Tuesday, February 28, 2006

More Purpose And Meaning In Life

In a recent post, I mentioned in comments that my marriage had brought more purpose and meaning to my life. Téa asked in comments if I would elaborate more on what I meant by this.

Both my wife and I were older when we were married. Each of us were in our mid-thirties. It was a first marriage for both of us. We each had completed our education, and were working full-time. We were supporting ourselves, and were living in our own apartments at the time we met. Both of us had served missions for the church as well. I went to British Columbia, Canada, while she went to Detroit, Michigan.

Each of us had experienced spiritual challenges in our lives, and had eventually overcome those challenges. It seemed that we each needed to go through a refining process before we were ready to meet each other. It wasn't until we both had learned to more fully trust in the Lord, and submit ourselves to His will, that we were fully prepared to meet each other.

Being older, we also came to know what it meant to be a single person in a church and culture that emphasizes marriage and family. There were many times of discomfort, as friends and relatives would inquire as to why we hadn't married yet. My standard response became, "Because no one has asked me yet!" I think church leaders, at least on the General Authority level, are much more sensitive to this now than the way it was 20 years ago -- and that's a good thing.

I remember, as I was single, that I didn't quite feel whole. That there was a part of me that was missing. I had a longing emptiness inside that I couldn't fill on my own. As I met, fell in love with, and married my wife, I found the empty portion of my heart filled with my love for her , and her love for me. Finally I felt whole. I had always wanted to have someone I could love, and share my heart with, and shower my love upon, and finally she came into my life.

As we dated, I received may promptings of the Spirit. Many times I heard the still, small, voice tell me that this woman would be the love of my life. That she would love me, sustain me, bring me children and be an eternal companion to me.

Finally, at my grandfather's urging, we attended the temple together. I don't know if I have ever had a more powerful manifestation of the Spirit than on that day. We had completed our session in the temple, and were sitting together in the Celestial Room. I held her close to me, and at the same time, I was praying in my heart if this was the right person for me to marry. I received a powerful manifestation of the Spirit that seemed to come to me in waves. All of the promptings that I had received before were re-emphasized, accompanied with the fire of the Holy Ghost. From that moment on, I knew that this is the person I would marry. I later learned that my then wife-to-be was having a similar experience.

We practically floated out of the temple. We didn't want to go home right away. We didn't want the feelings we were experiencing to end. I remember walking around the temple, hand-in-hand, just looking at the flowers and landscaping, and continuing to drink in the feelings of the moment that we were experiencing together.

Four months later from that experience, we were married for time and all eternity. Our life together had begun. After our courtship and marriage, we discovered that there was more to Love than we had ever before considered. Suddenly a whole new dimension of love had opened up to us. Later, as children came, additional dimensions of love were revealed to us as well. I'm sure that as our lives progress (both on earth, and eternally), that we will learn of yet more hidden facets of love which will come into view.

Now there was more meaning in life. Now we had the power to obey some of the first commandments ever given to mankind. Now we could be fruitful, and multiply and replenish the earth. Now we could raise souls up unto the Lord. Now we could help build his kingdom, by building our new little family. Now we could experience the love of a parent, and gain insight as to how our Heavenly Father must feel about us. We would experience heartache and troubles along the way too. But so too, does our Heavenly Father grieve over his children. All these things bring us experience and wisdom, and help us to grow and become more like our Father in Heaven.

Before meeting and marrying one another, we mostly just tried to make it through each day. We tried to do good, and tried not to do any harm. But mostly, our lives were focused on ourselves.

After marriage, we now had purposes other than taking care of ourselves for which we were responsible. Now I had the responsibility to not only just support myself, but my wife and family as well. Doing a good job at work wasn't just to gain accolades, or advancement. Doing a good job at work was now consecrated work, with the purpose of fulfilling my sacred responsibility to provide for my family. So too for my wife. As the children came, they became her sacred responsibility to teach and nurture. Eventually she would leave the work force to be a full-time mother. Her time too, was consecrated for the building up of our family, and in turn, for the building up of the Kingdom of God. Each of our efforts at home, at work, and in our callings took on a deeper meaning.

Now we were partners with God, in bringing about His work and His Glory -- To bring to pass the Immortality and Eternal Life of man. By entering into the covenants of Eternal Marriage, bringing souls into this world, and raising them in righteousness -- we would be doing our part to assist Heavenly Father in His Work -- To bring to pass the Immortality, and Eternal Life of our family.


Téa said...

Tears, David, tears in my eyes. Thank you so much for taking the time to share your experience(s) and your discovery of the greater meaning and purpose you sought.
I feel edified, and as is so often the case when moved by the Holy Ghost, desirous to improve myself and my application of Gospel principles.

SalGal said...

What a sweet, sweet story of the way your life together began! Thank you for sharing that with us.

Woody said...

Well said! Very similar to my story with Mrs. Woody, except that while it was her first marriage, it's my second. We call my first marriage my "starter" marriage. I guess this one is my "repentance" or "finally got it right" marriage. ;->

Thank you for sharing!

Maren said...

This was beautiful. Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

Téa said...

David, I just had to say thank you again. Thanks for the moving description of your courtship & marriage, and expounding on the ways that having a wife and children changed your perspective.

I have been thinking a lot on the 'paradigm shift' you describe regarding jobs and work outside the home and the responsibilites inside your home--all coming together to strengthen your family and building up the kingdom.

It is very easy for me to get caught up in the day to day living, especially with my illness. Sometimes I feel like I am only living day to day, coasting if you will, frustrating because I'm not sure if my wheels are spinning because I'm truly stuck, or if I'm just not pedaling hard enough. I fear I am as 2 Timothy 3:7, ever in motion but not getting anywhere...

I want to take the four paragraphs to print out and place in my sunshine journal here at home. Is that okay with you?

David B. said...

Thanks for all your kind thoughts and comments.

Maren: It's good to hear from you. Your family is in my thoughts and prayers. I hope things are going well for Reilly, and for yourself.

Téa: I'm glad these thoughts have been helpful for you. You were the one that helped me to coalesce these thoughts and feelings down into writing.

You are certainly welcome to use what I have written here to use in your sunshine journal. It always makes me feel good to know that something I may have written or expressed might be of benefit to someone else. May the Lord be with you as you deal with your day to day struggles.

I wish each of you the best. Thanks for stopping by and for leaving your kind comments.

Maren said...

David, Thank you for your thoughts and prayers. I have not been on the computer for a month now and have missed everyone. Reilly is back in the running. He put on 2 pound last week and is doing better. Now if we could just find some foods that he was not allergic to..... and then teach him how to eat it. But, we have so much to be thankful for. He is surrounded by children at Kennedy Krieger who have way harder problems than he has. Thank you again.