The Phoenix Forest

Posted on | September 11, 2011 | No Comments

as written March 29, 2010

Last night, around ten, Brent came over to say goodbye. He hefted the huge canvas and put it in my garage, then followed me upstairs, hugging me and telling me how good I smelled. He looked adorable, in jeans, messy hair, and a black zip up hoodie. What a beautiful man he is, he always was. All those years of drugs and disease haven’t taken his looks from him. I don’t know if that’s unfair or not, but he’s still reaaaaal nice to look at. He came in, and I opened the door to my heart and let him in. He looked around, and in slight wonder said how beautiful it was, how me. “He saw that it was good.” He hasn’t been inside my heart (home) in a long time. It felt nice to let him see.

We stood there, looking at each other, and he said:

“Thank you for being on this journey with me…I will miss you.”

I told him he was welcome, and I told him thank you – thank you because I drew strength from him. And how nice it was to receive something from him again…when for so long there has been nothing. But spending the last couple times with him, I have drawn strength from him. He teared up, and said, thank you so much. Then he told me, “I have always gotten strength from you. Always.” I told him it was always his to have. I told him it had been an honor to be the one chosen to go through this with him…even if that meant I couldn’t be there to see it. Then he pulled me against him, his strong arms around me, and held me there and we both cried.

There was this feeling of ceremony, of completion (but not completED if that makes sense)…of a sacred rite…a covenant realized, lived, surrendered, and then as we stood there – sanctified…somehow. There was this cleansing, this soft celebration that I could not see but felt all around me, heard the rustlings and murmurs of those watching…we were being respected. And honored, once more.

The Last Glorious Mile…

And yet, it doesn’t feel finished. I feel that it will still serve eternal purposes to be involved in each others lives. Just not…as a married couple, right now.

His strength astounds me, it literally pours from him. I asked him if he was scared/nervous of leaving the Ranch, his brothers, his home meetings, his sponsor…and he said “No.” And the pure, clear, clean, confident gleam in his eyes testified to me that this was not just true for him, but it was truth all around. “When you have those spiritual awakenings that have been internalized completely, I don’t need these outside sources in one location in order to keep me sober, to keep me in recovery. I can take my heart and my life and go anywhere…” Utter truth. Imagine that? Pure, liquid truth tumbling from his perfect lips…like there had never been a lie told in all the eons of his existence. Like he had been made whole.

He told me how incredible it was to be on this path of his new life, how amazing it was to do what he wanted to do, and have that be God’s will for him as well. I smiled and agreed with him, and felt the joy he felt at aligning his will with God’s, and have that still be what he wants for himself. Knowing it is good, knowing it is right, this path for him, I could see the power it gave him. The comfort, the peace, the serenity.

After a while, I breathed deep a few times, trying to pull myself together and avoid the sadness that seeped around me like an unwelcome fog. I went and got my gifts for him: my old iPod, that had all our playlists, songs, and the recorded version of his graduation from the Ranch. His birth certificate, which I found earlier (right next to our marriage for time and eternity certificate…sigh). A picture of his grandpa straddling an old harley, and a picture of me on the beach in Florida. Lastly, as prompted, I gave him the painting I had done years earlier in our first apartment. The teal canvas with stones littered across it, with the words that I have long loved written through it. I remembered his reaction to it when he saw it the first time, how he told me he had so needed to hear those words. So I looked at him again, as he read the words…

“And whoso receiveth you, there I will be also, for I will go before your face. I will be on your right hand and on your left, and my Spirit shall be in your hearts, and mine angels round about you, to bear you up.” D&C 84:88

Once more, he pulled me to him, and I wrapped my arms around this Son of God, this man who knows my sacred name, this man who pulled me through the veil with his rough, big strong hands…this man who loved me until he broke, and who offered me the chance to come to know the Savior in ways no one else ever would have. It felt like God was standing behind him, and pulled His robe of purity and light around us both. Finally, now, having drawn us from either side of Him to stand before one another after so long…since the day I allowed Him to step between us in The Dark Well and to take Brent unto Himself. Today, he let me see him again.

Brent whispered in my ear, “Listen. It’s our song.” I tuned in to the music that was softly playing from the kitchen, and there it was. Incubus’ “I Miss You” echoed through the House of My Heart…this song that was the first to remind him of me, and his feelings for his future wife…only two weeks after we first met.

To see you when I wake up
is a gift I didn’t think could be real.
To know that you feel the same as I do
is a three-fold, utopian dream.
You do something to me that I can’t explain.
So would I be out of line if I said,
I miss you.
I see your picture, I smell your skin on the empty pillow next to mine.
You have only been gone ten days, but already I’m wasting away.
I know I’ll see you again
whether far or soon.
But I need you to know that I care
“and I miss you…” I spoke into his ear, and he nodded and held me tighter. I couldn’t stop the tears, and let myself be seen by him with them running down my face. He looked at me, wiped some away, said “I love you.” And left.

I stepped out the door after him, and called “Dove!” and he turned around, and I raised my hand in the “I love you” we always used to do. He smiled and turned, and I watched him leave once more. Once more, I stood there and watched him walk away.

When I closed the door behind me, I fell into a heap and cried until there was no more tears. I crawled into bed, this emotional mess who couldn’t handle anything anymore, and tried to sleep. As I closed my eyes, I went to my heart. The huge, smooth, waved oak wood of the door to my heart appeared. And I saw an echo of what really had happened. I had opened the door for Brent, and he got to step back in. His eyes lit up as he surveyed the land of my heart; saw the beauty and sun and joy and growth. He held my hand, and I swung his – happy for him to see. Happy to have him back in my heart, even if for just a moment. He wanted to see if anything he had built was left standing…and I felt a slight twinge of panic, because all I had seen was the ruined and charred remnants of the cities that had burned to the ground. Everything he had built with his beautiful hands had been destroyed. I was afraid for him to see nothing left…for him to think that he had never existed.

But suddenly, as we walked a little ways…there arose before us this great Redwood Forest; the scent of pine and earth and sweet green life filled my lungs. The trees reached up thousands of feet into the sky, and seemed to welcome us in. He smiled as he saw this, and touched his hand to the ancient bark. I noticed that all the trees had been through the ravages of multiple fires, long wars and terrible strife. The massive trunks were charred in so many places, scars littered up as far as the eye could see. Blackened edges of wood and peeling bark: I saw the consequences of his disease. But, even after all that fire, these trees still stood. Not one of them had felled, each of them was as firmly rooted in the ground of the soil of my heart as the next, still growing, still reaching for the sky. This forest was alive, this forest of our love was eternalThis beautiful place had sprung from the ashes of our pain, and I call it “The Phoenix Forest.”

What had grown from the ashes of “us” was an eternal manifestation of our covenants, our sacrifice, and our surrender. Something that had stood far longer than some simple framed houses. God had allowed this place to grow in the aftermath of our War; a blessing. A testament. A fulfillment of His promise. This forest is an eternal one, and speaks of Brent’s majesty, his patience, his unalterable strength, his wisdom, his soft spoken silence, and his ancient love for me that these trees will forever stand as a reminder of. No matter where I travel in my heart, I will always be able to see his love for me, still growing towards the sky. Anytime I need to, I can visit here, I can be protected from harm in the embrace of this place. I give thanks…

I give thanks…
I give thanks.

Brent. I love you forever. I give you permission to come wander through here whenever you wish. Call to me, and I will meet you under the trees. Ours is not the Last Glorious Mile – it is the first of another journey.

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