Tag Archives: marriage

Lessons from the Monster-In-Law

i have learned - kahlil gibran

I had an entirely different post percolating, when my lanky Lurch said from the kitchen “Hey Mum….”  Long, hard-won experience has told me that NOW was when I had to turn from my computer, my deadline, my headphones and listen. Listen, and ease into the conversational tempo that best works for my son… like a calm ocean strolling onto a deserted beach. Unhurried, considered, and deep.  I, of course, am naturally more like the toddler shrieking and bouncing at the waves coming to kiss my feet, or like the shark telling itself it’s going to nibble off just a little toe…

Turns out, a question I asked more than an hour previously had soaked in, and he was ready to share.  Turns out, it involved feelings, and relationship potential with someone, and rules that her parents have in place, and his request that I more clearly define my rules and expectations on the subject.

Somehow I managed not to stomp my foot and boom “NOT UNTIL YOU’RE THIRTY!” As much as it galls me, I have my monster-in-law to thank for  attribute that to a significant degree.  Know, right from the start, I don’t use the term lightly – she was incredibly awful to me for over a decade. She’s now my EX monster-in-law, but I’ve been thinking of her as my oldest has grown ever closer to legal adulthood, and closer to girls he’s not related to.  Continue reading Lessons from the Monster-In-Law

Surprise: Happy, Happy, Happy Anniversary

Engagement photoIn July of 1994, my two sisters and I sifted through the belongings in our widowed mother’s home. She lay in a hospital nearby, unconscious and dying of a massive stroke at the age of 78. She lingered in that condition for nearly three weeks before she finally passed.

During those weeks, we hunted through the disarray of her home for documents, policies, and other papers that might be helpful for the disposition of her estate. It was grim and devastating work.

One trip to the dumpster behind her apartment complex allowed me (at last) to get rid of the embarrassingly poor plaster sculpture I’d made in high school two decades previously. I had never liked it, but my mom kept it in a place of honor. While there was a frisson of relief to see that thing go, my knees buckled with wordless grief when a set of Mom’s dentures tumbled with other “trash” into the dumpster, too. That she would never need them, never speak again, was more than I could fathom. My being the only Mormon in the family didn’t make my grief any easier to bear right in the midst of our loss.

My sisters Susan and Holly meanwhile had discovered Mom’s car insurance policy tucked into the 50th Rockford High School reunion program; stock certificates for companies long since defunct in one stack of papers; and boxes of old family photos – few of them labeled.

Holly pulled a small metal lock box out from one pile. Among the papers inside was one that baffled us all. Continue reading Surprise: Happy, Happy, Happy Anniversary

I Have a Dream

I have a dream that one day we will reach a critical mass of Zion-prepared people and the Lord Jesus will return in glory to live and reign here with us.

I have a dream that my children and my grandchildren and their children will inherit a healthy earth, that they will be freed from the tyranny of sin, free to grow in righteousness in a peaceful, joyful world.

I have a dream that one day I will talk with my Lord face to face, that I will learn all truth, line upon line, directly from the Source of Truth.

I have a dream that the church I love will one day be truly perfect, that everyone — of every gender and race and social class — will find a welcoming home, a place to rest and contribute, to love and be loved.

I have a dream, a powerful dream, of the celestial world, where my Mother and my Father reign in all perfection and glory, a celestial Home where I belong.

I have a dream of a marital partnership that mirrors our Parents’, to which we each bring divine power and tenderness, and with which we  further the work and glory of our God.

I have a dream that every soul on earth and in heaven will come to know who they really are, that they will each embrace the grace of our Savior and come Home.

I have a dream, an impossible dream, that Love and Truth and Mercy will prevail, that humankind will finally find within themselves the divine spark that makes us beloved sons and daughters of God, the spark that once ignited and fanned, flames into glory, one precious soul at a time.

I dream the impossible. And I believe . . .


What do you dream?


Passion: Stoking the Embers


I’ve been to a wedding celebration. The bride and groom were delighted in each other, and obviously oblivious to most of what was going on around them. They held hands during speeches, whispered to each other, had that unconscious radar tracking and alignment to wherever their beloved happened to be if not in arms reach, and a stunned awareness that they were finally married.

It was beautiful to see, such hope and passion and excitement sizzling between them. The bride and groom danced, fingers Morse-coding messages against hips, lips, faces, the first couple yet again to discover the hum of passion and sparking delight.

It was also beautiful to see the seasoned couples at my table, each laughing and murmuring to each other as we swapped jokes and conversation between announcements and courses. The full, smiling attention of a wife to her husband as he gave a speech, the gentle clasp of hands under the table after a joke, the sharing of dessert, a wife repeating unheard words into a whiskered, tilted ear.

There was the roaring, emerging flame of a love recently created and newly sanctified before us, and the enduring, patient embers of experienced passion gathered around to celebrate and bear witness. I warmed myself, the bride and groom leaving bright spots of joy before my eyes, while the sincere heat of the settled couples soaked deeper in, warm air stirring up ashes as I returned home.

You can’t have a conversation with the empty half of your bed. You can pretend, but it’s not the same as having a hand available to hold at three o’clock on the morning, just a finger’s stretch away. I remember the fire and sparkle of new passion, the way a first kiss becomes a language in a story yet untold. It’s a giddy time, tripping along heart beats and held breaths, all excitement and discovery, but it’s the embers that I miss.

The embers, those ruby throated coals, which have danced and thrilled before in the flash and burn of passion and delight, when all is youth and beauty, lace and enthusiasm, and have survived to catch a breath. The breath and tumble that comes with kids, or career, or both, with the frantic, shuddering bellows of watching a parent die, or burying a loved one, and holding on to each other and your breath in the same terrible moment. The embers, looking dark but billowing heat, grown from putting the lid on the toothpaste for the seven thousandth time, and distracted conversations, and pillowed laughter at midnight and arguments in the car. Embers that grow as thick and deep as lava, from loving another impossible, incredible, bizarre individual every single day even when and especially when they drive you crazy and they – for some deep, fathomless reasons – love you back even when you’re your real cracked and fragile self.

There’s the obvious, dizzying flash of heat, the sizzle, the unsteady grab for balance and air of early love and attraction, but the sustained, deliberate power of established, active passion and mutual compassion leaves it as dust. In each of us there is a light that cannot be hid, a desire for warmth that never goes out. May we all ignite, burn and coalesce into enduring, sincere passion.

What does passion mean to you? What words do you use to compare new/old love and passion? What do you do to appreciate (stroke) and build (stoke) your passions?

When Home is Not a Haven

Free image: Antique Residence Door

One summer evening, my mission companion and I were in the plaza near our apartment attempting to do some street contacting. A woman approached us and asked “do you think you can you help me?” I looked up at her and noticed that she had a black eye, a bandaged nose, and bruises down one arm. A man was holding her by the elbow, glowering at both of us. My heart sank–I hoped she had recently been in a car accident, but feared that something much worse was going on. I had no idea how I should respond, especially as a missionary in a foreign country working in a language and culture that weren’t my own. My companion and I briefly talked with the woman and exchanged phone numbers with her before the man guided her away and she disappeared into the crowd. When we tried the phone number she had given us, we found that it had been disconnected. This woman and her face still pop up in my mind from time to time, and fifteen years later I wonder if there really was anything I could have done to help her.

A few weeks ago, By Common Consent published a post about the recent Ray Rice domestic violence scandal, asking what we can do about domestic violence and abuse within our Church congregations. Some who commented expressed surprise that the author of the post implied that every ward of the Church has at least one “Ray Rice” in it; I agree that this particular extrapolation of statistics may not be fully correct and hope that there isn’t someone in every ward who regularly beats their spouse into unconsciousness. However, I’ve also seen enough situations to know that abuse takes many forms and Church members are not immune. Think about the following scenarios for a moment: Continue reading When Home is Not a Haven