Honesty box | ideals and all the rest
13 March 2016
Ryan and I were nestled into our family room earlier this Sunday afternoon. I on the couch, and he on the floor in front of me, putting together a new piece of furniture. We had the recent YSA fireside on the TV, which was a Q&A for young single adults, and we were just quietly listening together.
I ended up turning the segment off early, wrapping myself in a large fuzzy blanket, and exclaiming, "I am having so many thoughts!" And I spewed everything to Ryan while while he cleaned up the house around me, and I talked endlessly.
The questions from the audience involved fears regarding whether marriage is really happy or not and concerns regarding getting older, still being single, and struggling to find happiness in a family-centered culture. Oh man, I have so much respect for the General Authorities and speakers on the panel. And they answered with full spirit and with the knowledge of their experiences in life. Their answers in unison - yes, marriage is so, so happy; don't let those fears hold you back. And yes, you can be happy as an older single, just keep serving.
COMPLETELY. I agree whole-heartedly with the principles of these things. The principles of joyful marriages, and the principle of finding happiness no matter our status. Absolutely.
Most people in the room of listeners will fall into the large bell curve of ones who do get married within an expected timeframe and who do thrive in happy marriages. And those answers make their hearts soar.
But, there will be some, certainly some who have already, who will be single for a loooong time; or end up in a marriage that takes awhile to ripen, never does, or is shattered all together; or do get married and then can never have kids. All things that are outside of the realm of the ideals. So if the ideal is the only answer offered, than that leaves the rest triggering. And there wasn't an answer for the other hearts in the room, and that left me so sad. The answers that left the others soaring, only left this group unaccounted for, wide open to that voice that says, "you don't belong." Yes, yes the pain knows that. So someone, please, help us understand where it does belong. Where do we put this? How do we hold this? Can ANYONE at all relate or speak with me?
Luckily, the Spirit is a powerful force that strips our egos so we can listen purely to the principles, and the principles agree with our souls, no matter our lot in life. I totally believe that! But, I also believe that there will be times, because this is just how all healing goes, where our ego - and I don't mean a big head - but our natural man level of existence - the part of us that aches and moans and feels so bitter - will neeeeeed to have a connection of its own. A connection directly to the part of us saying, "Yep, there is the ideal buuut here is my reality. Speak to my reality for a second."
So let's pause here, on this small space of the internet, and speak to that reality for just a moment. The Gospel absolutely promotes beautiful aims for ideals. But, the Gospel is still particularly relevant to anyone outside of family culture ideals too. How comforting! Life will come, if it hasn't already, in a way that is not the ideal at all, at some point, in some way. And the ideal is going to make you very, very angry. And when people talk about only the ideal, it will make you feel very, very isolated. But God exists just as much in tails of the bell curve, as He does in the majority portion.
Your life may feel in the tail of a bell curve at some point, even though you have done all you can. You have acted and believed to the best of your knowledge, to the best of your faith, and to the best of your agency, and you are still reaching, still wondering, and still the course of life flows mainstream for everyone else except you. I have been there. And with the Gospel, hope is always for the taking. The Gospel has taught me how to sit inside, right with, excruciating pain and peace it out, so to speak. When I am in a situation that is far from the ideal, and the harrowing, inevitable emotions come swarming - the anger, the hurt, the sadness, the grief, the guilt - I am still able to remain entirely open and nod my head in acceptance and validation. "My experience here has been a rotten version of these glorious principles everyone talks about. How sucky for me." "All these emotions are true and valid." "However, I am still protected and loved." "Yep, absolutely." And I still know of God's promise that I WILL be delivered and blessed beyond measure. I still know there is a God that loves me. I am still swelling with peace of light, though everything around me is black. The Gospel of Christ is full of love and joy when things come as we want, and when they don't. That's amazing.
Remember, hope is always, always yours for the taking.
Your side road is still on God's map.
Upward and onward,