Two of the missionaries assigned to my ward came by for a visit today. They had been strongly encouraged to do so by my friend Mary. Oddly, I had had a random encounter with the missionaries from the Cedar Lake Ward last week. And even though I had told them my complete story, they thought it was a good idea to encourage the Lake Nokomis missionaries to talk to me. So I just accepted this missionary visit as something that had to happen, since it was coincidentally coming from more than one source at the same time.
I began by apologizing to Elder B. and Elder H., as I was afraid they might consider their visit to me a waste of time. I told them how I'd come to know Mary, and they told me why she seemed to think it would be a good idea for us to meet. And I told a little bit about my "situation."
In the process of explaining that, it occurred to me that Göran and I will be celebrating our 18th anniversary in August. This August will also be the 6th anniversary of the spiritual experience that brought me back to the LDS Church. So, this year, I'll have been a believing/practicing Mormon for one third of the time Göran and I have been together. That feels significant to me. Six more years, and I'll have been a "Mormon" for half of our relationship.
I guess at the beginning of this particular leg of the journey I wondered... Would it -- could it?? -- last? Would I, at some point, decide it was pointless to try to maintain any sort of relationship with the Church? How far could I go with this? Or, alternatively, would my relationship with the Church stress my relationship with Göran to the breaking point? (That only ever seemed a risk during the first year or two of my activity in the Church.) But somehow, I am still in relationship with the Church, and still in relationship with Göran, and in fact I'd say both relationships are thriving.
Göran sent me an "I love you!" text message during my meeting with the elders. (He knew I was meeting with them after 2 p.m.) I was actually surprised how little he was bothered that I was meeting with them.
After the missionaries left, I texted him back, "I told the missionaries all about you and showed them your picture. They would love to meet you!"
He replied, "Um which picture?"
I replied, "The drag picture. I told them you were my wife."
That immediately got him out of text message mode and into phone call mode. "You did not!" he gasped. We laughed together until tears were streaming down my cheeks. It felt good.
The truth is, even though I can't be a member, even though there are extreme limits on the degree of participation that is allowed me, the Spirit is abundantly present in my life as a result of my willingness to do what I can do. My life is enriched and deepened by my faith. And my faith is giving me resources I desperately need in my life right now. I've always felt like I've gotten extra blessings from the Lord to make up for what I can't do in the Church. Meanwhile, Göran and I are discovering new dimensions of our relationship we never knew existed. I feel closer to him now than I ever have. And we're getting ready to foster parent again, now that Glen seems to be thriving on his own.
Life is strange and cool.