There was a bright eyed girl, 7 years ago, who had nothing but good intentions and a heart full of love and hope for a bright future. She woke up early, 7 years ago also, in anticipation of the biggest day of her life. The day she would get married in the temple. She prayed and prayed about her decision and felt confident in God's answer. She had done the work, she had only been baptized 2 years and had allowed the Savior to cleanse and change her life dramatically in those 2 years. She was radiant. Her faith shined through her eyes. She was confident in this choice, to be married not just anywhere but here in the temple, even though it meant none of her family could attend. She was also confident in the man she was to enter into this covenant with. Confident that he would lead her and her family down the straight and narrow to return to Heavenly Father again. She made this choice and she stood alone. The temple matron asked, "isn't there ANYONE who can sit beside you in the ceremony?" But there was no one, she bravely made this decision alone. She was beautiful, clean and bright. She was virtuous and lovely. It was beautiful.
I bow to her.
Then just as organically as that happened, I found myself bowing again.
There was a bright eyed returned missionary, 7 years ago, who had nothing but good intentions and a heart full of love and hope for a bright future. With a sharp hair cut and clean shaven face, he was a sweet baby becoming a man that day. He had done the work, he had prepared, he made his way to the temple. He had a bright future, a soft heart and a knowledge of the Gospel and Scriptures to guide him as he entered into this covenant to lead this family, in a companionship with his wife. He was strong and valiant, he was kind and gentle, and even virtuous, and he was so in love.
I bow to him.
Bowing shows a deep sense of reverence. It is a way of honoring that person. It is a symbol, and action representing something more. It shows that you revere them. And that is exactly how I feel about those two people of the past. Myself, and my husband.
The years that followed have brought so much pain and confusion. As well as 3 beautiful children and lots of mountains to climb.
Neither of us intended for all of this to happen. I could have never foreseen what was to come, but neither could he. He thought he had done what was necessary to be clean and that by getting married, all his problems would be solved. That is what he was told. And that became a heavy burden of shame when that little "trick" didn't work. That shame was reinforced when his Bishop told him not to tell his wife. And so the story goes.
How could we have gone from there,
that beautiful day 7 years ago,
Separated for the second time, unsure of how things are going to pan out, unsure of who each other really are, unsure of the best path, unsure of everything. Each of us with our weaknesses fully exposed. Weaknesses that we didn't even realize we had, or that we didn't fully realize the depth of the thorn's in our own flesh, on that day 7 years ago. We didn't even realize. And today, they are fully exposed. We are both showing up to the table and broken human beings. We both want this to still work. But it is so much harder when we aren't both pretending that we are perfect.
Enduring to the end. That is what this is. We have made all the covenants necessary to enter into the Kingdom, now we go on the rest of life, enduring, being tested and tried in all ways in the covenants we have made. Truly being heated beyond our melting point in the crucible of the family.
And finally, I bow, in gratitude, to the 7 years. To the grace of the Savior that has allowed for humility, bravery and courage. To the fact that I am still here in this marriage trying. To the fact that he is still in recovery. To the hours of prayers and tears and struggle. To the years of scrimping and saving and sacrificing. To the journey.