The other day I received the following email from my sister-in-law:
I have always wanted to have the chance, now that you are home, to sit down
and really have a talk with you (heart to heart). I really have felt a
connection with you in the past and have felt your love and support during
some difficult times in my life. However I never seem to find the right
time. I don't know how you would feel about talking about your feelings and
challenges in a room full of family members. It seems that when ever I come
someone else does too. The last thing that I would want to do is put you in
an uncomfortable position. I would also hate for you to interpret my silence
as a lack of care or concern. So many times I have wanted to wrap my arms
around you and tell you how much I love you but I didn't want that to be
weird. So I have decided to talk to you this way until you let me know how
you feel about the other.
How are you doing? Sometime it seems that I can see the pain in your eyes.
What can I do to help? Is this something that you want to talk about or
not? Please let me know how you feel. I am alway here for you. I love you.
Here was my response:
I wouldn't mind having that heart-to-heart myself. In all honesty, I don't mind talking about it in front of everybody. Obviously, I like the one on ones, but if you're ever here on your own and Mom and [my sister] are here, too, I certainly don't mind talking about it in front of them. Mom's already gotten quite an earful. :-)
I've never interpreted your silence as a lack of care or concern. I know how very much you love and care about me. And don't ever feel that it would be weird for you to hug me and tell me how much you love me. I would welcome it.
I wish I could tell you that all is well as far as this issue is concerned. I wish I could tell you that my testimony is so strong that I can overcome my challenges and stay true to the Church. I wish I could tell you the answers are so black and white that there is no question as to what my choice should be. But I can't do that. I'm literally torn between two entities I love very much (Jonah and the Church), and even though I wish my faith were strong enough to stick with the path I've tried ardently to travel these last few years, I don't know that it is.
Jonah has been absolutely great through all this. He has been very patient and understanding and has never pushed me to make a choice either way. The other day I wrote him an email telling him how hard this is and he thought I was saying I couldn't be with him and told me if I needed to choose the Church to be happy, then that's what I should do. But that devastated me (and him as well). I have never been so sad in a long time as I was when I thought I would lose him. And I was upset because I just didn't know how much more of this I could take or what God expected of me anymore.
I love the Church. I really do. And it would make me sad to leave it. I don't want that. I'm still active. I still try to do those things I'm supposed to do. But it just doesn't seem to be enough, and I don't understand why. In many ways I feel like I'm a good Christian, but that I'm failing as a Mormon.
All I know is that I really love Jonah and he loves me more than anybody has in any romantic relationship I've been in. This relationship is one of the most satisfying ones I've ever had, and if it's wrong, it really confuses me because it feels right. This is a gut-wrenching, soul sucking decision I have to make, and I wish I could tell you I'm going to "choose the right," but I just don't know that I am. I'm tired of pretending I'm something I'm not. I'm tired of trying to live my life a certain way and not getting results. I'm tired of being alone and having nothing to look foward to but being alone. I've finally found somebody I can see myself being very happy with, and yet God tells me I can't? It just doesn't make sense anymore.
I wish there was something you could do to help. I don't know what that is. I don't even know the answers. How can expect people who've never walked in these shoes to fully be able to help? All I ask is that you love and support me. If I make what you deem to be a "wrong decision," I hope you'll still always love and support me, whether you agree with me or not.
It's a heavy burden I carry in this life. I don't know why it's mine, but it is, and I feel I've done the best I could. I feel I've tried to live the best, most Christian life I've been capable of living. If that's not enough, I just don't know what else to do.
I'm sorry if these aren't the words you want to hear, but it's what I currently feel.
I love you very much and thank you for your continual prayers and support.
I also have an email I'd like to post from my friend, Gayle, who wrote the op-ed piece in this post, but I'm waiting to hear from her before I do that.
That's all. Church was good today, but frustrating at the same time.