Sometimes my husband tells me I live too much in the moment…

Yesterday, as the sun waned but evening still seemed a mystery of the future, I pulled baby eggplant and perfectly sized (thank heavens I didn’t check a day/minute/second later) zucchini from the garden, and filled a mixing bowl with warm basil leaves that torn, filled the air around me with their peppery fragrance. I took them into the kitchen, and the Olympics on in the family room, the baby around in just a diaper and pink cheeks from an afternoon in the water, the children lazy on the sectional and content, I washed the basil, made pesto, sliced the vegetables, rolled out a floury pizza dough against the cold countertop, and called life good.

I think the prophet told us to plant gardens because he wanted us to be happy. And I wonder, mid-summer, if anything is as satisfying as this—a simple dinner plucked and harvested from a small garden.

A while ago, I sat back against the rush in a chair, across a dinner table laden with empty dishes from two cute boys (technically men, but they’ll always be boys to me) in identical chairs as mine, but with eyes heavy as their hearts. They were watching our children and lamenting their lot: that they wouldn’t ever have a legacy of their own. That, though they were in love with one another and though they felt committed, their lifestyle didn’t leave room for posterity— in other words, they could adopt lap dogs to spoil but they could never have children. At least logistically. One boy/man said something to me with shark eyes, black and round: “It’s a selfish lifestyle for me, and at the end of the day I know I will be alone.”

I thought instantly of The Family A Proclamation to the World where marriage between a man and a woman is delineated and I had a prick of something in that moment as I stared at them: larger (or smaller) than the argument of homosexuality being an abomination, maybe as a practical application we are counseled against those feelings of same-gender attraction because living them can never make us happy.

Could it be as simple as this? I know that keeping commandments and covenants, we are promised happiness in the hereafter, but truthfully, I am grateful for the daily happiness that sits with me simply by doing what I should be doing, when I should be doing it.

Do you have any experiences of immediate happiness from following a prophet’s counsel?

About Brooke

(Blog Team) is attempting inner om with this writing stuff. Proud to claim four loud children, a patient husband and a fat black cat as family, she feels blessed to be their mommy-- their giver of kisses and baker of cookies. She is ever seeking a good novel and wishing for the sand between her toes, palm trees, the ocean.

25 thoughts on “Sometimes my husband tells me I live too much in the moment…

  1. The problem for many of us who love those who are gay and who also want to follow the prophet, is that choosing to follow the Proclamation doesn’t make them happy either. I spent 10 years married to someone who is gay; he tried all kinds of things to be happy and fulfilled in our life, and he just wasn’t. I don’t know if he is happier now, but he wasn’t happy then. I am still a faithful member of the church and I still have a testimony of prophetic guidance, but for many of us with gay loved ones, life is not a simple black-and-white choice between ‘happy’ and ‘unhappy’. Being gay and Mormon presents a lot of difficult choices that are not easily dismissed with the assumption that following God’s plan will always lead to being happy, whatever that means exactly.

  2. I think this is where we hang onto faith. YES there are times of immediate happiness from following the prophet, but not always. Sometimes it is deferred–for a later time or the next life. ALWAYS we need to remember that we are in act 2 of a 3 act play. When we plant gardens or invest in something, we cannot expect it to be one round of eternal bliss ALL of the time. One way that I know I’m on the right track (besides just comparing my life and actions to what prophets teach) is if I get breaths or moments of happiness and peace. (I got a really clear one last week in the car with my family during FHE–I had literally waves of peace and contentment washing over me–and they came seemingly out of the blue.) A lot of my life feels hard and is a struggle but those moments of stillness and happiness, when they come, reaffirm that I am headed in the right direction. And I am glad for them–so glad that I don’t have to wait for a later time or the next life for ALL of the peace and happiness we are promised for being obedient. It is hard at times but going in the opposite direction of happiness won’t yield joy any quicker.

  3. so true, foxyj!

    i wasn’t trying to be dismissive and i have struggled A LOT to try and understand what being a gay mormon means for now AND eternity– since it affects someone i love dearly.

    but i guess i see in him that he’s not happy living as a gay man in a relationship, and the boy i knew who wasn’t married or acting on his feelings seemed lighter in mind and heart. but, you’re right: i don’t know truly what it’s like.

  4. If that was the case, then God would have also told us to not marry infertile men or women. Marriage and the right to marry is more than about being able to have children

  5. I have to disagree with you on that point, Emily. Men and women will always have the *potential* to procreate, whether they are “fertile” in this life or not. Men/men and women/women will never have that potential. And that makes a difference in the eternal scope of things.

    As for marriage and the right to marry, that’s another discussion, but I just can’t swallow the analogy that gay couples are in the same boat as infertile couples. It’s comparing apples and oranges.

  6. Amen, Shelby. It’s about more than reproduction: it’s about the union of opposites to create someone in God’s image. Male and Female = the image of God.

    I’ve thought a lot about this too–why isn’t homosexuality the way to a celestial life…and what about those who can’t seem to be happy in marriage like Josh Weed, but are overcome by their ssa.

    And how the yin yang symbol seems to answer why we need one man and one woman to find the perfect balance.

    I just hope Christ comes soon.

  7. I love how you live in the moment, Brooke! And I love how you write about it. It’s not always easy for writers to be fully present in the moment.

  8. Having children and a garden is one idea of happiness, but it’s only one. I’m single and if I lived by the idea that children bring true happiness, then that is saying I can never be fully happy. I don’t and can’t live that way.

    Happiness is unique. Sometimes, like your two gay friends, we have to choose between two different ways of happiness. Your gay friend wants children but he made a different choice. He chose another kind of happiness. (And there is always adoption.) We all look for happiness in different ways and I don’t think there is a “one size fits all,” kind.

    I like how you are able to capture a moment so succinctly. It was a lovely post.

  9. I think I may live too much for the future. Although children and spouse are wonderful, there are always those moments that they drive you crazy! I think of those people who held on to the rod of iron in Lehi’s dream. I am sure it was easy sometimes. Othertimes, they held on only because they knew the place they were going would better. I think that is how I function. Couples who can’t have children will in the future. Living as a gay mormon may be very difficult, but I have to believe it will be better. I have to TRY to live in the moment and enjoy what it has to offer because I am always thinking of how much better it will be.

  10. #8 Sage: And how the yin yang symbol seems to answer why we need one man and one woman to find the perfect balance.

    I’m trying to figure out a yin/yang symbol with one white area and dozens of black areas to represent polygamy. It doesn’t seem to balance…

  11. @Mike S–Here’s how I think of polygamy (when I do)–it’s not ONE marriage made up of one man and more than one woman, it’s individual marriages, still with one man and one woman–he just has more than one marriage. (NOT that I am advocating it or anxious to participate in it or anything. ;))

  12. Sage, I’m happy to read your comment that marriage is about”…more than reproduction…” and I completely agree. However, pointing out that homosexuals cannot have children is no longer a valid argument against homosexual coupling/marriage.

  13. Many of my experiences of happiness from being obedient involve a grinding, hard stretch of time of obedience before any joy/success happens – so no ‘immediate happiness’. I’m not sure we can work out God’s timetable and reasons for the struggle, but I will always believe there is a point and eventual positive outcome for doing so.

    Which makes this quote (p. 25) from Mark Salzman’s ‘Lying Awake’ all the more beautiful to me (it being a direct quote from Augustine’s Sermons on 1 John):

    “The entire life of a good Christian is in fact an exercise of holy desire. You do not yet see what you long for, but the very act of desiring prepares you, so that when He comes you may see and be utterly satisfied.”

  14. Wow. I’m truly saddened by the tone of this article towards my GBLTQ brothers and sisters.

    I am bisexual and I fully plan on having children, and I know several gay/lesbian and transgender couples that have loving, warm and accepting families.

    Love is and always will be my religion, unconditional, and always accepting love.

  15. I agree with Becca and I’m glad that you have found the happiness that you expressed so eloquently. However, attributing it to God and implying that your way is the only way to happiness is a logical fallacy. This plan that you talk about works for some – obviously you as one – but is devastating for others who don’t fit the mould. Be happy that it works for you, but please don’t pretend to understand everyone else, and so not

  16. If you could know Brooke’s heart as I do, you’d understand she didn’t intend to cause offense to anyone. She is generous and open and most certainly NOT anti-GLBTQ.

    This is a tricky topic for everyone. My brother is gay and is an incredible human being. We’ve stumbled through many tricky conversations while gaining incresed understanding because we love each other and always assume the best intentions in each other. I hope we can do that here– remembering we are all tripping and bruising each other on our journey through life– yet, still assuming good intentions.

  17. to becca and matt a. especially, but any one else i hurt by this too,

    please know that if i could tell you the full story, i would tell you the full story, only please trust me too, that the “boy” i’m talking about has my whole heart and i love him dearly.

    i’ve tried repeatedly to write a proper reply to your comments, to explain myself or try to clarify, but i’ve come to feel that right now, i just want to say sorry.

    and so i am. i am truly sorry.

    brooke

  18. Sage, I guess that I don’t believe that marriage is a union of opposites. Anatomically, men’s and women’s genitals are opposite in their shape, but I do not believe that men and women are opposite.

  19. This is one of those incredibly difficult trials in life. I hope someday Heavenly Father can explain to me why it is necessary. I think Josh Weed said it right that we have to, in all things in life, decide what we desire and believe in most and then work towards it and that will bring us happiness.

    I’m sure Brooke meant no harm and is truly just seeking understanding. I think it’s hard sometimes to see that someone lives you but not the choices you make.

  20. I didn’t read the whole article when I made my original comment. I do wish Brooke would do a book with pretty pictures with verses describing it.

    As for SSA, she like many of us are trying to figure things out. I don’t have all the answers. I just trust the Prophets. That doesn’t mean that I don’t have a lot of dear people in my life who are SSA and some live that lifestyle. It is clear form Brooke’s comments that she cares deeply about someone who has SSA and wants all the best for that person.

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