Monday, May 30, 2011

Unexpected Sadness

I haven't blogged for a long time, for two reasons, I think. One, I am too busy. And two, life has been pretty happy and peaceful, and the ideas I have had for blog posts have not been angsty enough to warrant the *need* to process in written form, (or sometimes I have processed through them by writing, but just in a note-pad on my phone during church, and then I've never gotten back to them to publish them.)

But here it is two in the morning, and I can't sleep and I can't stop crying, so I guess it is time to process. And then I will grade some trigonometry finals while I am up and there are no children to interrupt me! :)

The story begins ten years ago when two of Scott's siblings were married within a month-and-a-half of each other. The two weddings gave me the opportunity to compare and contrast the events and how I felt at each, since one of them was in the temple and one was not. I will never forget the difference in how I felt, and it was a significant moment for my testimony of the importance of the sealing ordinance.

Therefore, I was thrilled a month or so ago to discover that the one who was married in her in-laws' home was now making preparations to be sealed. I was very glad that I had my recommend so that I wouldn't be left out.

Then tonight at a family birthday/dinner party (or last night, I guess), my mother-in-law presented them with a gift--a porcelain replica of a temple--and then she pushed them to share their experience of the day before as they and their four children were sealed in the temple. It became the main topic of discussion, as it rightfully should have been! Everyone ran to the computer to see a photo that a friend had taken and put on Facebook of the six of them in white, hand in hand outside the temple.

At first I thought my feeling of disappointment was due to the fact that the event had been kept low-key, with only the two sets of parents and some close friends invited. It totally makes sense to do as they did, since the families are large, and people without recommends would be left out, and who do you invite and who do you not invite as not to hurt feelings, and the fact that they just wanted to keep it small because yes, it was important, but they did not want the pomp and circumstance to detract from that.

But then as the discussion continued, and everyone was so excited to hear the details, my sadness deepened. It wasn't just disappointment at not being invited, it was about me and MY marriage and MY eternity. I have been doing so well lately and thought I had mourned most of it out of my system, but apparently not. Eventually, the tears began to overflow, and I realized too late that we should have left sooner so that I could have kept them inside so as not to detract from the evening.

I briefly told my daughter what was wrong so that she wouldn't worry about me, but when Scott, concerned, tried to discover the source of my sadness on the way home and then again at home, I could not tell him. I could not share the pain with him. Not only would it make him sad that I am sad, but I'm also not sure if he understands anymore just how hard it is for me, when he has distanced himself so much from the church and the gospel, when he no longer believes what he once did about eternity and temple ordinances. He would try to sympathize to comfort me, but he would not be able to empathize, and that--the loss of his testimony--just makes it all the more painful.

And so I mourn a loss, while trying hard to find the hope I have had so many times, the faith that God knows all things, and that everything will work out for the best for him and me and our family. I know God brought us together in the first place and confirmed that we should marry. So he must have a plan for us. And I just need to endure and be patient to find out the end of my story...


Bravone said...

I too am up late/early. This "gay" is quiet the challenge isn't it, both for those of us who are and those who love us. This November will mark 3 years since we first met. It has been interesting to see what has happened in our lives and the lives of so many we know and love. One thing that has born fruit (no pun intended :) is the commitment both you and Scott have for your family. It may have been easier for him to just walk away, but, while he has distanced himself from the church, and you as a spouse, he has not abandoned you or your family.

His love and sense of commitment has held him close even as his natural desire might dictate otherwise. He is a good man, and you are a good woman, both good parents and true friends to many.

My heart goes out to you both. It is hard to predict what the future may bring for any of us, but I am confident that Father is mindful of us. Someday we will hopefully see how his hand has guided our lives and carried us through difficult times.

God bless,

Sarah said...

You are so right, Steve. Scott has been wonderful in so many ways.

It occurs to me that this whole thing gives me the painful opportunity to experience first hand what one of scott's sisters has felt for years, and in fact that she felt again last night and left early because of it. She and I chatted as I was first going to sleep last night. She has never felt accepted by the family and believes she never will. She is trying desperately to elliminate some nasty addictions she has had for years, but she made the comment to me at dinner that being around her mom and family just make her want to go "use" again. I am only now catching glimpses of the agony she has faced for years. She and Scott have become much closer than they've ever been, and it means so much to her.

Anonymous said...

Sarah, I'm so sorry to hear this. We don't know each other. I'm gay, born LDS, never married, and away from the church for many years. So this will be an outsider's perspective, probably more "outside" than you would get from Scott, but for what it's worth:

"...[I] thought I had mourned most of it out of my system..." Perhaps you have. My own experience is that this sort of process does not end by smoothly fading out. The painful experiences can still arise from time to time, but for me at least they become less frequent and intense. Getting to the point where it's possible to say "I thought it was over" can be a sign that it is indeed coming to an end.

I hope you are able to appreciate your own accomplishment in returning to a state of greater equilibrium. We say "time heals all wounds", but it doesn't happen as we sit by passively and run out the clock. It's not an effort you chose to make, and a lot of what goes on is below consciousness. Nevertheless, something is happening, and you are the one doing it, at the same time being a mother to five children with their own needs, a friend (if that's the right word) to Scott, a math teacher, and I don't know what else. It is admirable even if it seems you are just responding to necessity.

The Church has a lot of automatic built-in reminders for those who aren't totally on the conventional track, and those who are can be completely oblivious to them. In my old ward's local Mother's Day tradition, childless married women got the same treatment as the cheese in "The Farmer in the Dell," minus the chorus. It really was that obvious. Yet it went on year after year, and I'm just about certain most of the men and some of the women didn't notice there was a problem.

This won't change, but you will (and have). In the meantime (if applicable) forgive them, for they know not what they do.

recover and thrive said...

I'm glad you know that Heavenly Father has a plan for you and your family. That is what I hold on to when it seems pretty ridiculous to be in a marriage - God didn't lie when he said I should marry my wife, and I'm sure he didn't when he said you should marry Scott - Heavenly Father knows whats up and that is very comforting

J G-W said...

Sarah, you're not the only one who has to struggle with this... And as someone who does have a testimony and loves the Church and is in a same-sex relationship, and who feels very strongly that my love has a right to last eternally and is intended to last... I often find myself in Church settings that are very painful.

I don't know what to do with that, or with your pain... Except that when I really feel broken and don't know what to do with the pain, those are the moments when I also find the greatest comfort in prayer. I know God won't leave any of us behind or let any of us fall through the cracks. This is an opportunity for us to grow. Others may not understand what we are going through; sometimes they actually make it worse when they're trying to help. That's OK. God knows.

Beck said...

Your faith in the plan and a loving Father who knows best for all is amazing and I thank you for expressing your feelings. Though you may feel alone and confused and suffering pain, I see a strength and assurance in your abundant faith in the bigger picture.

Anonymous said...

I haven't read the article yet. But I did have some thoughts. First, I always categorize my family as different than the regular cookie cutter type that fits into the regular or "traditional" mormon family. Statistically families like ours are in the minority in the big mormon family (I am assuming). So I usually refer to these articles as talking to the majority but maybe not to me specifically to my situation and my circumstance, because, my situation, my circumstance is so complicated and I am doing what works for me and for my family. And Dang, I sure care about my family and am trying to hold it all together.

Don't let this talk pull you apart. You have the bigger picture that others can't see. Like love, like acceptance, like still trying to keep a family together and still trying to do what is best for them. Isn't that what is important to love everyone no matter what...

Anonymous said...

oops, I meant to post my comment on the troubled post. I will repost there.