Darkness Before Dawn
As I look at the innocent girl in this photograph, full of rich hope and marvelous dreams for her future, yet knowing how life is actually going to turn out for her nearly thirty years later, realizing it will be nothing like her expectations, wishes, or dreams,
I can still, in all honesty, say...
I wouldn't change a thing!
We were wed, much to my parents disappointment, outside of the temple. As Mormons we were taught to aspire to a temple marriage. We refused to follow the crowd and conform. We planned a wedding where all of our loved ones could attend and celebrate with us, none would be excluded from sharing in our joy! June 10th, 1988 we vowed to work together for better or worse, in sickness and in health, til death do us part. Vows we've taken very sincerely!
Sailing through the first 22 years of our marriage, we mostly had calm seas. Of course there were patches of rough weather that tossed our tiny Life boat and threw us for a loop; but, overall it was nothing too tumultuous for us to handle. We never really considered jumping off the ship we had built together. Then in 2011 we faced the biggest, scariest, most disturbing wave of all; threatening to crush the lovely vessel that had, so far, carried our growing family of 9 securely through the years. The waves of doubting my faith, questioning authority, and buried truths hit me like a ton of bricks. I began to investigate/re-evaluate my deeply held religious beliefs, eventually leaving Mormonism behind for good. By burning those bridges, beliefs that had carried me through my life, I was able to embark on a whole new journey to sail through the rest of my life on a brand new craft, one of my own making. I adjusted my course accordingly and set out to navigate my life with the stars, my heart, my intellect, and my intuition in order to explore other incredible oceans I had never dared dream of traversing. The last six years of my marriage have been about bridging the gap between our vast oceans; he lives on the blue, obedient, limited sea of Mormonism; and, I live on a rainbow colored, psychedelic, expansive sea without any religion in sight. Although these oceans seem miles apart, we have managed to sail side by side until this year. Putting it mildly, 2016 has kicked our asses to the curb, especially these last two months!
We met our match. We encountered the surging wave that would finally take us down, break us down, and drown us if we let it. I couldn't see any way around, through, or past the pain, heartache, destruction, debt, divergent paths, and deceit that had littered our marriage these past six years. Everything in our life was fated to the point of no return.
December 2016 has been a resplendent refiners fire for me, burning away all the dross of my marriage to reveal the amazingly gorgeous golden nuggets of truth, beauty, hope, and grace hidden within it. Monday, 12/12 to be precise, was a rendition of HELL I hope to never repeat in my life. It showed me the ugly, dark, shadowy side of my spouse, which in truth, is just a mirror showing me a glowing reflection of my own personal dark, ugly, shadowy side that I have been too ashamed to truly look at until now.
The secret from the Universe for today is this, the darkness before the dawn is a gift. The darkness, the shadow, our shame, guilt, and most grotesque parts of our self have a graceful purpose. Going through the depths of HELL is necessary in order to reclaim the parts of yourself you have lost by trying to be someone you are not. It is the darkest right before the dawn, but the light will always return. We just celebrated Winter Solstice, the birth of the sun. It's a very fitting time for me to be sharing my last post of 2016. I too have survived the dark, wintery, nights of my soul many times over and I will many times more I am sure before this lifetime is finished. Darkness isn't conquered once and then it is banished for good. Each time we are plunged into the depths of HELL to face a dark part of our self we will learn things we never knew about our glorious LIGHT. I am willing to fight through the purifying, refiners flames, plunge into the stormiest of seas, and dash into the darkest of caves to retrieve the lost parts of my soul. I know if I were to give up on my marriage and move on with my life, these problems are mine. I will carry them with me into the next marriage, relationship, or partnership I have. My darkness isn't going to go away. My refiners fire has been lit and I will feel the flames no matter where I find myself living. I have really good reasons to keep fighting this battle, facing my demons, and challenging my fears.
My awesome family is the reason I keep trying to find a way to make my marriage work. Despite the vast abyss we've been through, I have 13, soon to be 14, angelic reasons to persevere. Our family has grown by 2 since this picture was taken, a beautiful daughter-in-law and our first grandchild, a girl, joined our family in March of 2015 and June of 2016. In just a few days, we will be adding another grand-daughter to the mix. As the saying goes, 'we may not have it all together but together, we have it all'! Rough sailing or smooth sailing, these are the people I want by my side as I adventure through the rest of my life! Whatever I can do to make that possible, I will do to the best of my ability while staying true to who I AM!
May 2016 lovingly burn into ashes so that 2017 can bring to us the exquisite Phoenix rising from its cinders!
Happy New Year!