February 17, 2010
To my sweet Valentine Brent,
I start with a quote from pg 78
"What things should we think about and how?...In the first place, that question itself is what we should think about. We won't get very far on our way until we have faced up to it. But as soon as we start seriously thinking about that, we find ourselves covered with confusion, overwhelmed by our feelings of guilt and inadequacy--in other words, repenting for our past delinquency."
You are the most self-reflective person I have met in my entire life. It has been a gift to me to watch you constantly evaluate yourself and your life. I have struggled though as you look at your past and express regret and frustration. Because in my eyes, your life has been exemplary on all accounts. I will mention a few things here:
I remember shortly after meeting you, I walked in to your apartment unannounced. You were laying on that old grimy "chastity couch" (they were undoubtedly the most uncomfortable couches to lay on, thus the nickname) talking on the telephone. You were speaking in the sweetest, concerned, loving voice. With a tenderness I had not heard from any young man I had met. I listened to your side of the conversation quietly, in wonderment. Who could he be talking to. And then, as the conversation closed, you lovingly said goodbye to your mother. I was dumbfounded and impressed. I was always taught by my Mom, look for how a boy treats his mother and that is how he will treat you. She was right.
Again, shortly after meeting you, we were talking one night about our High School experiences. After some probing, I learned you never missed a day of early morning Seminary. Not a single one. You never missed a day praying, or reading your scriptures. Your language was clean, your mind was clean. You didn't watch "R-rated" movies. I had never met someone like you before. I kept thinking it was too good to be true. But that was just it. It was all true.
You served a mission of distinction. Your leadership and enthusiasm and effectiveness in sharing the true and restored Gospel of Jesus Christ was legendary. But you never tried to sugar coat things. It was the hardest you had worked in your life. It wasn't rosy and playful. You came home after two years exhausted but fulfilled.
You started a company. A company which has allowed our family to live debt free. We have security in these difficult economic times that so many are not blessed with. Although it has not been fulfilling for you, it has fulfilled all of the wants and needs of those in your stewardship.
You are a devoted, attentive, wonderful husband and father. You keep me laughing and smiling, and lighten my tendency towards intensity. And in fact, you have mitigated my struggle with perfectionism. Your unwavering faith, devotion, and unabashed willingness to express your feelings about me, have bred in me a confidence and peace missing before you were a part of my life.
So to me, you are it. I wondered how in the world you could feel any feelings of regret for all you have done, mistakes you averted, sin you eschewed, and everything you have accomplished. My cry to you were, "Look at what I see" or "Let's look forward instead of backwards." But the words of Nibley helped me understand something I had missed before about you. I knew you were self-reflective, what I didn't realize was your frustration and confusion with time spent in the past, was a method of repenting. The quote continues...
"In this condition, we call upon the Lord for aid, and he hears us. We begin to know what the Prophet Joseph meant about the constant searching, steadily storing our minds with knowledge and information--the more we get of it, the better we are able to judge the proper priorities as we feel our way forward, as we become increasingly alert to the promptings of the Spirit which become ever more clear and more frequent, following the guidance of the Holy Ghost: and as we go forward, we learn to cope with the hostile world with which our way is sure to bring us into collision in time."
This is you. Calling on the Lord. Searching for more knowledge. Coping with the hostile world into which we collide. More and more we collide. Now I know why you cope so much better than me. I always struggle wondering how could our way be so different. We seem to collide with the hostile world on just about everything these days. Public schools, financial institutions, dietary decisions... While I feel lonely and question sometimes. You are decided. Your guidance is so strong coping is not an issue for you. What an example you are to me.
I just want you to know how much I love you. The more carefully and attentively I attune to you, the better I become. Thank you.