I’m home from the hospital, feeling useless. The doctor said the surgery would take four hours plus, and there was absolutely nothing helpful I could do for her, so I could either sit in their waiting room, or . . . just . . . go home. And it didn’t matter to them either way. They’re ten minutes away–they’ll call me. It’s a routine surgery, nothing to worry about. Everything about the demeanor of all the doctors and nurses inspires confidence, and she’s at a hospital I know really well–really well–where I’ve never gotten anything less than absolutely top-of-the-line care. My own medical condition is one with a very high mortality because it’s difficult to diagnose; it often goes misdiagnosed ’til it’s too late. The docs there at Timpanogas nailed it down in about twelve hours. So there’s absolutely nothing for me to worry about. She’s going to be fine.
So, of course, I’m a complete basket case.
We met in a choir at BYU. She was the beautiful tall blonde girl I couldn’t bring myself to ask out for months and months, because, get real, there was no way. A girl like that? Not a chance for a schlubb like me. But I was the tallest bass, and she was the tallest soprano, and we got to sit together. Talked books, Heinlein and history, and music (Me, Gentle Giant, her, Camel), and movies. And I had a girlfriend, it wasn’t like I didn’t have a girlfriend, until a friend one day pointed out that everytime she saw me with Girlfriend, I looked miserable, and then when I went to choir, I was happy before and after, and maybe that meant something maybe I should do something about. Hmm.
Dec. 27, 1980, we got married in the Oakland Temple.
To quote Peter Cook in The Princess Bride, ‘mawwiadge . . . is what bwings us togever today.” But that’s kind of right. I’ve been thinking about Mormon theology: marriage is what bwings us together. It’s the one main thing, central to our theology. See, God wants us, ultimately, to love everyone, every person on earth, to love, unconditionally, as He loves. He also knows we’re not up to it. We’re selfish and foolish and greedy and mean-spirited, we’re creatures of self-defeating habit, we’re not really up to much, honestly. That’s the great Moses paradox.
Moses Chapter One, Pearl of Great Price. Moses gets this great vision of Everything. I think what he saw was an even more awesome version of the show at the Hansen Planetarium, where you see stars being created and destroyed, and comets and asteroids and black holes and it’s incredible. And you feel so puny. And that’s what happened to Moses too: he sees this vision, and he goes “I know that Man is nothing, which thing I had never supposed.” (verse 10).
I love that. Moses is a guy, he’s typically arrogant. ‘I thought we were it, the shiz, the bomb. We’re the top, we’re the tower of pisa, we’re the top, we’re the Mona Lisa. We’re Botticelli, we’re Keats, we’re Shelley, we’re . . . ovaltine!’ (If you’ll forgive scriptural exegesis from Cole Porter). ‘But now I’ve seen your big light show, God, and We. Are. Nothing.’
And then God says something even more amazing. “For behold, this is my work and my glory—to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.” God’s mission statement. You are, in fact, everything you said before. You’re weak, puny, foolish. Ya ain’t the top of nuttin’, pal. You’re also the point. You’re why it’s all there.
We’re nothing. We’re everything. And we can’t get our heads around the immensity of it. You know that quote, Marianne Williamson actually, though often attributed to Nelson Mandela (he quoted it at his inauguration) “Our greatest fear is not that we are inadequate, but that we are powerful beyond measure.”
We had to figure it out somehow, love and forgiveness and the plenitude of pure joy. We had to have a starting point. So God gave us love. He gave us marriage.
And me and her, we’ve had our squabbles. We’ve screwed up. We’ve had our selfishnesses and foolishnesses and insufferable moments of pure idiocy. But when I’ve been sick, she’s been my rock. She’s basically been my rock through everything. And I’ve got things I’m not good at, and she’s got things she’s great at, and vice-versa. And we’re still together and that ain’t never changing.
She’s funny. She makes me laugh, a lot, often. I can bring the funny too. In our family, you get props for funny–it’s the currency of our shared world, comedy.
And sometimes in the morning, or maybe sitting on the sofa while I sit in my chair, watching TV together, or waiting for her to pick me up, and seeing our car coming around the corner, knowing she’s in it, or maybe sometimes just hearing her voice on the phone. . . she takes my breath away. I can’t breathe, I love her so much.
She’s out. The doctor called, it went perfectly normally, everything’s fine. She looks exhausted. She looks wonderful.