Eyes Wide Open
"Holding your hand," he replied.
"Why?" I questioned, not brave enough to look at his face.
"Because I want to," he said in a voice so sincere it shook me. "Because I have wanted to since I first met you."
I couldn't breathe. Part of me wanted to snatch my hand away from him, part of me wanted to throw my arms around him and hold on for dear life. Instead of doing either, I sat frozen in my place, staring at my feet as he caressed my hand. It was quiet for a long time.
Finally he spoke, "Sarah, you look so sad." He brushed my then long hair away from my face. "Why are you sad? This is a very good thing you know."
I sighed so deeply, taking in as much of that summer air as I could. I finally grew brave enough to look into his eyes. "Just promise me, promise me that if you ever get to the point where you can't see me... I mean, REALLY SEE me... just promise me you'll let me go." I kept my eyes on his. He didn't flinch; he didn't look away.
"I promise to always see you. I promise."
I was engaged to John for about a month and a half. It didn't work out between he and I for various reasons, but the biggest one being we didn't see each other. He didn't look past my skin, he couldn't see beyond the surface and I was too willing to look at what he could have been instead of what he was. John didn't keep his promise to see and neither did I. In the end, things less important than what brought us together in the first place blinded us. In the end we realized we were bad for each other, toxic in ways we didn't think possible. So, we needed our relationship, and I walked away from the man I thought I was going to marry. Every day, I am grateful to my Heavenly Father for loving me enough to help me walk away from what I thought was my only chance at happiness. In reality, it was just another chance for misery.
I have never been one of those girls that goes from boy to boy to boy trying them on like skirts in a dressing room until I find the one that fits right. It takes me years to recover from loving someone, years to get the smell of their skin off of me, ages to erase the feeling of their hand in mine. I don't think that's such a terrible thing to be honest. I think it is what works for me, and that's all that matters. It has also helped me into my mid-twenties without so much as a prospect for marriage. I am constantly aware of how unmarried I am, mostly because 90% of my friends are so married. The four best friends I have (pretty much all since birth) got married within 18 months of each other. Tiff got married out of the blue, Aubrey met the man of her dreams and has the best marriage I've ever witnessed. I have stood alone at all of these weddings, watching my best friends promise eternity to these men who they are making families with. And I suppose that is really the thing that I want the most - a family of my own.
If I never marry in this life that is the thing I will be missing. I will miss out on being part of a family that I helped form. I won't get to make rules and start traditions. I won't get to experience the joys and sorrows of being a parent and wife. That is the thing I want the most. To share this life with someone, to create something with them from scratch, to try out this "God in Embryo" thing. It's not so much about the pressure from family and friends (though that is there, believe me) it's not so much about The Church telling me I need to be married - this is about knowing what I want. This is about knowing who I want to be, a wife to a man who sees me and who I see clearly in return, and the mother to spirits I have been promised are waiting to be just mine. If I never marry, I know I will be given the opportunity in the life after this, but I don't think this life would be complete without the experience of having my own family - without being seen. I look forward to meeting this family of mine... I have prayed for them often, I have walked away from things I wanted so badly it made my head spin so I could be with them someday.
I hope that someday isn't too much further off.
*Names have been changed