Sometimes I get nervous when I see an open door,
Close your eyes, clear your heart . . .
--The Killers, Human.
Last week at Kevin's uncle's funeral, Nicole, his beautiful and single sister, asked a circle of us about what she should do. The issue? She had met and come to know a man who is not part of our faith. I gave her a quick answer. Here is my longer, more considered one.
YES . . .
Because being 29 and capable of organizing large corporate events on any continent is brilliant. Because being 29, a college graduate, a returned missionary, a vivacious friend, and a faithful Saint is fine (not the “Fine!” your brother uses when things are NOT really fine, but truly fine, as in Nancy Griffiths’s, “Why not something truly fine.”). In any other place on this earth, except this small culture, you are more than a man could ever wish for.
Because you want to be loved by somebody whose natural movement is towards you. To be wanted and desired and longed for is delicious. To have his radar tuned to when you walk into the room is glorious. To have you be the one who quickens his pulse is thrilling. You shouldn’t have to persuade somebody to love you and want to be with you; it should be his instinctive response to your very nature. You can’t buy that. It can hardly be learned. And to think that you have been reduced in the past to trying to talk commitment-phobic, apparently “upstanding” but really very little men of our own faith into even considering what should be a thrilling prospect is disturbing. (Let them rot.)
Because you want to be loved by somebody who is thrilled by you, all of you. Somebody who will smile at your germ phobia and remember to bring hand sanitizer and dental floss when you forget; who will blithely order you dairy free salad with dressing on the side; who loves your nest of hair and your unshakeable notions of how things are supposed to be; who smiles, like your brother does, at whatever will be your equivalent of my 80 pairs of shoes. To him, you–phobias, hangups, foibles included–are his best; his a la carte; not what was left over at the back of the $5.95, all-you-can-eat marriage buffet.
Because when you find yourself (you who didn’t kiss until after your mission (if your stories are to be believed!)) kissing in the streets of Brussels, and it feels completely normal, you’re on your way to being “naked and not ashamed.” You’ll be able to make love, give birth, wipe up vomit, and give enemas in comfort.
Because the price of somebody who makes you laugh, who fills your thoughts, who makes you float, and who feels close when he is actually far away is far above rubies.
Because we don’t hold the copyrights to faith, prayer, loving children, loving God and his son, the capacity to change and repent, the desire to do good, the drive to love and lift, good cheer and good humor, patience, loyalty, tolerance and virtue. We just have easier access to learn how to do and become those things. The actual capacity to become, in the face and embrace of truth, is hardwired into every soul who ever draws breath on this earth.
Because there are no guarantees, no set ways of doing and becoming–only doors that open and choices to be made. Even 100 percent, married in the Salt Lake Temple in the largest sealing room by a General Authority complete with an initial as his first name is no guarantee. It’s not even a destination. It’s just a starting point. The generous God I know, who has missionaries (for the living) and temples (for the dead) as integral parts of his plan, obviously recognizes those various starting points, all of which will, if we choose, end up at the Coliseum (or the House of the Vestal Virgins, which is just to the right of the Coliseum, and so still qualifies as Rome).
Because at the heart of our doctrine is that all souls journey toward God, and that moving towards is the essential movement of this earth. For most of us, particularly those born in the Wasatch front, the ability to check the culturally appropriate boxes of baptism, mission, temple, marriage at the culturally appropriate times is mostly due to geography and birth. To say that one particular time table or sequence of journeying is the only way denies the basic principle that “all men and women are alike unto God. ” (This mind set makes those previously mentioned missionaries and temples seem like the participant ribbons handed out to make children feel better about not winning the blue.)
Because if you can get jettison the limiting idea in your head about how things are supposed to be and how you envisioned it would be, and actually experience what is, you will be able to see the hand of God.
Because the chance to love somebody and to be loved is a chance you should take. Sometimes the right explanation is the simplest. Perhaps meeting Meindert was not an elaborate test set up by a cynical God to see whether you would be able to resist temptation (in the form of sincere love) and hold fast to your principles and promises with the reward being that you would get to rove through the singles wards of Salt Lake trying to find a 30-ish-year old man without serious hang ups who actually likes women and would be able to settle on one in particular. (Sign me up now!) Instead, perhaps meeting him was simply the meeting of two souls, from different parts of the world, who fit. Now, what to do with that fittedness? One of my favorite songs right now suggests, “Close your eyes, Clear your heart, Cut the cord.” I second the motion.
(Title: The Killers, from Romeo and Juliet.)