Tuesday, July 24, 2012

for the record

It’s time to renew my temple recommend. I have an appointment with my bishop this Sunday and I’m a tad nervous about it. Not because I’m afraid I won’t “pass” but because this is my first one-on-one with this particular bishop, and bishops are always curious about adult members who have never married. What kinds of questions is he going to ask me?

My last bishop (who I liked very much, and still do), took the opportunity to ask if I was interested in getting married. I don’t blame him for the question. He was aware of the situation with MJ. I don’t remember if the interview was before or after he knew about our close friendship, but I’m sure people in general are curious. There are probably people in my ward who would like to ask me questions. I don’t date. I don’t bring boyfriends to church.

Just because a person plays the part, attends church, goes to the temple, lives the gospel, doesn’t necessarily mean they are actively pursuing the family that God has in mind. But, for the record, and maybe also to remind myself, I am interested in that eternal-type family. I don’t want to marry anywhere except in a House of the Lord. I’m very sure that the right guy will come along—someone who I will be attracted to, that I can bond with emotionally, who will be my best friend, who I can trust with my innermost thoughts and feelings. And if he doesn’t show up in this life, he better be waiting for me in the next one.

I am no longer interested in actually bearing children. I’m not past the time where I can, but I’m not a youngster anymore, and the thought of being up all night with an infant is just exhausting. But I did very much want to be a mother, so it’s a good thing I got to live with my sister and help raise her children. Heaven knows she’s had plenty and doesn’t mind sharing the responsibility. I’m very grateful I’ve had so many nieces and nephews and friends’ children and primary classes to interact with, because I don’t feel like I’ve missed out. I’m happy being the favorite aunt and the adult that kids like to hang out with.

Of course I’m writing this at a good time, because catch me at another time and Rachel will speak up and tell you that all I want in that moment is a really good snog with a cute girl and consequences be damned. But she won’t tell the bishop that.
Thanks to http://photoforyouebaystore.blogspot.com/ for the beautiful temple image.

Monday, July 02, 2012

Benji versus Josh

If you're a fan of the television show So You Think You Can Dance, you may or may not have heard about or seen Benji Schwimmer's Mormon Stories interview a while back. It was recommended to me by a friend, so I watched it. It's lengthy but not at all boring. Not being a fan, I could have skipped all of the trivia about the dance show, but it was interesting to hear his story, and to listen to him explain his motives. I found it fascinating, even if I could not have done what he did. But I understand why he did it, and I think he did the right thing for himself. Listening to him made me want to be a better disciple of Jesus Christ. He did everything right. He studied the scriptures, spent lots of time in prayer, served an honorable mission, had righteous desires to marry a girl and have a family, plus he’s kind and he's honest about his feelings, and in the end, he got his answer. Of course I think my answer is different. But it didn’t make him any less of a good example to me.

And then, because my Heavenly Father knows me and knows the desires of my heart, it was not at all coincidental that I somehow stumbled across a blog post on Facebook that you've probably seen going around, written by Josh Weed and his wife on their blog The Weed. I loved it. I love this quote:

“I feel the desire to be more open regarding this part of my identity. I have found that sharing this part of me allows my relationships with others to be more authentic. It has deepened my friendships and enhanced my interactions, and it has also helped me to feel more accepted by others as it allows others the opportunity to choose to accept me for who I really am.”

I’m fascinated by this, and yet I don’t know that I can do it. People who know about me are either not currently members of the church, don’t live anywhere near me, or are my family. Is it really necessary to divulge such information to your neighborhood and ward friends?

Another thing that I’ve always wondered about, which Josh's post reminded me of, is if I did marry a man, could I make the physical thing work? I am attracted to some guys. If I married a guy, I would hope that I would be attracted to him physically. Josh gave me some hope when he wrote: “Here is the basic reality that I actually think many people could use a lesson in: sex is about more than just visual attraction and lust and it is about more than just passion and infatuation. I won’t get into the boring details of the research here, but basically when sex is done right, at its deepest level it is about intimacy.”

And I crave intimacy. If I can manage it with a guy, and trust him enough to allow myself to go there, we could be happy. I believe that the atonement helps in situations like these, because this guy is not attracted to women, yet he married a woman and they are happy together. And his blog seems honest and genuine—not like he’s trying to convince his readers that they’re happy, but like he’s trying to share the secrets of being able to be happy. “You can’t fake this kind of happy.” And there are others that have somehow made it work. I think the Lord helps them.

It totally gives me hope that I don’t have to let go of the gospel to experience love and intimacy in the way the Lord wants me to. I can keep all of those things I want in the most profound depths of my heart: my membership in the church, my privilege of attending the temple, a temple marriage and sealing, but most importantly, happiness and peace, not guilt and justification.