Thursday, May 28, 2015

A Father/Daughter Dance

She got in the car, and I started to drive. It was time for another girls’ night at Pizza Pie CafĂ©, our favorite. We talked about boys, our crushes, our frustrations. Somehow, the conversation led to the wedding topic. What will we have at our weddings? What is the most important thing?
I answered without hesitation. “The most important thing to me is to have a Daddy/Daughter dance. You know, my dad and I are really close, so to me, I feel that would be like our last moment with him as my authority figure, before he hands me off to whoever my husband is. Everything else doesn't really matter. Just a dance with my husband, and a dance with my dad.”

***

The walls were white, and surrounded the gym. The doors held pictures of our younger selves, both together and separately, from the years before. The chandelier hung in the center of the tent, and the cake was beneath it. The music filled my ears as I stood, welcoming the line of guests who so graciously came on our behalf.

It could not have been more beautiful! As I marveled at it all, I still couldn't believe that it was for us. I was now a married woman. As a girl, you always imagine what your wedding day is going to be like; the colors, the dress, the groom. Certain things are important.

The line lasted 2 hours exactly. After that, we were definitely ready for some fun! The sharing of the drinks was sweet, and the stuffing each other’s face with cake was hilarious! He asked me to dance to our song, “I’m Yours,” and it was wonderful.

Then, my aunt announced that there would be a Mother/Son dance, as well as a Brother/Sister dance. It seemed only fitting. Ian took me by the hand, and we danced. I thought that I would cry, but I didn't. I smiled, and he smiled, and he made it as enjoyable as he could. He understood this was important to me, and he was so positive.

Then something happened that I did not anticipate.

I felt a tap on my shoulder. I turned around, and it was one of my uncles. He asked, “May I cut in?” Ian smiled, and said “Yes.” I was surprised, but so happy. He took me by the hand and danced with me. My throat became choked up, and I could feel the tears coming to my eyes. I could see my uncle also had tears filling his eyes. We danced for a while.

I felt another tap, and turned around. There was my second uncle, the younger brother of the first. I had been living with his family since everything happened. At this point, I couldn’t stop the tears from flowing. I let them. He held me close, and we danced.

There was a third tap on my shoulder. I turned around to see my dad’s best friend, who, like my uncles, I look to as another father figure.  He took me by the hand and we danced.

After a few moments, there was a final tap. I turned to see my grandfather, my mother’s father. We both had tears. He took my hand, and we danced. He said, “This is the first dance I’ve danced in about 20 years, you know?”

It is moments like this that makes the world stop for even just a moment.

***


I realized something a few days ago. Something that is taking me some time to accept, but I know it is true.

As much as my Mom, Dad, Keegan and Liam love me, and would be there for me always, I think that there are going to be times when they won’t be.

Maybe that’s shocking for some people. When everything happened, I felt their presence a lot. I felt that they were with me through the initial shock and hardship of everything. I felt that they were with me through dark moments, and even happy moments.

I felt them so strongly in the temple when I was sealed to the love of my life. I swear I could have reached out and touched them, it was so strong. It was special. It was personal. They were there for me. For us.

But… I did not feel them at my reception. I did not feel my father standing beside me while I danced with those important men in my family. And if his presence was there, it had to have been fleeting, as if to say, “Jens, I love you more than you could ever know. And right now, I am needed elsewhere. But I want you to know I am proud of you.”

The more that I experience, both happy and hard, I am coming to understand that I will feel each one of them specifically when it is the Lord’s will, or when He sees fit.

I don’t know why they had to pass when they did. I don’t know why they passed the way that they did. I don’t know when I will see them again. I don’t know when I will feel them again.

I have a firm belief that for whatever reason, they are where they are because they need to be there. I firmly believe that Ian and I were saved because we need to be here. Is that doctrine? I cannot say. But one day, I believe that I will know.

In the meantime, I believe that life will go on. Now that life has been moving at a faster pace, and more things have been happening, maybe it is time that I start doing things on my own, with my husband. Maybe I don’t need that constant feeling of them pushing me along, getting me on my feet again. Perhaps, that point has come when it is time for all of us to do our part.

And how can they do their part if I’m constantly begging them to come back and comfort me, when I already know what I need do? How can they progress if I’m constantly feeling like they need to be with me at all times?

They can’t. Nor can I.

What I need to do to progress is simple:
1. Keep the commandments.
2. Repent when I don’t.
3. Let the Atonement figure out the rest.

Life is meant to be enjoyed. Relationships are meant to last forever. Why would we come here and create families, only to have them split and separated after death?

Heavenly Father would never be that cruel. He provided a way. So, do I need to worry about that? 

No, I don’t. It’s already taken care of.


It’s all taken care of. We just need to do our part. 


Me and Jacob. Mr. and Mrs. Hall! 



Just married! Logan Temple, 5.15.15


Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Happy Ever After

Life is a glass, and there is water in that glass. We have all heard that phrase before. Sometimes, the glass is half empty, sometimes it's half full, but nevertheless, it's all the same. It's a glass cup, and there is water, waiting to be consumed.

I've always been fascinated by people. We really are quite incredible. Being an English major, I've kind of started thinking in terms of stories. All of us have a story. We all want a Happy Ever After.

I'm getting married in 9 days. It's crazy when I think about it! I was that girl on the mission that thought that I would never get married. It wasn't my thing. Ya, it's a nice thought, but things are too scary things in the world, and I just don't want to deal with the drama. It's too much.

I was very wrong. I'm getting married to an amazing guy, one who has been there for me for years, and especially this year. There are days that I'm shocked that he still wants me around, that he still cares for me, because I'm kind of a nut. He is strong for me when I'm not myself, when I'm depressed, when I'm angry at the world, at the people around me, at the situation that we are in.

I consider myself a realist, though people may think it's pessimism. Maybe I'm a little bit more on the pessimistic side nowadays. I live in fear a lot. It's hard not to sometimes, when the biggest thing that I've feared has already been realized; when one minute, my life was perfect and normal and happy, and then literally the next minute, it was flipped upside down; four people that I loved more than anything else on this planet were gone in an instant, and I didn't even get to say goodbye.

For me, it's really hard not to live in fear. Fear takes over me, causing extreme anxiety attacks, causing the littlest things to push me over the edge. It eats at me, making me expect the worst sometimes. At times, it even gets me to a point where I am too afraid to try anything new, because what's the point?

And this guy is the absolute opposite. He tries because to him, failure is not trying at all. He puts himself out there because why not? "Life is short, so try things" is his philosophy.

***

It was late, and we were hungry. We had an amazing date, walking around old town Pocatello, admiring the art and architecture that was on display that night, but we had forgotten about dinner. Trying to limit our eating out, we ran to WinCo to buy us some food. 

Driving down the road, we were discussing marriage; what were our expectations, what were our goals, and lots of things. I mentioned, "You know, I think sometimes people are shocked, because they get married expecting it to be a fairy tale, and it's not."

He got wide eyed. "WHAT! It's not a fairy tale?" He smirked a little, indicating that he was trying to be funny.

Nonsensically, I responded, "Hate to break it to you, but it's not."

Going along with it, he said, "Hmm, well, I'm planning on it to be a fairy tale."

"Oh, really? I'd love to see that. People are still human, you know. Things still get hard. There aren't any white horses or pretty princesses or magic spells. Bad things still happen." I was trying to get my point across.

His answer threw me in for a loop. "Let's think about this, Jens. Life is a fairy tale. Let's think about all the fairy tales that we know:

Snow White: evil step-mother, both her biological parents die, she's pretty much an orphan, and step-mother hates her and wants to kill her because she is jealous. She has to run away, and she lives with SEVEN MEN! What a night mare! And she still lived happily ever after, yes?"

"Yes, but..."

"Sleeping Beauty: Gorgeous, and has to sleep for however long (which sounds nice in my opinion). Prince has to cut through thorns and bristles, and kill a dragon before he can even get to her in the highest tower! Trials, no?"

"Well..."

"And let's not forget RAPUNZEL! Locked in a tower for 18 years, no social experience whatsoever, creepy handsome guy comes along. A few frying pan smacks later, she has to go on an adventure to find out who she is... Then she finds out she's a princess, gets married, and lived happily ever after! You know I could go on and on!"

At this point, I couldn't respond. I knew he was winning his argument. He smiled, and said, "You best believe in happily ever after, because that's what I am shooting for." 

***

Life is a glass, and there is water in that glass. Is it half empty? Is it half full? It's up to you. 

I could focus on the emptiness of my life. My mom and my dad are gone. My two youngest brothers are gone. I won't see them again in this life. Mom and Dad aren't here to help plan my wedding with me. I won't dance with Dad at my reception, or my Mom won't be able to sit by my side. I struggle with many emotional and mental effects because of it, more than most people ever witness. I struggle with a lot of things. I struggle in school. I struggle to connect with people. Sometimes, I feel like an outsider.

Or... I could focus on the fullness of my life. I have a great family and friend support system. We have each other for when we have bad days. I have an amazing fiance' who has been there for me since day one and beyond, with an amazing family who have helped me in so many ways. My wonderful family and friends are helping us with wedding planning. Maybe Ian and I will dance at my reception. I can use my experience to help others. I am going to school and getting a degree in English. Maybe I'll do something amazing with writing. I can be someone who opens her arms to anyone who needs it.

The ones who live happily ever after are the ones that hope for and shoots for it. And the beautiful thing about happily ever after is... it doesn't end.

It's an eternal journey.

Walking along the artwalk.