right now, I was dating my future husband. We met, we fell in love, we spent hours and hours talking about our future and touching each others hands.
I decided to go on a mission. I put in my papers and opened my call with him at a little park that is just up the street from the Church Office Building- coincidentally right behind the townhomes where the Temple Square Sisters live. I was going to San Diego.
One week before I left, Husband “let me in on the last of the dark recesses of his soul.” I was racked- I was humbled- while not completely surprised. He graciously took me to an appointment with his therapist at the time- one who he found through Evergreen- who clarified a few things for me, and kind of dusted me off and set me back on my feet. I cannot even find the words to describe what I felt. If I had loved him before, if I had been devoted to him before, it didn’t compare to how I felt about him after. I knew that if anyone was going to go on this journey with him, it had to be me.
And then I went to the MTC. Hah!
I had no idea that the constant lingering sadness and fits of rage that I had felt for years would get in the way of doing the Lord’s work. Two and a half months later, I was home, diagnosed as clinically depressed with some bipolar shades and soon thereafter, engaged.
My return was not the perfect happy reunion that seamlessly slid into a resumed romance and betrothal. Husband was just getting used to the idea that I was gone, and had started down a new path that I didn’t fit into. It wasn’t easy for him to back up to where I was. He wasn’t sure he wanted to. I have had a lot of different thoughts about that through the years, but, ultimately it was his choice to come back to me. He has always come back.
About a month after I came home and about two weeks before we got engaged, I decided to get a tattoo. He had been vacillating between paths and I wanted to get his attention. Yeah, I’d wanted this tattoo for a while, so it wasn’t totally for him, but it did the trick. I remember walking through Trolley Square with him afterward, feeling the piece of plastic wrap that the guy had taped over my fresh purple star wound and feeling so naughty and glad and euphoric. We ran into my brother, which made me feel even naughtier. I liked it.
The day before Husband proposed, I dyed my hair red. It wasn’t particularly great on me, but I’d always wanted to try it.
I was searching to find myself. I was in no condition to make a life decision (eternal decision, if you will,) but the funny thing was that Husband was the only thing that made sense. With all of the craziness and wonder and doubt, I knew that he was it. On some level, I had known all along.
At some point early in the engagement I found a letter in his trash can that took the air out of my lungs. I remember thinking that it wasn’t any different than if he had written it to a girl- that he had some residual feelings from a past relationship that were still working their way out of his system. I had a few of those myself. Forgiven. Moving on.
We talked about his gayness a lot. I loved his gayness. I love it now. I have a whole big long blog post to write about what a fag hag I am. Gay guys are hot. Now, I’m not okay with watching them get it on. Watching guys kiss freaks me out. Somehow I disconnected his gay traits from his gay desires and lived in blissful ignorance for many many years.
But that isn’t what this story is about.
While I was on my mission, Husband and I kept our letters to one another in plastic pages in binders. I found his binder, and a letter that I had written to him long after I had come home- written on April 10, 1996. (We got married in August of 1996) What I love about this letter is that the intensity that I feel hasn’t changed much in the intervening 13.5 years. It gets pretty gagishly flowery, but so goes the heart of a 22 year old girl in love.
Here you go:
I just finished that terrible book by Carol Lynn Pearson and, well, I cried! Funny thing since the rest of the book just frustrated me. I would love so deeply to have the ability to write precisely what is in my soul right now. Just to say “I love you,” seems so small, but who has been able to create something stronger, more sure? I love you. Maybe if I said it ten million times it would spark some insistence?
I think our trials have evoked us to indefinable closeness. Our precious moments teetering on the edge of failure, grasping at air until we find one another. Oh how grateful I am of the miracle that I grasped on to you!
It goes much farther than us, our bodies and feelings. It is the beat of a song that sketches your passions on to the theatre of my world. I find deep connection in our solidarity. You are becoming me. You are in me. Your desires and fears and loves ride my veins along with everything God created for me.
I want to write. I want eloquence. I want you to know in CONCRETE exactly how I feel . We know that all of my WANTS and NEEDS rarely find their place in my life but if God wills it to me, then I will receive, right? This one realization of simple truth has changed me. Altered me and chased me closer to whom I want to be.
I fear losing you to the passion that brought me to you. I am striving daily to get a true grip on reality and its friends so I won’t melt to pieces at every sleight of hand that passes by me. Yes I need you. the air I breathe is yours. It is awesome and impossible to believe that your air is mine and your thoughts are of me and the me that I am is not because of you, but easier by you. You very much thrill me.
I hope you have found your field of roses as I have found mine. How lucky I am that it was your name on the gate! I wish to do nothing to harm you. I vow to you my heart and the passions of my soul. Please receive me with forgiveness for my humanity and love for my spirituality. I am taking your hand and embracing your precious gift in the other with only the with to hold on.
All my love
So here we are. I still cherish his precious gift, even though our hands haven’t remained entwined through this entire journey. The important part is that we both keep reaching out.
Now. Dinner won’t make itself