If memory serves, before I made my post to Facebook (see the previous Installment), I informed Mary of the events.
What was my reaction, when the Divine said:
It’s over, done. You have received what you wanted.
Calm. Collected. Solemn. In a word: stoic.
I am not sure when, but shortly thereafter I informed Mary of the events that just occurred.
Where I was calm, she fell apart. Terribly upset. Sobbing.
After doing some minor research about polygamy, it seems that when a man wants to pursue a second wife, many first wives have to find a way to deal with it, come to terms with it, or maybe even just up and leave the fellow.
Instead, it was I who was the hold out. Even in the midst of “moving” forward into polygamy, I found myself using all kinds of ways to try to derail the proverbial train.
So when I consider how some women have reacted when polygamy is presented, and I consider what happened that morning, to me it seems that Mary’s reaction should have been reversed from mine.
It seems to me that she would have been the one who was calm, collected, solemn, stoic, and giving the blessing to the heart, giving God’s speed to it, while I was doing all the sobbing. But that is not how it went.
In some ways, the loss of the heart did not bother me. But it tore up Mary, in ways I would have never expected.
At that point, our dialogue was hours in the making. She expressed much. I had never seen her so convinced that we should do something. She, in her heart of hearts, was and remains convinced that she is to live in a family with a husband and another wife.
It took me years to accept that. One of the final straws that persuaded me, was not Mary’s belief in this, but the constant evaluation of how people valued me in light of me considering polygamy.
Know what I found?
I’ll tell you.
I found that people accepted me and wanted me in their life if/when I accepted their beliefs as the only true interpretation of what they thought marriage should be.
That played out more times than I’d like to think. But time and again, I found it true.
You’d think this fellow would learn within short order, but no, I didn’t. It took me years, engaging in what I thought was productive, and at times hopeful, dialogue with various individuals before I had found the reality of the situation.
Here is what I found. That for those people’s friendship, fellowship, and/or any other type(s) of social circles to continue with me, I had to acquiesce and yield to their belief structure, irrespective of any valid dialogue.
That may not make a lot of sense, but that is the situation. Many of those people are Christian and are, without doubt, very devout in their belief and faith.
In January of this year (2016), I determined that price was not worth it. That decision does not mean that I depart from their company gladly, no. It is with deep regret that I walk away from some circles of association. But when dialogue cannot achieve harmony, one must make a choice. I have chosen to walk away and pursue what I am convinced is proper.
Let me return to that June day in 2013. Later that afternoon, there was a function that Mary and I had to attend. While there, I continued my personal wrestling with the events of the morning. My journal says: I distinctly recall asking God “What are you doing to me?”
What was God’s response? In my journal I wrote:
God gives all kinds of tests, any time, any place.
What’s the purpose?
Biblically, I am compelled to say, to see one’s faith. It happened to Abraham. It happened to Job. It happened to countless others.
I am not sure that God is testing me for God himself. Instead, I think God was testing me so that I could see myself, what it is that I really want. That day helped reveal it, but it would be years before I really accepted myself.
During the long discussion with Mary, she made it absolutely clear that she did not want to lose anything that was good, and she interpreted this marriage as good, and hopeful for the future.
But the most striking thing that occurred during that conversation is that Mary told me she did not know how much she wanted the marriage until I had lost the heart that morning. Now how does that grab my reader?
That is the reaction that I should have had. But it was Mary. Perhaps that was the best thing that came out of that day, because when a man learns that his wife is onboard with an idea, it sure makes it easier to move forward.
But like I said before, it took me years accept myself. But I can say that it only took that afternoon and evening’s worth of discussion with Mary to determine that, if possible, I would like to have back the heart that was lost.
In my journal I recorded:
We prayed for God to return this path to us without loss, and I felt a jump in my chest and I breathed heavy, sobbing for several minutes working to catch my breath. I shared this experience with Mary, placed my hand on her heart and felt something travel down my left arm, down into my fingers, over into her chest.
That begins that part of my journal entry about that moment. Mary and I prayed not knowing if we would even receive an answer. But we prayed earnestly, intently, with much heart, asking God to allow us to regain what we had lost.
The manner in which the answer was provided was completely unexpected. I couldn’t help but share my experience with Mary, and the manner in which she experienced the confirmation of our prayer was also unexpected. But we both felt like we had received a desired positive answer.
But perhaps what was even more unexpected is what I wrote, I continued in my journal:
Some time later, after I sobbed even more, God told me:
Now you are ready to send her the letter.
My journal continues:
He let me know that [the other lady] was crying and I asked him to comfort her and asked him to let her know that I loved her.
That moment was unlike anything I had ever experienced. Truly a spiritual connection.
From that moment on, the conversation that Mary and I were having changed. We arrived home late that night, and stayed up while I wrote another letter.
It took me several hours to compose that letter. I wrote in my journal that: “[t]he letter was from my heart” and that I had to work “through fear of rejection.”
On the heels of sending that lady an apology, which was absolutely genuine, I wrote another letter. I did not negate my apology, but I did offer an explanation. I think sending that letter was one of the, pardon the expression, ballsiest things I had ever done.
It was a gutsy move, one that some say only fools do. But I did it.
Not what I was expecting. I am not sure I was in a tailspin, but the reaction was as offputting to me, as my ballsy letter probably came across.
God said he was testing me. Was that part of the test? I am not certain.
Later in the week, during my interactive prayer time, I recorded the following from the Divine:
Your heart is in the right place. Seek me always, always my ways. Do not be afraid, or fear to do my will. I will deliver you. I will protect you. You will prevail as you seek me and my path. My path is holy, righteous, perfect – perfect in all counsel, perfect in wisdom, perfect in application.
Considering the week that I was experiencing, I was pleased to hear those encouraging words. The interactive prayer navigated through thoughts about family, and then the Divine said:
Life is worth living. Live life. Enjoy life. Not in the future, but now. Enjoy now, every moment, the moment will never return, and in that moment is a unique eternal moment, unique to all history, to all future to life. Life is precious, a gift. Live life.
You know, no matter what happens, life is worth living. Sometimes we look at the world, see its disarray, its chaos, and think to ourselves that life is not worth living. But life is worth living. It is worth living because if we don’t live, joy, goodness, beauty, cannot be seen, because they are only seen when life is lived.
That is the paradox. That paradox took me years to understand. That paradox is what I am trying to live, to enjoy the now, to enjoy every moment, because moments will not return. That is what makes life a precious gift.
That truth about life makes it interesting that in that same interactive prayer the Divine encouraged me to do the following:
Love all people, not just seekers and wisers, but the foolish and fool-hearty, all need love, even the fool can become wise.
Make your home one of peace, righteousness, holiness, seek understanding of things unholy and unrighteousness, teach your house the difference, forgive their mistakes, their mis-steps, allow the transgressor to come home.
Show joy, not despair; joy trusts, despair does not. Seek holiness, seek wholeness, seek completion, seek union with me, with your family, with your friends, with your enemies, and life will unfold in glorious ways, glorious to my name, Yeshua’s name, to the glory of the church. Amen.
For the remainder of 2013, then into 2014, and through 2015, I struggled to grasp those simple things.
But here I am, I was just talking to my wife Mary about music. That I really enjoy the music of my youth, and because I enjoy that music so much, it makes it difficult to open up to new music.
I likened my difficulty of opening up to new music to the lineage of the Ford Mustang. Some guys only like a specific era of Mustang, and boldly claim “That’s when the Mustang was a Mustang.”
Candidly, what the hell does that statement even mean? Candidly, the Mustang II was a Mustang, and let’s be candid, without the Mustang II, the Mustang line probably would not have survived.
Yeah, yeah, I know certain eras and runs have more horsepower, elegance, style, and/or performance. Big deal. They are all Mustangs. Each era, each edition should be appreciated for what it is, even the Mustang II.
Point is I was shot down. Shot down in flames.
Those flames burned me. Made me angry. The ensuing months and years were difficult.
It is now 2016. I am enjoying my music, I am learning to appreciate all eras of Mustangs. I am learning to enjoy new music.
But I am still looking for God’s fulfillment on the leading he has given. More of which I will discuss in future Installments.
Blessings and Shalom