Being married to a wonderful man that does not share my beliefs can at times be challenging.
I now understand that my Latter-Day Sisters who have been sealed in the temple also face challenges which are different but still they are challenges that causes one to reflect and at times doubt "is this really worth it."
I recently had a Latter-Day Saint friend who had been sealed in the temple share her frustrations with me. As I listened I could see where our frustrations paralleled but as she was wrapping up she looked at me and made this profound comment, "He should know better! He was raised with the same teachings as you and me."
As her words shot through me I remember thinking how grateful I was for my challenges with a spouse that did not share my beliefs.
One of the challenges I face is that members keep my husband at a distance as though he were a leper. I sense that they are not sure what to say to him.
After all it is very challenging to leave the safety of your bubble and those your share it with.
I have found that I am excluded from many activities and many a Sunday I am sitting by myself observing the interactions of husbands and wives their children and their friends.
A line from my brother's last letter runs through my mind,
"They have hugs for each other but none for me."
Then another comment made by a sweet sweet woman my husband and I met in Alaska.
"You can be in a roomful of people and still be alone."
I know the truthfulness of those words.
Another place I'm alone is in our holy temple; but oh how I love being in the temple because there I'm not alone because I feel my family all around me. I must admit I do miss not having my spouse lovingly look at me and winking or smiling when eye contact is made. What a very special moment for husband and wife. There again the temple is about couples and families. But there was one very special time I was allowed to be a "couple."
I was in the Ogden temple many years ago. I was sitting in the waiting area listening to the beautiful organ music when I was approached and asked if I would like to be a witness. I smiled and thanked him and explained that "I am kinda a single sister." He just smiled and pointing to an elderly man related to me that "He is a widower and he would love to have you share with him the witness experience." I was honored and humbled as I and this sweet sweet grand-pa knelt at that holy alter.
It was an experience that I will forever cherish. That day in the temple was very special indeed.
This past week
I was in our Twin Falls temple
participating in sealings.
Because it is just me I try and "crash" a ward sealing session.
This time around I was with the Delco Ward and I found myself sitting in the sealing room
with four couples. I was amused as the sisters whispered to each other
and kept giving me curious glances.
I was sticking out like a flaming red sore thumb.
To alleviate their wonder I finally smiled and shared with them that I was from the Filer Stake and was just crashing their sealing night.
Bless her heart, one sister got up and came and sat by me.
I don't think she realized how much that small gesture meant to me.
But one day she will.
The sealer was gracious and wonderful.
As the session began I watched as each couple was called and then when there was a daughter involved this gentle man would look at me
and quietly ask,
"Sister Bishop, would you be our daughter?"
I told him I would be honored.
As I knelt I was taken back to that wonderful day in 98 when I was sealed
to my beloved mom and poppers.
I then returned to my seat as the session continued.
A few minutes later I again was asked if I would mind being a daughter.
As I stood this time the Spirit whispered, "Always a Daughter."
I was perplexed but then the teaching began.
I found my mind filling with all the various titles women may or may not carry,
Mother, Sister, Aunt, Grand-ma, Friend, Mentor, Wife.
I then found my heart aching because many of those titles
I have not had the privilege of holding and the tears begin to flow.
As I was kneeling I felt that familiar ache begin to stab my heart
and once again the Spirit whispered, "Always a Daughter."
Then this overpowering surge of love started flowing through me and I felt all the love that had been poured upon my head starting with my beloved poppers, my adopted father and the love of ancestors I have yet to meet and my husband.
I was tearing up as I headed back to my seat due to the power of the emotions that hit me and as I sat down I felt another surge of love with the thought, "I know you have been denied some of the titles that your heart has desired but never forget you will Always be a Daughter to ME!!"
Once again a loving Father in Heaven when He seen His little girl struggling reached out to let her know that even when she is sitting in a meeting all alone and may not receive the invites to the functions, she is never alone because she will always be a daughter and that makes her so very very special and precious.