Putting God First Does Not Equal Loving Him More Than Your Spouse (imo) and how ASL makes that clear

I remember telling my new husband that love is not a pie.  I told him this because there is always a worry with a widow that her heart is never wholy yours.

Love is not a finite resource that is doled out and diminished, like a cherry pie. It is an infinite resource that actually grows when given/used.  You discover this when you have your second child…  or your next husband.

There is no one who understands this concept more than God, our Heavenly Father.  And I have never seen a scripture that says “love God more than your wife.”  In fact, one could argue, “as Christ loved the church,” is an argument for loving your wife as much as God. 

I think where people get confused is the phrase “Putting God First.”  This was not meant to put God before your wife in your heart.  While God is a jealous God, if you think of the logical gospel context (God is nothing if not logical) he would never object to you having as much love for a person as he has for you, and let’s face it, you’ll not ever get to that point in mortality. Even Christ shrunk from that responsibility.

When you “see” the scriptures or talks from modern day seers and revelators in ASL (American sign language ), you can see it is directional.  It is simple.  It is clear in a language that values clarity about e all else.

Putting God First is directional, not emotional.  God is your navigator.  Only he knows where you want to end up.  Your spouse is as clueless about the final destination as you are.  To follow your spouse or even ask them to lead you if you were not positive they were following the map of the only navigator available to you would be folly.  It would be as senseless in real life as it is spiritually.  That is, in fact,  how you can testify of the truth of it.  There is always a real world parallel to spiritual concepts. This is why parables are so effective.

I admit that I cringe a little when people say they put God first in their lives. The way I feel about it is my earth father would never expect me to put him before my husband,  but in matters of life experience, he would necessarily expect me to defer to his earthly knowledge over my husbands.

In my opinion the gospel is not hypocritical. Concepts and precepts are applicable universally. If you wouldn’t put your earthly father before your spouse on earth, then God could not expect you to do it while heaven bound.

The phrase “I put God first in my marriage ” is too confusing to laymen, and leads  communication problems in marriage itself between genders already prone to miscommunication.  I think we need to defer to the deaf on this matter.  “God above others. ”  And it makes sense this way.  It is simple, clear and does not put your spouse below you in order of importance,  in fact it puts you with them, following God in the direction you should both be ne nessarily be headed if following God: upward and onward.

lights

Lights were a big theme in my marriage to Sam. Yesterday I took the lights in our room down. It made me emotional and moody the entire day. I tried to explain why to a friend, but Sam said it better:

MagicDoor

Is this not a reason for tears if I shed them? Whether for joy, grief or just pure emotion, the tears are there because the memory is beautiful.

Grumbles

I don’t think you can appreciate how obvious Sam’s feelings were because he not only would grumble, not knowing who was around or in ear shot, but he would type out his grumbles when he was at the computer and just not hit enter. It didn’t matter, however, because his screen was so huge everyone in the room could read it. I had to force myself to not read or to try to pretend as if I hadn’t seen. Sam and his thoughts were literally public almost always. He was always really interested in truth and honesty, but he knew that it was important to not take everything people said at face value.  Sam was a scary guy sometimes.  He had that wandering eye that wasn’t quite able to focus on you when he looked at you, besides him being blind.  Being deaf just made it harder because he would grumble so much louder than he realized.  Everyone knew what he thought.  It was hard then at first to accept him at his word when he said things that did not agree with his grumbles. It became easier because his actions were so clear that they started to speak louder than his grumbles.  In the end, it was clear that what goes on inside our heads, those negative thoughts, all came out with Sam.  That was only clear because Sam’s actions: the little gifts of donuts for the kids, candies, flowers for me, going to church with us, going to scouts and young women-sitting in the foyer just to be with us, just for us to be family (as normal as we could be), being cheerful even when he was so tired of his disabilities… All those actions and many more made Sam’s Grumbles something we just ignored as an external version of what normally happens inside.  We still love him for all the little things he used to do for us.  Now we try to do things we think he would have volunteered for: Feeding families in need, working at the church, helping friends that helped us.

Letters To My Hobbit – 12

Sam,

I cry almost every day.  I want to stop crying and at the same time, I’m afraid that I will stop crying.  Does that make sense?

There is more to say, but it all sounds selfish and childish upon examination, so I’ll let it go.

I miss you.

Maybe if I was a better woman, maybe if I were more Christlike, I would be close enough to the veil to feel you.  But even great prophets mourned with sackcloth and ashes.  I am not better than they.

I do wish the veil were thinner…

Love

Noelle

Letters to my Hobbit – 11

My Beloved Hobbit,

God I miss you.  I know I’ll see you again, but that doesn’t stop the pain right now.  Stupid things seem to set me off and bring me to tears.  I went to Foodtown today, by myself, and I couldn’t help thinking about you.  I don’t know if I can count the number of times I’ve been to Foodtown without you.  Maybe a handful, but now all my trips will be without you.

I told my friend today that I had this amazing, overwhelming craving for salt, and I couldn’t figure it out.  She said “CRYING! Duh!” and I said “Oh.  Yeah.  That makes sense.”  I have been on a low fat diet forever, but have been craving salty stuff like crackers and chips for the last two weeks.  I guess I must really be crying a lot.

Work is fine.  The people there are fine, but I have absolutely no desire to work there most of the time.  I don’t even really care if I lost the house.  I probably wouldn’t work if I didn’t have the house.  So maybe God knows what he’s doing and how he set things up.  He set out the net to catch me before I even knew I was falling.

I ordered your death certificate…

Something good did happen today, I got our rings back.  I had your wedding ring attached to mine.  Now I can wear them both:

tworings

I now have a schmantzy wedding ring.  Custom made.  Unique, sentimental and invaluable.

I think I’ll go to bed now and try not to cry so much.

Love you.

Your Queen of the Faye

Letters To My Hobbit – 9

Dear Sam,

Today, I don’t like the bedroom. Remember how I painted it dark blue with white trim so you could see the doorways a little more clearly? I know you felt a little more comfortable in the dark with only one light to focus on (usually your computer). But this is not helping me. Dear Daughter helped me put up stars on the walls and ceiling, and I even put up a blacklight, but I don’t like the dark walls. I am depressed and I can’t say that the walls aid the depression or merely reflect it.

I am having a hard time getting a hold of your death certificate. It is quite frustrating. The funeral home tells me to call the county and the county tells me to call the funeral home. The lawyer needs it, however, and I will probably just have to make a lunchtime trip to the clerks office and get a copy–which is, of course, how every girl loves to spend her lunch.

Mother’s Day was ok. #1 gave me an edible arrangement. #2 bought me new lights to put up outside on the patio–and they are delightful–then he told me later that he was leaving the church. I said “ok.” I really am not into micromanaging or putting additional emotion into something that seems fruitless at the moment. I am emotionally tapped out. This is his journey, and I guess he wants to do it alone. It’s a lot harder that way, as you could probably tell him from past experience, but it is his choice. I went to the deaf branch and gave them your suits. I went to the hearing ward too, and I will be going out on Saturday with an aquaintance from R.S. Maybe we’ll be friends. Who knows? All of this has really brought so many people out of the woodwork to tell me they love and support me. It has been wonderful, overwhelming, and bittersweet. I wish it hadn’t taken you dying for it to happen. I feel so selfish, but I can’t seem to help what I’m feeling because at the same time, I don’t think mourning is really all that selfish.

Sister Claybrook brought me the quilt she made me out of your shirts. It is wonderful.
MemorialQuilt
I try not to cry very loud, so #4 won’t hear it, though she has headphones on most of the time anyway…

Right now, I’m not certain I will stay at this job when my contract is over. If the house were paid off, I think I would stick to trying to write, live off my art, but then again, I’d probably get sick of being poor. I dunno. Today I was just really not happy with being at my job, and it wasn’t because anything had gone wrong. I have tremendous liberty there as opposed to the last job. They treat me like an adult and not like a high school student that needs to be monitored… you know… just in case I’m 2 minutes late from break. I’m trying to be practical. I’m trying to plan and make good choices, but I don’t think I’m doing a very good job.

I think our new parakeet is suffering from anxiety. The cats trying to get him every time he flies to the window probably doesn’t help. He runs from end to end of the magic window, trying to get out, until he gets tired and goes back on the perch we provide for him. He acts like I feel. We’re just trying to let him get used to being in my room, make him as comfortable as possible and happy, we hope, with his freedom–such as it is.

I really, really want to like my life–my life without you here–but I don’t. I wish I could at least be content with it and do something I thought was productive. Something I felt was making the world better, if I have to still be here. But I don’t. I had an email exchange with the probate lawyer and it doesn’t make me any more happy to be here following these bread crumbs that the spirit has to leave me because I just can’t think as clearly as I used to be able to. It’s like I have ADHD but I’m too depressed to notice. I told friends I feel like I’ve lost a limb — like my right hand — and I just don’t know how to use my left hand even half as well.

It’s more than a hand, you know. It’s more like half of my heart, the part I used the most.

Do I sound bitter? I hope not.

Why can’t I keep myself together? I just want to know when will I stop crying?

Love you.

Miss you.

Noelle

Letters To My Hobbit – 2

Dear Sam,

Today was not a good day. I can’t say the weekend was all that good either, but you’ve already heard about that. The day started with printers not working and my mind constantly wondering back to you. I find I’m just not that interested in life right now, but I can’t even get myself to be interested in fantasy or science fiction, or much of anything. Maybe this is all perfectly natural. It makes complete sense to me now why men die so soon after their wives. It gets to feeling like “What’s the point?” I know everyone will say the kids need me and blah blah blah, but they don’t really. Only the house needs me right now. It’s the only thing that needs my income to get back to health, to be repaired. But I’m just not that into the house without you. I can’t bring myself to clean the closet, do my laundry, fill a scrapbook page, write a card.

I got a bill for your surgery and your first stay in the hospital today. I also got the name of a lawyer to talk to about your case. I keep trying to psych myself up to do this or that, but I still end up here, at this place, with a big black hole in my chest and wet cheeks. I want to be interested in something. I want to be diverted, but nothing helps. Even food does not taste good. Nothing makes me feel like it’s worth eating–but don’t worry, I won’t lose weight, that would just help me live longer.

I’m having a hard time wanting to go on, but I don’t want to alarm anyone. I’m not suicidal. I’m just not that interested in life. I’m trying really hard to find a way to pull myself out of it. It’s not easy. It’s much harder than the last time I was seriously depressed. That was just over finances and our situation (which turned out to be a blessing). This is something significantly more substantial, and I really can’t give much of a crap about finances at the moment, which would worry me normally. Who else will take care of finances now if I don’t? As for the kids–I just honestly don’t think they care all that much about me. Sure they would if I were GONE, but I’m not, and they are all pretty AWOL, except my daughter. I think I will rewrite my will to leave her everything. I will have to rewrite my will now anyway, since I had written it to leave everything to you. One more reason to talk to lawyers.

Speaking of which, I am going to be talking to one about medical malpractice.

I can’t write anything creative right now. All I seem to be able to do is write these letters. I’m not sure if they are actually helping, then again, I’m not sure anything can help right now.

I am wondering if your sister Bethany met you when you arrived, or maybe Billy Joe, or Steve. Maybe your mom met you.

I’m having a really hard time, Sam. Please come home, or take me home or help me think of what makes it worth it to be left behind.

Love,

Noelle

Letters to My Hobbit – 1

Dear Sam Campbell III,

Today was ok, but the weekend in all was a little difficult. I had to be home, of course, and take care of things here, and everything reminds me of you. Everything. We made it all together, so of course it reminds me of you. Today I went to Memorial Park and Fallbrook, both. I cried in both places telling people how important it was to listen to the spirit. Naturally, I have a headache now. I haven’t been very hungry, but have an unnatural amount of cookies given to me, all of them my ‘favorite’ kinds. It has been strangely hard to eat chocolate…

I’m a little mad at you for not following through on those “notes to my wife,” like you did for your sister, since your sister won’t talk to me now. I’m also a little iritated that you use Linux, so everything I have of yours is hidden in a Matrix I can’t unlock. I will either have to hope that Gordon Chamberlin can unlock it all, or that I can find someone who can. I have 2 terabyte external drives with your info on it that, if I put it in my computer, it tells me I should format the drive.

I made this little memory box thing and filled it with your beads (the wood beads you loved to make mala’s from), your Star Fleet Academy ring (remember you said you felt like THAT was where you graduated from?) your Texas ID, your personal military spec crucifix, some hearing aid batteries and shoelaces. They are all the things that remind me of you. Remember when I said I thought you had a strange obsession with rosaries? I came to understand that, and how it was mostly tactile for you, and a great focus for your meditation, but I still don’t understand your obsession with black laces (they had to be black) of a specific length. I don’t know how you knew those other laces weren’t black, but somehow you did, and tossed them into your “abyss box.”

I went through the closet this week, it’s still pretty much a mess, and I think I will ask someone to come and help me clean it out when my mom is gone. For some reason, I don’t really want to do it with my mom. Your shoes and boots and your extra monitor are still in the room. And I haven’t gone through the box with our documents. I moved Erin into our room so I can fix up and rent out the other rooms. I think I need to do something to help replace your income. I want to keep working on the projects we had planned, and I can’t do that if I’m struggling to keep above water.

Adam, our sainted renter on a bike, fixed the fridge. He also fixed the hole in the wall in Erin’s (former) room. I am letting him stay free if he will manage the house and the repairs. He has taken much of the expense of the repairs on himself, so I think letting him stay free is ‘fair.’ I have no idea how much I am actually saving, but you do know it’s about 75 dollars just for a visit from a repair man. BTW, every appliance in the kitchen was covered under our homeowners policy EXCEPT the fridge…

I can’t seem to stay focused on any tasks at home. It’s like I’m an ADHD but I can’t even find something satisfyingly distracting.

I am writing our story, but not really. It’s a sort of “what if” story, like Notes From…. I will write our ‘real life’ story later, when it’s not as bittersweet. I do still have lots of fantasy stories we made up together based on Calinor and our personal experiences. I will try to finish those one day too, but right now, I’m writing this story about what would have happened if we would have met in Banning right after I graduated. I do that at night and in the morning to distract me from all the ‘must do’ lists my head fills up with at those times. I like that it helps me remember you, and that it is easier to remember you this way. Plus, you were really hot when you were younger, and so was I, and that never hurts in a story. We talked about it all the time, remember? What would have happened if we would have met when we were younger.

I’m trying not to be upset about having to stay here by myself and finish things up here without you. I am trying to remember pioneer women who had to take care of a farm and family while their husband served a mission a country away, or I try to remember how difficult life was for you and how simple things were starting to become a challenge, and how you are free now, but it doesn’t really help. I have no idea how long this mission will be, I didn’t think, even with your struggles, that things were that bad. Everyone knew we were happy, right? So I dunno and right now, I just want to go “home,” or run and run and run and run and never stop anywhere.

I have to go to bed now, because I have to work. Work is the easiest for me to handle. It’s almost a relief. I’m glad this is the long week. I have the kids this weekend. It’s hard to try and think of things to do–of course everything we plan reminds us you aren’t here, but I want you to know that we are really trying to do the things you wanted us to do, and be the blessing to other people you always wanted us to be. We are trying to bring honor to your name, the same way you tried to honor the name of God (and fathers and husbands).

Still a little angry at you for leaving without me, but love you more than anything left on Earth.

Say hi to Jack for me.

Love, Noelle