Sunday, April 08, 2012
Back In Utah...And Not So Content
After being unemployed for three months, I now have two acting jobs in Utah that will keep me employed at least for the next five months. For a working actor this is truly a gift. On top of that, the first show I am doing is a show I have wanted to do for years, and I have a really fun featured role in it. Normally when I am acting I am so excited and happy and fulfilled, and when I'm unemployed I tend to get depressed; so when an acting job comes up, I am normally very happy. And I am. But I'm not.
These past three months with Jonah have, unfortunately, been the longest consecutive amount of time we have spent together since our commitment ceremony. My job usually takes me away from him for months at a time with only a couple of days here and there to spend time together. It hasn't been enough, so although being unemployed kind of sucked financially (although thank goodness for unemployment benefits, otherwise I would likely be broke), these three months with Jonah have been WONDERFUL relationship-wise.
There are things Jonah does that drive me crazy, and I know there are things I do that that drive him nuts (and perhaps I'll talk about those things in a future post), but I love him so incredibly much. It sounds cliche, but I feel like he is truly a part of me.
As I was preparing to leave him again, I was thinking about what the LDS teaches about my relationship with Jonah; that it is a sin and that the two of us will not be together as a united couple in the afterlife, and that thought made me so very sad. Is it true? I do not pretend to know, but what I do know is this: Jonah is one of the best people who has ever been a part of my life, and I love him so very much. My life would be empty without him. My life in many ways was empty before I met and fell in love with him. He is a part of me. To lose him would be incredibly unfair.
I realized these past three months our house has finally started to feel like my home instead of Utah. Utah has always been my home no matter where else I've lived, and I always refer to it as home. And it always will feel like home. But my real home is with Jonah. My life is with Jonah, and I'd like to do more to make it be more permanent. My acting career does make that tough, but it's an ideal I'd like to shoot for.
And so here I am back in Utah and feeling sad that I have to be away from the guy I love for almost half a year. In two words, it sucks.
My mom is thrilled I'm back, and I think my siblings are equally excited that I am back. My brother hugged me today and said he was grateful the "golden child" was back (so named because my mom, who has dementia, seems to respond to me the best when we're trying to get her to do something she doesn't want to do).
But just in the last two days alone I have been reminded once again how wearing it can be to deal with Mom's dementia. And we all agree she's getting worse. Just today, she didn't seem to have any recollection that I was excommunicated, for example, which seems to be a pretty big thing to forget. She's also forgotten how to arm and disarm her security system, something she did fine before I left at Christmas-time. And, of course, the most frustrating part is dealing with someone who doesn't think they are impaired in any way. It can be exhausting. But I know it has been exhausting for my siblings as well, so it's good to be back to take some of the load until I go back home again.
Anyway, I start rehearsals for my show tomorrow. I'm sure once I get into the groove of working and acting again I will forget how sad I feel right now.
Perhaps one of my saddest moments was waking up half-asleep this morning and not understanding where Jonah was or trying to find my cat who normally sleeps by my side and then being conscious of the fact that my double bed is smaller than the king-size bed Jonah and I share, and then realizing the reason why: I was not home with him at all, but was in my room in my mom's house. Jonah said he had a similar moment coming home from work last night and wondering where my car was and then realizing that I had left to go back to Utah.
Saying goodbye to Jonah and our three cats (who truly feel like my children) was especially tough. At least Jonah understands where I'm going and when I'll be back. Those poor cats have no idea why I leave, why I'm gone for so long, and when or if I'm returning. Our oldest cat, Trooper, who adores me, always seems to know when I'm leaving even before I've started packing and gets very sullen and sad and acts out a lot after I've gone. I truly fear I'm emotionally traumatizing her.
Today was my nephew's baby blessing. I had never seen him in the flesh, so that was nice. I was not prepared for how much it hurt not to be able to join my brother, brothers-in-law, and nephews in blessing him. I didn't even think about it until it happened. Everyone got up to participate in the ordinance, and I just sat there feeling sad. That's when Mom, who forgot I'd been excommunicated, asked me why I wasn't up there.
And, yes, I am fully aware my own choices have precluded me from having any priesthood authority and have barred me from participating in any priesthood functions. But I sat there watching my brother-in-law bless his son (which was a very beautiful blessing, by the way) and wondering why my relationship with my husband makes me so unworthy to not be able to take part in the blessing of my nephew. Why is the fact that I have a sexual relationship with my spouse so abominable? I fail to understand, and I still have yet to hear a satisfactory answer that rings true to my heart.
And then after the blessing and the sacrament, people started bearing their testimonies, and again I felt more sadness that I could not participate and wondered how it is that someone who has so much to share and who does have a testimony of so many things that might be of edification to others or might help them feel the spirit can be denied simply because the love he has for someone of the same sex is deemed to be sinful. I fail to understand that as well.
I admit that with the feelings of sadness, there was just a tinge of anger, a feeling I do not experience very often regarding my lack of participation in the Church. And yet, there it was, rearing its ugly head.
My brother-in-law gave a lovely testimony about how he never thought he would be a father; how five years ago he was happy, but had resigned himself to the fact that he wouldn't have children in this life. And then he met my sister, and now he has two, and one can tell just how grateful and happy he is to have these two precious children.
He talked about how his daughter was named after his first wife, who died, and who my sister wanted to honor (which tells you just what kind of person my sister is) and how his son was named after my father. My brother-in-law didn't care for my father's name, and originally my sister wanted to name the baby Scott because she liked the name. The more she thought about it, however, the more she realized she didn't want to name her child Scott simply because she liked it; she wanted it to mean something, and when she told my brother-in-law this, he knew that they needed to name him after my dad, and he talked about how his two kids are named after people who have passed on, but that he feels like they are present protecting his family. I feel he is right.
Then a bunch of kids got up and bore their "by rote" testimonies. Cute, but it also made me wonder, "Do these kids really know the things they are saying are true, or are they just spouting what they've heard and been taught?" I don't think it's bad for kids to do that; I think it helps them develop a testimony. But I also think some of these kids don't yet have the maturity to really know what they say they know is true is true. I think there are some that do, but others I think are just making rote statements.
One guy who I'm am 99% sure was gay - at least he made my gaydar go off big time - talked about the atonement, and I liked what he had to say, but I also was thinking, "If that guy is indeed gay, he's got a road ahead of him."
On lady talked about how great the plan of happiness was, and I caught myself thinking perhaps with that residual anger, "Yeah, the plan of happiness the Church teaches is great if you don't happen to be gay." I always remember how the "plan of happiness" used to make me feel so left out and alone. I feel pretty happy now, though, but according to the Church, I have deviated from the plan.
As I held my newborn nephew as the testimonies continued, I was watching him sleep, and I felt this feeling of how great it would be to have a child. Jonah and I agreed not to have children when we got together (mostly because I didn't want them), but with the births of my nieces and nephew and even the love I've developed for my cats, who I also didn't want at first, my attitudes are softening somewhat on that front. I've always been kind of selfish, and I think having a child makes you be less selfish, and I also think it's one of the things that you can do in life that helps you understand God more. Anyway, I've been thinking about it. I know Jonah would like to.
My sister talked about how grateful she is to have her children; that even when they leave her feeling frazzled, they are so worth it.
My other sister, who used to belong to that ward, talked about how much she missed it, and how she missed the youth, something that's missing from her somewhat geriatric ward.
An older gentleman kiddingly chided her, though, saying, "What's wrong with being 70?" He gave a very moving testimony on the meaning of Easter, a point that had been earlier stressed by a kid bearing his testimony saying Easter wasn't just about the candy. I wish I could remember the older man's words. Maybe it doesn't matter. Maybe it was just the spirit I felt as he said those words that helped remind me what my Savior has done and continues to do for me through His atonement; that it is a gift that is offered to and affects everyone in positive ways whether they realize it or not.
It was a good meeting, but there were moments of sadness. No regrets, though. I still maintain that I am where I am supposed to be and know that I am happier with Jonah than I was without him. My only regret, really, is that I'm not with him right now.
I am enormously blessed. Jonah and I are enormously blessed. I am grateful he is in my life and I know he feels the same about me. I am already counting the days until I can be with him again.