I started watching a show recently (please don’t judge) Arrow on CW. For those familiar with The Green Arrow comics, the show is totally different. There may be a character named Oliver Queen in both of them who just happens to be a mean shot with a bow, but there the similarities end. In the TV version, Felicity is part of team Arrow, and for two seasons, she watches Oliver fall for almost every woman who walks into his path, whether District Attorney, millionairess, CEO, evil huntress or freaky stalker chick. Finally, after two years, while she’s hurting as he wanders, he realizes she is what he wanted all along. On their first official date, a mean, nasty bad guy comes along and blows up the restaurant where they are eating, and in that moment, Oliver Queen makes the choice for Felicity: he says it isn’t worth the risk of endangering her for them to date, and even while saying ‘I love you’, he says good-bye.
Watching that moment, I cried for Felicity. The man she’s loved for years finally chose her, only to leave. I think I have a little idea about the waiting part, at least. I’ve been dating a young man for a few years now. He was there when I opened my call and he told me Cambodia was just the place for me. He was there when I came home and we decided this was something we wanted for keeps, and now I wear his ring on my finger, symbolizing “meant for eternity.” So imagine how I feel when people tell me he is simply a phase, that I’ll wake up one morning and just know that I’ve learned everything I was supposed to from the relationship and now it’s time to leave. You know, I don’t think too many brides-to-be usually hear that. Usually it’s “when are you guys getting married?”
Apparently, my fiancee and I passed that stage a while ago, a year ago, for that matter. Yep, I’ve been engaged for over a year. There have been times when I’ve questioned whether this young man really was for me. Yet, every time I wonder that, I’m reminded of the night three years ago when Heavenly Father told me this young man is the one for me. And I remember the eve of entering the MTC when Heavenly Father made me a special little promise, a promise for the eternities. Yet, even after I share that special moment with very carefully picked, special people, they still ask why I stick around.
Many people wonder how I can be so patient and wait “so long” to get married. Mind you, an engagement in the world can be much longer than I’ve waited, but they usually don’t get young men in their Institute class saying “well, in my church I was taught to have a short engagement”–if we’re both in Institute, I’d guess we’re both going to the same church. And yes, I know the church encourages short engagements and this isn’t a diatribe against that. This is a request. Heavenly Father has a specific and individual plan for each of us. We don’t always know where it will take us, but if it is with Him, we’ll always end up in a good place.
A couple years ago, I met an amazing young man who others termed as “one who had a past,” whatever that means. We all have pasts–every saint has a past and every sinner a future, or so I’ve long believed. As we got to know each other, I found out he did have some struggles, some addictions behind and others on their way out. Yet, the more I got to know him, the more I saw his kind heart, his tenderness to kids, and his goals for the future. The more we talked, the more I liked. He is my first boyfriend, the first man to say I love you, and my first kiss. I can’t begin to describe to anyone else how I feel about him, other than that I love him.
Yet, this journey since I got home hasn’t been easy, watching many peers get married and start having kids. People would ask, “If you have a man why don’t you have the date?” I had reasons and excuses, because for all the things he was still working through–social anxiety and depression, just to name two–I was working through a whole world as well.
For all the bitter tears on my pillow and in the shower, I wouldn’t change the last two years for anything. I have learned things and grown in ways I never thought possible. As Heavenly Father promised, I have needed faith to move mountains and split seas, and EVERY mountain has been worth it.
We as human beings have this unique way of seeing a tiny bit of what someone else is experiencing and passing judgement and giving advice. For all of you who are dating that “someone with a past,” you go girl (or boy, as the case may be). You keep trusting Heavenly Father, because He’ll take you to what your heart desires, and for everyone else, stay out. This journey is hard enough without anyone saying you’re going to fail. Be kind, simply ask how you can be supportive in our time of waiting.