From the Ashes of My Religion

I was raised to be a Mormon girl.   And I was.  Oh, the intense joy of hearing, reading, or singing words that warmed me to my core and found release in happy tears! I swear, I would go back, if I could.  And yet here I am, still the same soul but bereft of that particular wonder.  It has required all strength to let go this source of joy.

Perhaps, I will hold a private ceremony of mourning to rid myself of this pain. I will write each anguish, each bitterness, betrayal, or deceit on a little piece of paper and extinguish its power by making it to burn in an angry fire.  I swear I would… except that…

Last night, I dreamt myself to be naked, with dirty hair, unkempt and sweaty, when suddenly all these emotions regarding my lost religion overtook me.  I began to cry as I never have in real life… as I never could, and still live.  My husband was there… my truly believing husband… and I had no choice but to fall hopefully toward his arms.  He grabbed and somehow held onto me even as I doubled over with grief, stayed steady as a kind of agony ripped through me in waves, breaking my heart and then escaping from my throat as gutteral, primitive sound.

I felt the loss of shared beliefs in which I invested decades of my life, thinking I was moving toward a vision most lovely.  In that vision, my children would be protected from the world and the blood and tears brought by estrangement from truth.  My marriage would be sealed by the Spirit, and we would become willingly, eternally bound together.

And now dream-questions washed through me:  Are my children safe now, walking as adults who carry only pieces of the map which we thought… which we believed… would bring us to some golden, perfect place?  Will they find happiness?  Will they embrace whatever truth they find?  Will they still have moments of joy so intense that there are tears?

Fear washed over me, as it has so often in daylight hours.

And as for my marriage…  in this dream, this raw and painful vision of the night… my husband was fully there.  Though he does not share my view, he willingly shared my grief.  He didn’t try to lecture his own thoughts back into a mind whose perspective he doesn’t, and apparently cannot, grasp.  He held me up while I was naked in both body and soul, trembling as poisonous pain tore its way out through my flesh.

Still, he stood strong.  Naked as I’d never been, he loved me as he never had.  This was a dream, and yet… this was reality.

By the time I awoke to meet the day, my husband had arisen before dawn, as he always does.  He had given me his daily gift of a kitchen made spotlessly clean, and he had gone quietly to work.  I longed for him.  With relief, I breathed prayers of gratitude to the God I have always loved but no longer claim the necessity of defining.

And I realized that while something formerly cherished has gone from me, a treasure has arisen from the ashes of my internal fire.

My husband has stayed when most would go.  He allows me the freedom to be, and to discover, myself, while the burden of judgment which I carried toward him for years has finally fallen away.  We stand together in a beautiful place, cleansed in the pure, clear air that is between and in us.  He listened and knows me, and I listen and know him.

Perhaps my children will find, in their own way and time, the depth of happiness that I have discovered.  I hope so.

I am completely in love and trust, and I’m surprised.  Though my husband and I no longer share the same map, we seem to be finding our way to the same destination.  The two of us possess something new and golden, a wholly unexpected gift, and for the first time in my life I am confident that if there is a forever, he and I will be there… together.

As my husband, David, might simply say… “Go figure.”