Thursday, October 9, 2008

The End of the Story

I would like to finish my “life story” so that I can get on to discussing more important issues (which I have already taken a pause to do more than once, sorry about that), and focus on individual experiences that affect how I live my life. I think I can finish this story rather quickly; after a few months alone, I met the fantastic man with whom I now share my life.

Honestly, our relationship progressed faster than I expected it to. I told him when we first met that I didn’t want to rush into a relationship, and that I was having fun just dating and being unattached. But the fact that we spent almost every day together negated that thought process rather quickly, and after just a few weeks we decided we would like to be exclusive. We celebrated the one year anniversary of that decision September 12, 2008. I have never felt so in sync with someone in all of my life. I have never been so happy to wake up or to come home from work. I have never been so in love.

My feelings are so completely wrapped up in this person that I can’t imagine my life without him. I never thought I would be able to say that about another human being. I have no desire for anyone, or anything else. He has become a closer member of my family than any other family member I have known or had.

In counseling I was told that if I “fulfilled” my desires for another man, that I would suddenly be confronted by a bottomless pit, always looking for the next best thing, and would never be satisfied or quenched in my lust. I have found that to be an outright lie. Never have I been so fulfilled. Never have I thought that there was something better. I imagine that the way I feel now is the same way many of you reading this have felt about your spouse or partner.

Of course, I say this is the end of my story, because I have brought you up to present day – but the fact remains – my life with this man is really just beginning. I don’t know what will happen in the future, but my conviction to him is stronger than ever, and I know he feels the same way about me. I feel truly blessed – yes, by God, – to have him in my life.

Although I am plagued by certain fears and uncertainties, just as any other couple, I am sure our relationship is enduring. No matter the challenge, I know that if we stay by each others' side and make decisions together, we will get through anything.

I have often pondered how it could be that the Lord could be responsible for our relationship, considering the LDS church’s stand on the subject. When I have considered this, both personally and in prayer, I have been reminded of an experience I had on my mission.

While serving in Weslaco, Texas, I had the pleasure of meeting the son of a man who served on a team that was responsible for the translation of the Dead Sea Scrolls. This man read both Hebrew and Greek, and was a great scriptorian. He started this experience by telling us that the Greek language has a flow, almost like poetry, so when it is cut - as in scriptural translation or change - a change in flow can usually be detected.

He then had us read what would become one of my favorite passages of scripture:

Mark 8:22-25

“22 And he cometh to Bethsaida; and they bring a blind man unto him, and besought him to touch him.
23 And he took the blind man by the hand, and led him out of the town; and when he had spit on his eyes, and put his hands upon him, he asked him if he saw ought.
24 And he looked up, and said, I see men as trees, walking.
25 After that he put his hands again upon his eyes, and made him look up: and he was restored, and saw every man clearly.”

This translator then assured us that in the Greek scriptures, the flow was uninterrupted, and to his knowledge and ability, the translation was correct. He then asked us why the blind man was not initially healed.

We, as missionaries, responded it was because of a lack of faith.

The translator then shook his head and said, “Every time Christ healed someone, he asked them if they had faith in Him. Do you honestly believe he would not ask this man the same question – although it might not be documented?”

We said that we weren’t sure. The translator then asked, “And if he didn’t have the faith, how was it that he was healed in the end. Did Christ mess up? Is that why the man wasn’t completely healed on the first attempt? Obviously he could see slightly, but the people the man could see looked like 'tree walking' or, blurred shadows.”

We responded that of course Christ wouldn’t have made a mistake, but we were unable to come up with a reason as to why the Savior would only partially heal the man.

The translator, after many frustrated attempts to help us attain the correct answer, told us, “In verse 22, who was it that brought the man to Christ?”

We responded it was the apostles.

He continued, “So they were with Him during the healing. I think Christ was teaching his apostles in this moment. In just a few verses down, Christ asks the apostles who they think he is, his plan, and the fact that he would be sacrificed for their sins, but the did not understand. These were the apostles of Christ! And they didn’t understand his gospel clearly. They, in fact, still saw the gospel as ‘trees walking.’ Christ was teaching his apostles by example, and acknowledging that they did not understand his gospel clearly.”

I remember feeling the spirit confirm to me that this was true, and I wondered myself, how much of the gospel I still saw unclearly. If Christ’s own apostles were unable to clearly see, even in the presence of the Master, how blind must I - as a 20 year old missionary- still be?

This passage of scripture gives me the simple understanding that there are things that I, this world, the church, apostles, prophets, and angels still see as “trees walking.” I believe the issues of homosexual attraction, love, expression, and tolerance are just a few of the items of which we still don’t have a clear picture. I don’t know if, like the apostles in relation to the Savior’s sacrifice, this is because we simply don’t understand all of the information that the Savior is telling us, or if we just don’t have all of the information because of the Godhead's choice to withhold such revelation from the church at this current time. What I do know, is that one day, the Savior will place his hands on my eyes, and open my understanding. I don’t know what the result of this “healing” will be. It might be a way for the man that I love and me to be together forever. It might be a greater understanding that will give us the desire to live separate lives. For certain, however, it will be a decision made with clear vision.

I cannot wait to see perfectly. Until then, I’ll be happy with the vision I have been given. I might still see aspects of the gospel as trees walking, but at least I’m not blind.

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