This'll be a "short" blog,
, assuming no one posts any thoughts/questions for me to respond to here, as I'm always willing to respond to thoughts and answer questions to my best knowledge. But, I am suggesting posting on this board to "someone in a success story," and thought it best that I practice what I preached. Who knows, hearing my story might help others, and I know I haven't posted much about my tale and situation elsewhere.
I was born in the heart of Mormon country in Utah in 1965, raised deep in the doctrines and activities of the church, and prided myself on being loyal to the church while questioning things at the same time. It turned out to be an uneasy truce between the church and I, but I learned a lot and was moved by much of what I heard from fellow members and what I read in the Scriptures (the Bible, King James Version, and the Book of Mormon and other Scriptures that said church presents in addition to the Bible).
As part and parcel of being raised in a very conservative community, I was made to understand that monogamy was the only suitable model for love and romance. I struggled a lot with my sexual urges as a teen and sorely chastized myself for having them. I went on three dates -- one being a bonafide romantic date -- and never knew a kiss in romance until I was 21.
When I was 19 the church sent me on a (just under) two-year mission (to convert non-members to the church -- this is something you just do as a faithful male member -- no questions asked) in the Southeast Michigan area, where I was stationed in various localities just outside of Detroit. I'd been out of State before but never so far away let alone for so long. Sometimes it was a trial by fire and for a brief time I considered running away to Colorado, where an ex-Mormon friend of mine and his open-minded folks had agreed to adopt me into their family. Fear kept me on the strait and narrow though; I turned down their offer.
I met a divorced lady in Michigan; I'll say her name is LV. She was much older than me and had kids my age, so it never occurred to me to think of her as anything but a platonic friend. But I ended up spending a lot of time in her company, and thought of her as quite a good friend. She had a daughter who lived in Utah and after my mission was done and I had returned to Utah, LV traveled to Utah to see her daughter, and stopped to see me at my folks' house along the way. It was just supposed to be one short visit, but somehow the visit lengthened into the late evening hours and then turned into as many visits as she could squeeze in before returning to Michigan. A romance had been born.
Well she and I were both rather freaked out about the age difference. But as the weeks and months rolled by, we started warming up to the idea, and next thing I knew I was proposing to her over the phone and she was saying yes.
She wanted to keep her house and home in Michigan and frankly I was glad for the excuse to leave Utah again. We married in the Washington D.C. temple (her favorite temple) in October of that year (1987). Her kids were not pleased, and made of themselves a long painful thorn in our sides from 1987 thru 2006 (and I hope I've seen the last of them).
After a couple of harrowing jobs over the next few years, I finally found my niche in piano teaching, and after a number of years was also hired at a Lutheran church to play organ every other Sunday and to accompany the choir. In the Mormon church I was made a choir director, and in and through these roles (I contrived to mix the company of the Mormon and Lutheran choirs, and had some success), LV and I met a newly-married couple in the Lutheran church, let's say their names are BH and LH. We got to know them as friends, but before very long they moved away, and honestly we didn't think we'd cross paths with them again.
But we did. The year was 2004 and I'd been hired as organist and choir director/accompanist for yet another Lutheran church, in another city. When LV and I first met with the church council there, lo and behold there were BH and LH. (He was actually president of the church council as I remember; she was head of worship.) We were elated to see them and happily renewed our friendship with them.
But BH and LH observed that things weren't going so well for LV and me. LV had started down the path of dementia (Alzheimer's probably), and was clinging to the familiar, while I had started rebelling against everything and had left the Mormon church (and become an atheist). We weren't functioning well; I had relied so much on LV in the past and now reacted with anger to her condition (given that her kids had labeled the condition poetic justice, their personal triumph over LV and me really), and struggled to hold our failing household together. (Trust me, the Mormon church didn't bother lifting a finger to help -- though LV had remained faithful to the church as long as her capacities would allow.)
I'll never know why, but like the Good Samaritan who had compassion on the man who'd been brutalized by thieves, BH and LH had compassion on LV and me, and essentially adopted us as family members. We ended up living with them in their home.
In the meantime, LH and I had ended up spending a lot of time together, working out a song schedule for the choir, and trying to figure out what to do about a couple of choirmembers who were real problems. At first LH and I exchanged some work-related emails, but the emails got longer, more frequent, and more personal, til finally she and I were confessing to each other that we had fallen in love.
Oh shit. Now what?