I had spent the prior year at Dixie State in St. George, Utah where my life had changed. My second semester there was the brightest my life had ever been. It was springtime, with endless hours of sunshine. I started to have meaningful prayers and amazing learning moments because of the spirit. Later I'd find in the scriptures Mosiah 18:30, "And now it came to pass that all this was done in Mormon, yea, by ... the waters of Mormon, the forest of Mormon, how beautiful are they to the eyes of them who there came to the knowledge of their Redeemer; yea, and how blessed are they, for they shall sing to his praise forever" and it'd resonate with me perfectly. That city, that campus, that period of time were my Waters of Mormon. It was where I came to the knowledge of my Redeemer and it was so beautiful to my eyes.
But once that school year finished and I had returned home for the summer, I began to feel unsettled about returning to St. George. The life I had assumed I'd get to pick back up once my savings account was full again began to not felt right. I had a new apartment, new job, friends, a guy, and second year of school all sitting on hold for me but I never got to return to hit play.
Through months of prayer and tears that summer, and a lot of other life lessons, I found myself sitting in a missionary discussion with the boy I'd had a crush on since 5th grade. We'd dated seriously for a year and a half starting at the end of my Senior year. As the months went on that fall our long distance relationship had begun to reek emotional havoc on me, as I stayed in on weekends, while everyone was going out. By early that next semester, I could feel my life changing. I was changing, I wanted to be a new person, or who I had been when I was younger. I needed to recover from who I'd been, and move forward.
So move forward I did, from St. George, to Alaska, and then very prayerfully, as a transfer student to Salt Lake City that fall. I left behind a lot in Alaska for a second time, as well as St. George, but couldn't deny the feeling that I needed to be in Salt Lake.
The Landon I met at a going away party, that I shouldn't have been invited to in the first place, wore cutoff shorts and a cream sweater. The first half of the party is a blur to me, but you can read his version here. We We small chatted enough to know we wanted to keep things going, so together with Avery and another friend we drove to second apartment where we watched a movie in a group of more friends. He asked for my number as he dropped me off and took me out on a breakfast date not too many days later. I can't remember much of his vibe in the beginning. I know that I was impressed with the person he was, and of course his semi-hipster style. I know that we laughed often and easily, and that I had so much fun with him. We had deep and meaningful conversations from the beginning, and moved forward with little fear. Looking back it was that first winter together that I started to see him as the wonderful guy that he was. He was [and still is!] kind, he was patient, he was adventurous, he was thoughtful, he was spontaneous. We served together, read together, made goals together, made lists of everything we loved about each other and spent as much time together as possible.
Freshly engaged, I took the semester off and started to work two jobs: the flagship Deseret Book location + Blue Lemon, a cute cafe next door. We saved + prepared for a life together. Our wedding that summer in California was beautiful, as were those first months. We went on adventures the second we changed out of our work uniforms. From Zion's National Park, to California, to free Edward Sharpe and Lupe Fiasco concerts in the park, we packed in the fun. On bikes that he surprised me with one summer night we experienced SLC in such a carefree way. I started back at school downtown that Fall while he finished his last year at the U.
Then right around Christmas time, just before we left for California, my heart broke the first time as mrs faulkner. It was confusing and hard to process. I didn't understand the whole story, and he didn't fill in the rest. I cried, he cried. With the Elders scheduled to come over for dinner that night we called to cancel, spent time together that night trying to put our hearts back together, and then went to visit California like normal.
I moved on quickly, increased my love, and moved forward. We prayed and fasted over many decisions, and felt guided to make a few certain big ones. I started blogging that spring as we moved from SLC to California for Landon's first full-time job out of school and a little Paityn came that winter.
Then, that summer after returning from our trip to Alaska, my heart broke for a third time and hopefully final time. The first week we attended recovery meetings I was nervous and broken. As we continued to attend, week after week, I learned to continue to rely on Heavenly Father even after His initial nudges and help had faded. I learned to not just forget + increase in love, but to really forgive. Without prayer and relying on the atonement, I who though was great forgiving was really just great at forgetting.
I learned that the time it takes me to heal, can take longer that the time it takes to forgive, and that that's ok. I have come to know my Savior and Heavenly Father more this summer, fall and winter than I possibly ever did in St. George. This time it's because my heart is heavy. Where I once felt lighter than a feather and more beautiful than ever, I feel knocked down.
In our meetings, I have felt the power of what God asks us to do; to bear one another's burdens. Never before has heartache felt so tangible. Because there's no cross talk, each woman shares their thoughts in a safe environment. One by one with each share, tears and triumphs are shared and felt by all. It is a feeling of support like nothing I've ever experienced. A spiritual message is shared by a group leader, we end with prayer then everyone slowly trickles out of the room, prepared to take on another week, whatever may come.
This has been a hard time in my life, and for Landon possibly even more so. But I feel grateful to have never felt alone without my Heavenly Father through this time of forgiving and healing. I'm grateful that I felt prepared for this. Though blindsided, I was spiritually prepared. This wasn't something God wanted us to go through, but He knew it would happen and I feel strongly that He prepared me. I don't believe that events "x" and "y" in my life helped me to be ready because that's not how it seems. It seems that everything spiritual in my life led up to this.
I feel very protective of Landon, and his story. But his story has become a very personal story for me and I felt very impressed to find a way to put our story into words. We're at a point now where the birds are singing and the buds on our tree of marriage are budding. A fire ripped through us, and now new life is growing.
Most of all I want to promise you that there are good things to come. Moving forward you'll have to talk more than before, and sometimes more gently than before, but it's all worth it. Marriage is worth it, love is worth it, your bright future is worth it. Follow your heart + the spirit, lean on God, and know that you are loved more than you can comprehend.