Saturday, March 30, 2013
Is there still room to hope?
It's been a confusing few weeks... I have not been able to lose the thought of the "what ifs" about my life. In particular, I've been struggling with the notion bouncing around in my head that "what if all that I believe to know to be true really isn't, then what?" I consider doubting a way of confirming my faith. I liked the line in "Life of Pi" that portrayed that principle of belief so beautifully. And I consider this bout with doubt as something of that nature.
I went to the temple this week, more out of commitment and obligation, but still out of a sense of contemplation and worship. In the temple I felt a void come over me, but I felt promptings to reach out to others in need, to be kinder to family and extended family, to write grateful thoughts to those I've neglected, and to reach out in love by not being afraid to touch. But, despite that inspriation, I was consumed with the thought of what if all of this plan, of the eternities, of "families forever" of "celestial rooms" filled with loved ones, etc. all were just a nice made-up wishful fantasy? What if? And how does that affect my life choices today, here and now, as a gay man in a mixed-oriented, sometimes difficult marriage? What if the Plan of Happiness that I have come to love and believe in so much really isn't the Truth at all? What if it's all a delusion? Then what? These thoughts have consumed me and my questioning to the Lord have come up empty. All I get is to stop worrying about it and go be kind and loving and thoughtful of others. What a cop-out answer!
My biggest concern seems to be centered around the idea that if this isn't true, then nothing is, and if nothing is, then what's the point? Where's the purpose in life? What's the deal with even trying to be kind and loving and thoughtful? Where is the grand scope and meaning? If all that I have taught others through decades of teaching the Plan is a lie, then everything is a lie. So where does that leave me? If this is it, then why try to stay married? Why not give it all up, throw away the shackles of belief, the burden of family, the lies of relationships, the hiding of self, and run off into the sunset with a beautiful boyfriend, imaginary or otherwise? Why fight the good fight? Why even try?
I woke up this morning early and went outside and took in the beautiful sunrise and the sense of newness around me, where the apricot trees are nearly swelling with the anticipation of "popcorn popping" and the hillside busrting with small signs of wanting so hard to turn green with new life beginning under winter-smashed, snow-burned grass. And I was overcome with a feeling of joy in life, in spring, in renewal, in the cycle of life, in rebirth, and was overcome with the sense of an Easter Sunday maybe 15 years ago where I found myself looking out over a Tuscan hillside, bursting with green new life, catching those warm rays on a crisp, clear Italian morning. I remember so vividly the sensations of that morning that overwhelmed me with the beauty and magic of being there in that place, on that deck, leaning on that railing, knowing that God knew me, understood me and loved me. And this morning, it was like I was instantly transported to that magical Tuscan spot in my mind... and my soul was touched to feel that the Savior is still my Savior and the blessings of the atonement personally in my life are still undeniably real to me, enough to keep hanging on with this path I'm on, and hoping in the future.
My "if not this, then what?" question is still hanging over me, and my doubts are still checking my faith, and I can't help but think again of the "Life of Pi" , that the "great story of God" is better to believe than the alternate story of emptiness. Is this foolish to still believe? Is there really no truth? And if the Gospel is a fantasy, then what fills the void? Is there still room to hope?