Baby on the Way

I wanted a chance to share a bit more of the story of this baby.

I wanted a chance to talk about miscarriage, hope, trauma, and making hard decisions.

I decided not to go to grad school this year. After spending two semesters talking myself into going (can I really do it? do I want to do this while Andrew has his last year home before Kindergarten?), and deciding to do it; after spending literally more than a hundred hours studying for the GRE, writing essays, fretting over who to get to write my letters of recommendation, and then forking out a bunch of money, getting accepted (yay!), and committing to a school, I promptly threw that all out the window and decided not to go (realistically very few things are prompt with me and I gave myself high blood pressure and headaches for a month trying to make this decision). But the decision came down to realizing I really wanted to be home with this baby, like I was with Andrew, and I didn’t want to miss that precious time, and that happened to matter a lot more to me than moving forward with grad school and my career right now did. And now that a few weeks has gone by since I made that decision, and the guilt I feel for breaking that commitment to my grad school is fading, I feel really excited about the choice I made, so I think that means I did the right thing.

We are really excited to be expecting! Finding out you are pregnant is a big deal for someone who has spent years waiting for that news. I lost two pregnancies before we had Andrew and it took us a while between each of those pregnancies to get pregnant. Then Andrew came along and was a huge blessing and honestly just the best person on the planet. We had a hard enough time getting Andrew here that we went ahead and just decided to roll the dice and forego prevention, and if we ended up with kids 9 months apart, then…we would just be grateful…and stressed, but mostly grateful. So months passed, and our lives got crazy, like legitimately, overwhelmingly crazy. But even in the midst of that craziness, I decided I would rather try to figure out how to survive with two kids and a husband recovering from a brain injury than have the torture of wondering, “if I hadn’t prevented pregnancy during X time, would we have been able to have another child?” And for a while I was glad it wasn’t happening because I really was overwhelmed already, but as the years passed, I started to wonder if it would ever happen.

And then in May of 2016, I was pregnant! And on June 21st, I miscarried again. At that point, Ricardo and I really had been wanting another child for over a year and had technically been trying to conceive for over three years, and we honestly didn’t know if we would be able to conceive again. Part of me thought maybe I had reset some magical button and now I would just get pregnant again, but then months passed. So that Fall, we saw a fertility specialist. We tried a couple rounds of IUI, but after two attempts, the specialist felt like we were throwing our money away and felt that with our issues it was likely we would need to consider In Vitro. We definitely didn’t have an extra $35,000 sitting around, so we told her we wanted to just continue to try with whatever medications could be prescribed without monitoring and wait until we both had a stable career going and could pull in enough money to start to consider In Vitro. We figured it was pretty unlikely we would get pregnant on our own and decided we would just try not to think about it until I was done with grad school and established in my career. As a last stitch effort, Ricardo saw another doctor, and he was much more hopeful about our situation. He prescribed a medication we hadn’t tried, and that month we got pregnant 🙂 Was it the medication, the new hope the doctor gave us, the fact that we had just finished a cycle of IUI, and, probably due to that, I ovulated earlier the following month? Who knows. But it happened!baby 2017 12 weeks.JPG

I do know that all this happened just after I decided where to go to grad school, and one day I had gone out on a walk by some mountains to clear my head and I said a prayer. I have been trying to pray again, but it has taken me a while to get to this point, and so I am not in the habit of praying all the time. But this day I said a prayer, and in that prayer, I told God that I wanted to believe he was there the way I once had completely had faith that he was. I told him that I was grateful for the opportunities I had been given with grad school and that I was excited about my plans. I paused for a while, and then I told him that I really wanted another child, and that that mattered to me so much more than my career or grad school mattered to me, and that if he saw fit, I would be grateful if, despite having everything planned and prepared for grad school, I was somehow able to get pregnant. Within a month or so of that prayer, I found out I was expecting.

So, whatever it is, whatever or whoever is responsible, we are grateful and excited to be expecting 🙂

And now that I finally am no longer nauseated from sun up to sun down, I am starting to really enjoy this even more 🙂 I have to say that there is a lot of anxiety I have experienced with this pregnancy. After experiencing trauma or loss in the past, I find myself expecting something bad to happen and having to fight that. Some little weird twinge happens, or two days go by where I don’t feel the baby move, and I just start to figure the baby has died. It’s hard to fight that and to have hope. When I feel that anxiety, sometimes I try to talk to the baby, and sometimes that helps me calm down. Loss is hard though. It can affect you for years, and it robs you of that innocence you once had back when you believed things just worked out. You experience enough loss, and it’s hard not to expect that everything you love and depend on will fall apart any moment now. I’m not sure the exact relationship, but I have struggled with depression during this pregnancy, which isn’t something I have experienced in past pregnancies, or really that frequently throughout life. It seems odd because I couldn’t be happier to be pregnant, I just don’t feel happy a lot of the time. I feel anxious and lethargic, and it’s not really related to anything that is happening in life. It’s odd. Maybe that means I’m having a girl, since emotionally I feel so different than I did with Andrew. Who knows. Whatever it all means, it’s worth working through the nausea and depression if the end result is a child I have wanted for a very long time.

So here’s to a baby, and to dropping out of grad school, and to life and all the ups and downs and craziness!

Advertisements
Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

I’m a people pleaser and it’s become a problem.

I want people to like me. Like everyone. All the time. Every time I’ve said this to people they laugh, tell me I’m crazy, and tell me I’m going to drive myself crazy trying to do that. The thing is that it has always worked out pretty well for me. I have a pretty good knack for getting along with people. I’m generally good at reading between the lines when it comes to how people are feeling when they are talking, and I can adjust a conversation to keep it headed in a positive direction. I’ve been pretty good at resolving conflicts between friends and having deep, meaningful conversations with perfect strangers. Why? I care about people, and I want people to care about and like me too.

I worry about what my high school seminary teacher might think of my recent political facebooks post. I worry what my gay, exmormon friend will think of my post about my son attending primary at the LDS church. I worry about the friend I’ve talked to a whole 3 times in my life and whether she’ll like me less or more because I have changed since high school. (Writing that paragraph I realize I might should cut back on my Facebook time…)

It’s good to be aware. It’s good to be aware of how my words and actions affect other people and to be careful. So, this isn’t a trait I dislike about myself, but always wanting other people to be happy with me has become a problem. Why? Let me tell you a story.

When we were newlyweds (almost 9 years ago, 😳) I would sing around the house. I had always loved music, and that was a normal thing for me. I don’t think Ricardo had ever lived around someone who sang a lot, let alone sang the same song she had stuck in her head over and over. Long story short, he made some comments that made me feel bad. So I dropped music out of my life almost entirely for almost five years and only sang very quietly, if at all, any time he was around. And honestly, it’s not like he asked me to stop. I just cared so much about how he felt about me that I let an important part of my life go rather than risk doing something he might would make fun of.

Prime example of how people pleasing has become a problem for me.

The bigger problem though is my faith. You see, prior to 2011,  if you were to ask me what things were the very most important things to me, I would have said my family was most important, and my religion was second. It was super important to me, and this huge, positive thing in my life which was the basis for all my decisions.

But in August of 2011, the person whose opinion of me mattered very most to me, left my religion and, for perfectly valid reasons, began to hate nearly all beliefs and teachings of Mormonism.

I’ve talked on this blog lots of times about the intellectual issues I developed with Mormonism as I began to research the things that led my husband away from the LdS church and about my positive experiences growing up Mormon, and how these two things began to clash. The question I began to ponder this year is why I have never been able to resolve that dilemma and move forward–why I have stayed stuck on the fence. I realized that it’s because, whichever side I choose, I can no longer keep all the important people in my life happy. If I leave the church, I disappoint the people who gave me life and most of my family and best friends, and if I stay the same Mormon I was, I disappoint the person I chose as my parter for the rest of my life, all the people I had grown close to throughout my faith transition, and everyone who had admired my bravery to step away from a cult 🙂

Not acceptable options.

So knowing a more acceptable option would present itself, I stayed on the fence. I saw how rediculous everything Mormon was and yet I held onto it and kept attending. And I waited months, and then years. I’ve stayed in this state of cognitive dissonance and confusion, because the risk of disappointing people was too great.

Until now. I have looked back at these last five years, and I feel like I have wasted them to some extent. I don’t want to stay on this road, to look back at my life with regrets. I don’t want to regret what I did or didn’t do. I don’t want to regret what I taught or didn’t teach my child. I never realized that while I was so busy trying to to disappoint the world, I was hurting myself. I can’t do that anymore. People are going to respect my choices, or they are not, but I have to do what is best for me.

So after, literally, years spent deliberating about this choice,  here goes:

1) This choice is mine. If I sound defensive when you are telling me what I “should” do, think, or believe, it’s because I can’t let other people make this choice for me anymore, because I’m an adult who makes my own choices, and my experiences have been different than yours, so I don’t want you to tell me what to do. I want to make my choice, and I don’t have a lot of patience anymore with people who can’t respect that.

2) I reserve the right to change my mind. I don’t have a crystal ball. Life has thrown me some challenges I couldn’t have foreseen and I reacted in ways I wouldn’t have expected. So I reserve the right to change.

3) I plan to believe in God again. Maybe that sounds awkward, but I have practiced disbelief long enough, that believing wil probably take some practice. Do I know the reasons believing in God doesn’t make sense or is even a morally bad choice? Yes, I do. I just can’t anymore. I get it. I understand. It’s just not me. Atheism doesn’t match the life experiences that have meant the most to me. Do I worry about all of my atheist friends feeling disappointed in my choosing to believe in God? Excessively. And I have to stop that. I, personally, am a better person when I believe in God, and I completely respect your choice if you choose to believe otherwise. I have zero issue with you thinking there is no existence beyond this, or believing in some other type of God than what I am believing in. I am going to believe what has resonated with me, and not surprisingly, that looks pretty Mormon.

4) Most of what I am going to choose to believe will look Mormon. Sorry…and yay!? I know Joseph Smith was kind of a slimeball in certain respects, and the Book of Mormon might should be called the Book of Anachronisms, and…this list is like 500 points long. I totally get why my husband left. Makes total sense. I just can’t. Being Mormon feels right to me. I’lol be trying to embrace it at whatever level I can. That won’t look exactly like it used to, or like it has looked the last 5 years. It will be something that feels true to me now, and it will happen over time.

I struggle with this. I struggle with knowing people will ask how on earth I can believe anything the church teaches knowing the dishonestly in the organization, the pain it had caused and continues to cause people, the misuse of tithing funds, etc. My answer won’t be sufficient to you. My answer is personal–I know those things, but that has not been true to my personal experiences. When I go, I leave wanting to help and serve other people, feeling inspired and motivated, and that is important.

5) Some things I will choose not to believe or embrace. There are so many good ways to live life. People should have every opportunity to live the life that is the most true, genuine, meaningful life they can. If that means you are gay, you get married, and you adopt, you should do that. If that means you and your spouse have an open marriage and additional sexual partners because that is what you both need, you have my support. If that means you never get married or have kids because that’s what was right for you, then good. My beliefs should never limit your ability to live a fullfilling, happy life.

 

And that’s it really. That’s as much as I’m ready to say. I don’t honestly know how this all will go. But it’s time to stop living my life to please other people, and instead live my life with no regrets, making the moments meaningful.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The Space Between

So, I don’t want to get too wrapped up in trying to figure out my faith. A few years ago when I was blogging about it all the time, it was good in most ways, but it also kind of consumed me and stressed me. On top of that, I want to focus my life on the very most important things–things like making memories with the people that matter most to me and feeling joy seeing beautiful sights, helping people, listening to and participating in good music, and just loving people.

Having said that, there is some amount of importance in me continuing to sort out my thoughts regarding religion and my faith.

I hardly miss a Sunday at church. I’m often late. Occasionally I leave early. Sometimes we go as a family elsewhere. But, for the most part, I’m there each Sunday at the LDS church.

I like it. Sometimes I even love it. And at times I even want some more of it. In a lot of ways I have tried, so hard, but I can’t rise above it (hat tip to Mr. Time McGraw for anyone who caught on to that).

I digress.

I like it. I read this blog post by Josh Weed (his wife Lolly also has written some posts) the other day–Josh Weed is a gay, active, believing Mormon, who writes many posts that I like a lot because they get really personal and are very interesting–and in this post he talks about how after his mother died he wondered if that was it, if everything he had believed was all fake and that was the end, and then he mentions that he felt her presence, and that was enough for him to keep believing. The way he talked about it, I felt some amount of confidence that he has read the vast majority of what I have read as far as the things that have caused me to doubt, and yet, there he is, a married, active, gay, Mormon man.

People exist that read it all, and still believe.

It’s a path some people choose because they really still believe it despite all the contradictions and convolutions.

And that is still a possible path for me.

I just needed a minute to meditate on that. I’m back now. Okay, so here’s what goes on in my brain (feel free to stop at any point if you don’t want to hear about the varied points of view that host almighty War-Chapters-of-the-Book-of-Mormon-style-bloody battles on the stage of my mind regularly.

There are no less than 200 serious doubts that I have about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. If you want a brief (and slightly-irreverent but also entertaining) introduction, see Brother Jake’s take in the musical clip below). This video only covers some, maybe even most, of the things that have given me doubts about Joseph Smith, which is only the tip of the iceberg.

By the time I had deconstructed Joseph Smith, Brigham Young, temple rituals and clothing, the Books of Mormon and Abraham, the Bible, about 40 other things of key importance, and finally the whole idea of God himself…like, the damage was pretty comprehensive.

But then, that’s not what I feel. That’s not what I’ve experienced. I can honestly say 5 years post apocalypse of my faith, I still go to church every week because it moves me, it sometimes inspires me to be better and do better, and quite honestly, I still sometimes believe, or at least want to believe it.

Sounds kinda like a hot mess, yeah?

Yeah, I’m still a bit confused.

I’m stuck struggling between perspectives. If you read what I’ve read, the foundation of the church sounds like a joke–and probably not even a very well crafted joke at that. And yet, if you’ve experienced what I experienced–in the temple, reading the BoM, reading the BoA, praying, going to girl’s camp every summer, sitting through testimony meetings–you’d want it too. And even a third “yet”–if you had lived through the last few years of my life, you’d also realize that life lived away from church teachings is not the black abyss. There’s a lot of good in a lot of ways of living. And I have to confess that there are parts of me, parts of me that I sometimes really like, that like things the church says are evil, sinful, or not worth my time. At a very minimum I have come to truly value the ideas of thinking and choosing for yourself–not in some pretended way, where the correct answer is predisposed to you and your only real choice is to accept the correct answer–to choose for oneself and take all the time, experiencing of life, and living that one needs to really know what you choose. To choose on every issue and decide your thinking on every thought, rather than having to accept the whole of it, or none of it at all. That is something I value. The church does not.

So, I don’t know. Maybe I wish it was easier to be a do-it-on-your-own-terms Mormon. I certainly have considered just putting aside the long list of hang ups with the church, my own contradicting thoughts, tastes, and desires, and just diving head first again so that I can again experience the sweet light of the gospel radiating in my life again. I have thought about that so many times. But I’ve also wondered whether staying is damaging–damaging to me, to Andrew–but then, I want him to feel what I felt growing up. I want him to experience the good, light, beauty. But I also want him to see the legitimate love of two married men, to experience life’s sweetest, most powerful moments that will come into his own life at times I can’t predict for him and not be hung up on whether his church will punish him for living those moments.

I still live in No Man’s Land.

I’m still seeking my answer.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

1000 to 1 and 10 Times Too

imageWe watched the movie “1000 to 1” tonight (thanks Missy for the recommendation). This movie was particularly interesting because it’s about someone who suffers a stroke from an AVM. I’m glad I saw it. Each of the movies we have seen about brain injuries has had us reliving our past (and present). It’s always both painful and enlightening to watch (and even more painful for Ricardo than for me).

I found myself relating to several of the characters. The mom in the movie stays up nights devouring material trying to help her son–I was there at one point with Ricardo. She’s there relentlessly cheering him on through his toughest days and believing in him always. I’ve been that mother to him too.

I also related to both his girlfriends in the movie. I’ve been the girl who cheered him on from the sidelines, the loving, sweet person who sees how hard he has worked and wants nothing more than to see him succeed. I’ve been that wife.

And I’ve been the girl who says, “I can’t do this anymore,” and runs away–at least at some level.

So much of the movie touched me–the way I related to each of the female characters, the protagonist’s determination that was so much like Ricardo’s, the whole recovery process this poor young man goes through that was so very much like Ricardo’s–it just touched me because you realize what a hard thing your spouse has done, what a hard thing you have done too. It touched me because it reminds you that your husband, your family, and you made it through something that they make inspirational movies about. And it touched me because 1000 to 1 could be a great title for Ricardo’s movie–not because of his basketball statistics, but because that’s about what his odds of dying were, and that’s probably being optimistic.

1000 to 1. His odds probably were even worse than that and yet here he is. When I say that out loud I feel all sorts of things. I feel guilt that I get to say that when 999 family members don’t. I feel grateful, so profoundly grateful because I know how close I came to completely losing him. I feel proud of how far Ricardo has come and  proud of us as a couple for surviving that. But there’s something else…I guess it’s this reminder that we have a story that’s worth telling, maybe even a story that will inspire someone else. Part of me doesn’t want to come across as pretentious and another part of me knows that I like to overshare about my life and maybe people are tired of hearing about me…but then, maybe someone would really be inspired by Ricardo’s story. Maybe it would give hope to someone struggling with their own dark paths, which unfortunately come in so many shapes and sizes all throughout life. Or maybe it would help someone who is a stroke or brain injury survivor, or help a caretaker like me, to have that ah-hah moment that helps you find that direction or peace you needed in your life at that moment. So, maybe I’ll keep telling it for now.

This year has been about acceptance.

There is a point in the story when Cory goes to his therapist. He tells his therapist about how he had always been the person who they tell it will take 6-9 months to recover from an injury and he’s starting and staring 3 months later. He talks about how he has always believed that with enough determination and hard work, anything was possible–that he has posters plastered all over his walls that say just that. And that he rushed back to school as fast as he could, and enrolled in a full course load of hard classes, and was working out hours each day to get back to being the star basketball player because that’s who he was supposed to be. But he was tired, so tired. He couldn’t understand his classes, and he couldn’t study…

Then two years later he goes back to his same therapist. He had been working that whole time to get back to the old Cory who he was supposed to be. And then he hits a wall. So he walks into this therapy session completely beaten down after being told he STILL would not be able to play on the basketball team at his college. The therapist looks at how defeated Cory looks and says, “So this is all about basketball?” And Cory screams at his therapist that it’s not about basketball at all. That it’s about everything he’s supposed to be that he’s not. He screams the old Cory is gone, he’s dead, and he’s never coming back. There’s a long pause. Then the therapist says, “That’s right. But that doesn’t mean there’s not a new Cory. And that new Cory is 10 times the person old Cory was.”

And then Cory starts to come to terms with that new reality and what it means for him. He considers quitting basketball, but ends up deciding to keep trying because he realizes how many people he has inspired through trying.

At the end of the movie, Cory Weissman says something to the effect of, “everyone says now, ‘Cory, you’re back to who you were. It’s amazing.’ But I’m not who I was. I’ll never be. And I’m glad.”

And that has been Ricardo’s 2016. The year of accepting what you aren’t. And the year of accepting what you now are.

And that’s what I’m still missing–acceptance. There are still moments, and parts of our lives, where I say, “But it used to be like this, and work like this, and I liked it like that, and maybe if we tried X, and then Y, and maybe resorted to Z, then we could have that aspect of old you back. What do you say?” And Ricardo looks at me and says, “I’m not that person anymore. I’m sorry.” And I get frustrated.

And maybe he just has wisdom that I don’t have yet. Maybe he gets what I still need a movie to show me–that it’s okay, new Ricardo is 10 times what old Ricardo was.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

My Life

What would My Life–in capitals–look like? The life that is most me, the life I would most choose, the life I’d want engraved in a gravestone or splashed on the pages of a journal passed down to coming generations?

My Life would have family, mountains, fingers in the rivers as the water trickles over them, barefoot walks in sand and soft grass, My life would have nursing babies, exploring every tree, rock, and flower with toddlers, late night, emotional talks with teenagers, and hugs and kisses from grown kids. It would be rocking in the rocking chair next to my chosen companion. It would be thousands of Sunsets stitched together with hikes, cuddles, and laughs. It would gazing in awe at the scenes around me.

My Life would be burning red-hot passionate nights where the world around you ceases to exist as you are consumed by That One person. It would be love so intense and stable that life would seem to stop without it. It would be romance, long walks on the beach, sunset over the city, the ocean, the mountains in the arms of the person you hold dearest to your heart.

My Life would be days and years spent next to loved ones. It would be a deep inner calm from knowing there is something bigger than you and something better still ahead. It would be embracing the every moment all at the same time and not missing the red wings of a jay as it flies merrily on it’s way.

I’d let go of busy.

I’d let go of stressed.

I’d let go of getting by and hurrying by, and passing by, and I’d stop, and see, and touch, and love.

My life would be making a difference in other lives. My life would be leaving this life knowing my loved ones, my parents, siblings, husband, children, and closest friends knew undoubtedly their value to me.

Purpose. To live with purpose, not random wandering about a strange land. Connectedness, not isolation. Real-ness, not put-on. To be me. To see me when I look in the mirror.

To experience, to live, not in fear, but centered, open, honest, in-touch–with myself, with the earth, with the pulse of the people around me.

My life would be to be in touch with the people I would instantly give up my life for. To actually touch them, and to make a difference to them and for them, and to let them change the coarseness of me into soft smoothness again.

After all, My Life is best lived in the arms of those who make it worth living.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Our Vow

 image

We just finished watching “The Vow.” The image above is from the movie. Plot summary if you haven’t seen it goes something like this: boy meets girl, boy and girl fall rapidly and madly in love, boy and girl get married, girl suffers brain hemorrhage after car accident, girl forgets she ever knew boy, boy and girl get to decide how they’d like to handle that small detail…all tied and twisted up into the most romantic story you’ve ever witnessed unfold before your eyes. And let’s be straight, true love like that is exceptionally romantic…I drool over it.

I also, sort of, you know, lived it, not to, you know, brag or anything (brushes some invisible lint from her shoulders, smugly).

I’d like to go grab hot chocolate with the couple this movie is about. I bet we could have a great conversation 🙂

So what sort of movie would you make out of our story? The truth is there are a lot of movies you could make of our story. Not all of them are pretty. Our uncut, full feature, documentary would probably leave us looking exceptionally flawed and broken, vangeful, angry, depressed, overwhelmed, and yet loyally by each other’s side through thick and thin, truly in love, angry, vengeful, depressed, or not.

But watching “The Vow” tonight, I got to realize all over again, that our life is the best of romance movies:

Start the movie with a Disney worthy swirl of butterflies, songs, and snuggled-on-a-bench-while-snow-fell-kisses that lasted only 3 weeks before we decided we just couldn’t bear to ever be without each other and we got engaged.

Flash through rapid scenes of burning, passionate romance, sweet, tender affection, and Twilight-worthy eye gazing that was the first years we were married.

Jump forward to joyful tears at the birth of a perfect baby boy. Squeals of the purest laughter as daddy and mommy tickle him and smile at each other, absolutely amazed at what they have created together.

Pause just after that baby smears chocolate cake all over his face at his first birthday party.

Rewind.

Go back to that moment, that moment we held hands at the altar, that moment we said our vows. Let the scene fade away as the music plays, “Come what may, I will love you, until my dying day. Oh come what may,” from Moulin Rouge. Our wedding song.

Flash forward to the hospital. To his mother’s worried face and my wailing. See the tubes, hear the machines, see his pale, swollen body. See his blank stares. Hear the doctors say they have no idea if or how much he’ll recover but that recovery is very unlikely.

Show his recovery. Show how shocked and amazed even the doctors are.

Show the miracle.

Then stop and drag out the scene where he talks to his parents and doesn’t have a clue who they are. Drag out the scene where I show him picture after picture of lifelong family and friends and he shakes his head “no” when asked if he knows who they are. Focus on our faces as I ask him if he remembers me from before the hospital, and he shakes his head “no,” pure confusion on his face. Show me sneaking away to call my sisters, me bawling–the ugly, gut wrenching sort of cry that comes from both unbelievable sadness and absolute terror.

And as the audience is tearing up, cut forward in time.

Let the audience watch his family tell him story after story of his life. Listen to me tell him the stories of our life together, our romance, our marriage, our child he had forgotten existed.

Show him starting to remember–first the people, then the important events.

Show so many joyful moments of recovery that the audience is unconsciously grinning ear to ear, laughing, and sighing in relief.

Let the audience take a sneak peak into the bedroom as a virgin father takes his wife of  six years in his arms for the first time. Show just enough of the awkwardness to make the story believable and skip the other 90 percent of it to keep it equal parts fairytale.

Let the audience watch them struggle, watch her care for him, watch him learn eventually to care for them back again.

And as the story nearly wraps up, let everyone see that these two lovers, turned star-crossed lovers, do, despite both changing so very much, once again find true partnership in each other. Let the audience see that they have truly loved each other, “Come what may.”

 

I was talking to Ricardo after the movie tonight, telling him that people could make two very opposite movies of our experience since his brain hemorrhage–one a romance for the ages and the other a dramatic story of betrayal, pain, and anger, and yet both movies could be absolutely true. He looked at me and said, “You know, that’s the beauty of it, that one doesn’t necessarily take from the other.”

I like that. If he can say that, you can believe it. Believe the love story you have seen glimpses of in us, it’s true, even if it’s really so much more complicated than that.

 

 

 

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Catholic in a Former Life

We have started a new tradition of going once a month to a different church, so we can attend church together as a family. Usually we go to the Unitarian Church, but occasionally we make the trek down to Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. Today we attended their Divine Mercy choir Mass. Best. Decision. Ever.

So, as the heading suggests, I discovered I must have been in a Catholic Choir in a Cathedral in a former life because I adore chanting. The music was absolutely, powerfully moving. I could have stayed there and listened to that all day long and just soaked it in. I read this article once that said that some people get a certain rippling sensation that goes through your whole body when you are moved by music, they called it a musicgasm or something; There was definitely a lot of that going on today.

To be honest, I found the whole experience to be quite moving. The robes, the ritualistic aspect, the high, arched ceilings, covered in gold, the candles, and the incense. Seriously, there’s a decent chance I was Catholic in a previous life. All jokes aside, I Just really loved it, and it was nice to share a beautiful spiritual experience with my family.

Ricardo is still right at home there as well. There is a room dedicated to La Virgen de Guadalupe. It tells the story of Mexico’s very own Saint and the story of how Mexico converted to Catholicism. Ricardo commented to Andrew, “La Virgen de Guadalupe means a lot to Daddy, Andrew.” The Catholic runs strong in this agnostic, ex-Mormon lover of mine 😉

I hope to have many more spiritual celebrations in beautiful Catholic cathedrals.

Today reminded me of how Spiritual a person I am at my core. It may very well make the best sense not to believe. I have struggled through my shaken faith these last years so much because that truly does make sense to me. But my center, my core, thrives and flourishes listening to the choir sing in a gothic Cathedral on Divine Mercy Sunday. I feel like I am on fire, filled with light when I kneel on the altar in the LDS temple as I did so many times in my early married years. I have my struggles with faith now. I have my struggles with other things too. But honestly, I’m not a happy agnostic/atheist. I’m happier when I believe. I need spirituality as a central part of my life. And you know what, that matters a lot.

So next Sunday, and probably most the Sundays after that, you’ll find me at church. Doubting much of what is taught even, I’ll still be there, because I like the fire that often fills my being when I’m there. I’m a believer, even amidst my doubt it seems.

Do I believe? Yeah, I guess I do. What do I believe? Well, I guess I believe in a God, I probably believe in Christ, I probably even believe in prophets, Joseph Smith, and the Book of Mormon. Maybe I believe in Catholic Saints and Buddah too. I suppose my belief system is still a little…in the reformation stage, but I do think I believe. It feels good to say that. Why do I believe? Because it gives me purpose, happiness, and joy instead of depression, hopelessness, and stress. And you know what? I want to be happy.

Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments