Friday, April 22, 2016

for all eternity

Two weeks ago, on April 8th of the year 2016, I married my best friend, Ben Godfrey, in the house of the Lord in Sacramento, California.
Getting married happened really fast when one considers how much time is spent preparing to get married. But I had so many thoughts and feelings that I felt impressed to share with those of you who may read this, for whatever reason you may pull from it.

I got about 2.5 hours of sleep Wednesday night. We drove from Rexburg to Auburn, leaving at about 6 and losing an hour due to poor navigating (we backtracked from Pocatello about 3/4 of the way to Idaho Falls). I drove home to sleep in my own bed for an hour before zombie-driving to Auburn to get our marriage license barely on time. I got my nails done, hung out with my parents, ate yummy food, had a lovely "bachelorette party" with my sister and cousin who are 8-ish years older than me and my cousin's 8-year-old daughter, consisting of Cheesecake Factory and buying a bra (WOOOO!! It actually was fun, I think, I was really really really tired). Then I crashed at home one last time before the big day.

I woke up that morning pretty chill. I was still exhausted, but life just seemed weird but pretty acceptable. As the morning progressed I got some nervousness in me. I wrote in my journal about how stressed and worried and emotional I felt about the fact that I had given so much of the life I'd known and loved in the previous 7 months and I was about to give up the rest that I had. There's a musical number from Fiddler on the Roof to describe some of what I was feeling. Man, I knew I loved Ben, and it wasn't that I was feeling cold feet, I was just really overwhelmed and felt incredibly small and young and naive and crazy for doing what I was doing that day. And I was exhausted! I ate some Jamba Juice oatmeal while I got my hair done, and then went on to makeup, all with a smile on my face because it was what I needed to do. I sure felt beautiful, and again, I did not doubt what I was doing, but it was not as blissful as I had expected it to be.

That is, until we did the "first look" pictures with my dad and with Ben. Once Ben was there, the nerves mostly faded, and it was more like "OH MY GOSH WE ARE GONNA BE LATE FOR OUR SEALING EVEN THOUGH WE WERE LITERALLY JUST RUNNING AHEAD OF SCHEDULE BEFORE THIS". I changed out of my wedding dress, and Ben and I rode backseat in the minivan up to the temple. I power-walked as best I could in my 6" gold glittery heels into the temple and to that front desk and as soon as I was there in that dedicated building everything fell into place.

I was privileged to wear my mom's wedding dress for the temple sealing. When I got to the bride's room, the lovely temple worker assigned to help me out was fawning over me, telling me how beautiful I was as I'm sure they love to do for every little bride. They brought me and Ben into the celestial room while we waited for our family that was there to attend the sealing came in. As soon as I walked into that room, I was astounded. This was the most gorgeous, beautiful, incredible room I'd ever seen. The way the late-afternoon light filtered in through the one window and into the crystals of the chandelier, the red of the wood on the furniture, everything was so incredible and so perfect. It was then that I felt the peace that I had been waiting for. The spirit came so strongly to me, and though my head was beginning to hurt and I really kind of wanted a nap, I knew I was exactly where I needed to be. I knew without a doubt that Heavenly Father was so proud of me and Ben for living our lives the way we did so He could bring us together. I cried. It was great.

I won't say much about the sealing because it is so sacred but it was an incredible feeling to see that room full of people I loved and grew up with. At the same time, my heart yearned for the faces I knew were missing and I really, truly, wished could be there. These are the sacrifices you have to make to be sealed in the temple. You know it is what you need, you know it is perfect, and yet it is so hard to love people so much and not be able to see them there in that room with you. My mother, a convert, was a perfect example because I know it was such a difficult sacrifice for her to make. Though it may have been difficult in this respect, I wouldn't have had my wedding anywhere else. It was seriously perfect. I cried. Mom cried. Nancy cried. Other people cried. It was great.

EDIT: I forgot to mention something! When the sealing was over and I came back into the bride's room to change into my wedding dress, there was a woman there who had a family member taking out their endowments. Or was she taking out hers? The details are confusing to me. Regardless, she and her husband moved in next door out here in Rexburg. I tried (unsucessfuly) to help her get her mattress up the stairs and they invited me in for dinner when my key didn't work in my apartment door while Ben was at work. Small world! So crazy.

Anyway, to sum up the rest of the evening, we took pictures and I kept sinking backwards into the moist ground outside the temple because of my dang shoes. My head hurt, and I felt ill. The second photographer gave me a granola bar. We had a really awesome ring ceremony planned but we just shared how much we loved each other and how grateful we were to be sealed in the temple. Dinner followed, and I couldn't breathe in my dress, so I ended up the most casual person there. We left early. I was grateful that I had planned the reception for the next day.

Brief note: "the reception was excellent" (insert a wink at you, Dad, Mom, and Ben). Sorry, inside joke. But it seriously was. So many lovely people showed up, a couple were sorely missed, but the cake was delicious, Trey was the "master of fade-outs" until the laptop died (saving Ben and me from 2.5 more minutes of our awkward slow-dance), band nerds came, SO MUCH HELP FROM FAMILY that I cannot thank them for enough, and just so much perfectness in one night. I couldn't have asked for a better reception.

Unfortunately, a day into our honeymoon, depression hit. I had gone so fast for the last 7 months, my life had gone through so much change, and now I was married to someone that I've known for 1.5 years and still think of as a stranger. That's right, I don't even know who Ben really is. I mean, I have some ideas, but I've known him for such a short blip in an eternal scheme of things. The point is, I think, to choose your love, love your choice, and spend the rest of your lives getting closer and closer to figuring out who the other person is. We have an eternity to do so, and I'm glad, cause this will take a while. 

I love Ben so much. Getting married was wild and a roller-coaster ride and it's only just barely started. He's my best friend, my companion, and I wouldn't have anyone else. Ever. I'm so grateful that my life led me his way, and that he never could get rid of me. He's such an incredible, sweet, loving person and I'm eternally grateful for April 8th, 2016, when we were sealed for time and all eternity in the house of the Lord.

My awesome sister took my wedding photos. She's seriously awesome.