I don’t know if you have noticed lately, but the world is a bit of a mess. There is much anxiety and unhappiness. The rain forests are burning, there are wars and rumors of wars. Killing is commonplace. The stock market casino resembles a rollercoaster while the economy is either terrific or headed for disaster – depending on who you listen to. People beat each other in the streets in the name of tolerance. The political class has grown so toxic and self-interested that the citizenry they are elected to represent are merely an afterthought. What was once considered “beyond the pale” is now embraced and promoted. People are living in squalor, as the world becomes more toxic – both literally and figuratively..
Sometimes it does feel that the “end of days” must already be here…
But last weekend, I had the privilege of entering a lovely, sacred temple and tuning out the cacophony that the world has to offer, in exchange for a respite of serenity and gentleness.
And the world was not invited.
I watched as my son took his beautiful sweetheart by the hand across a sacred altar. Their eyes gleamed with excitement and their faces shown with goodness and purity. Such good kids. Such strong kids. (They’re still kids to me.) So right for each other. So deserving of each other. This was happening because they both made good choices that led them to this moment and place.
I listened to the words of the covenant as they pledged themselves to each other – forever. It is an idea that the world does not understand. The vast majority marriages in the world begin with a pre-assigned ending of “’til death do us part.” Yet most don’t even make it to that fatalistic expiration date, if they get married at all. The adversary’s efforts to redefine and diminish the very importance of marriage have been quite successful. Fewer marriages, later marriages, fewer kids, etc. He’s gotta be pleased with himself. But he was not welcome at this wedding.
I witnessed what the Lord explained, that “…whatsoever you seal on earth shall be sealed in heaven; and whatsoever you bind on earth, in my name and by my word, saith the Lord, it shall be eternally bound in the heavens;” (D&C 132:46)
I watched as a new – eternal – family was created. An act of brilliant simplicity that surpasses the world’s understanding of what is truly romantic. No Hollywood script or cheesy romance novel could ever approach the romantic heights of a love that truly outlasts mortality. “Happily ever after” is not merely a cute construct for fairy tales, it is the goal, the real and attainable possibility of endless love.
I cried and grinned as I watched them lean across the holy altar and give each other a tender kiss. Yeah, I’m a softie. This is the fourth time we have been privileged to watch one of our children leave our nest to create a new one. As it should be since the beginning of time: “Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.” (Gen 2:24)
I looked over at my sweet wife. I nonchalantly wiped the tears from my eyes as she dabbed hers. 33 years ago she took an inexplicable leap of faith and gave herself to me for her forever. So far, so good.
Our little family of two grew to seven. Now, with the addition of a new bonus-daughter, two other bonus-daughters, one bonus-son, and three grandchildren, our little family has doubled to 14. Yes, we have multiplied by a factor of 2. Ten of them were with us in the sealing room – all of them that were of an age where they could be.
I looked around the room and saw happiness and support in the faces of family and friends who came, some from great distances, to be a part of this event. Many new faces, many new instant-relatives. All of our new bonus-daughter’s family showed us nothing but kindness and love, before, during, and since the events that day.
I felt God’s love. He loves us enough to let us wade through this world with a companion that is ours forever – if we do it His way. How kind. How generous. How hopeful.
The world was not invited. It could wait outside. It wouldn’t understand, anyway.
Congratulations Dan & Kailey. We love you.
Photo cred: Fabiana Beatriz Photography. (Should I mention that she threatened to kill me if I didn’t return her scissors? They weren’t even fancy scissors – just a pair of cheap-os.)