The first week is over.
Yes, I've still done the right thing. No, I'm not going back. And after four hours in the temple today doing work for Mary, my great-great-grandmother Josie's mother, I came away with direction. It's never been absent. My husband desperately needs help, and I can't, CAN'T go back unless and until he gets it.
After the endowment session I sat for some time in sealing room six, where my husband and I were married. Experiences like that, when the spirit is so strong that it radiates through my bones, leave me certain that the Lord is over all, watching, guiding and directing. My sealing is intact. My covenants stand resolute. My only sadness is that in the present situation I cannot enjoy such moments with my husband.
I didn't ever panic, but when I came out of the temple I noticed that he'd called. I listened to the pocket-dialed voicemail: Arrow 103 radio and my husband's voice obviously not directed at me saying something or other about his vehicle getting 110 miles to 1/4 tank. I listened once more before I decided to text him and ask if I could see him briefly. I needed to know where his heart lay amid the past weeks' uncertainty.
He didn't respond for half an hour. I picked up M-- to go shopping for dinner for the women and children at the shelter that evening. And then he texted back asking when and where. I drove to his work with M-- asleep in the passenger seat next to me. I roused her enough to explain what I was doing. She didn't seem alarmed and nodded back off.
I got out and walked up the stairs to my husband's office. He came out and met me halfway. It was awkward. I mentioned his haircut and shave. He said it didn't itch as much this way, and I said that was good. And then somehow we were holding each other and he was shaking with tears and emotion in my arms. He apologized. True, heartfelt, tear-laden words of apology for hurting me as he had, so many times. He said he didn't mean to do it, and I told him I knew, but pleaded that he must, must get help. I told him I couldn't come home until he got the help and it was safe for me, and he said he knew. I said I would wait for however long it took. He said I wasn't obligated, that I didn't have to. And I said I didn't feel obligated and that I wanted to and that I knew who he was under all of that and that I want to. His eyes were wet with humility and remorse. I said I would only wait if he wanted me to. He said he only wanted me to if I wanted to, and I told him flat out that that wasn't good enough. Of course he wanted me, he said. I told him to give it all to the Savior, all of it, whatever it is, and I begged again for him to get help. He nodded.
The bishop has told him not to pressure me or contact me unless I contact first. I told him that was good. I didn't know when I would see him or contact him again, but I would. I told him I loved him and that I forgave him the moment he finally walked out the door last Tuesday. He said he loved me in return and thanked me for loving him so purely. I told him I couldn't help it, that's just how it is. We embraced again and I kissed him, and he kissed back. Then, I knew the briefly was over and that I needed to leave.
I told him I would be in church again on Sunday if he is there. He nodded and said goodbye. He watched me leave. He waved.
My heart is comforted that I have done the right thing. I am doing the right thing. I don't know how it's all going to play out during this separation, but this is how it must go.
M-- and I drove to the shelter and made Amish Breakfast Casserole, a creamy fruit salad, and tossed greens for dinner while M-- played with the babies. When it was served I've never seen the children eat so well. Some of them came back for fourths. Their mothers thanked me profusely and told me to go spend some time with my daughter. We gave a ride to one of the women to 7-Eleven to get her smokes, and decided that since it was dark we would give her a ride back.
I feel a little guilty because I know the "rules". But I haven't backed down. I wasn't manipulated. In fact, I know my course better than I did before. In that I am basing my justification.
However long it takes. 1 Corinthians 13. The atonement of Christ and charity are the only things that can save this marriage. I can live alone knowing that is the long term goal.