a lover of light. a painter of spirit. a photographer of beauty. a writer of reality – as she sees it anyway. “her” is on a journey that may never end, in a quest to uncover the Light, Spirit, Beauty, and Reality underlying all. that. is.
a man of many interests. none more relevant than his desire to assist others in a process of transformation and transcendence. eager to delve into the stuff of thought, “him” will remain true and loyal to that which calls him to his truest self.
“We will all, verily, abide by the Will of God.”
Our Story: From her perspective.
(written on 1 January 2011, the day of our wedding)
Once in a great-while something beyond miraculous happens. I have been blessed in my life to experience the miraculous on a pretty regular basis. The most recent miracle is one that not only confirms all the previous ones, but makes all the future ones possible.
On October 19th, at the Bahá’í House of Worship in Wilmette, Illinois, I walked into the visitor’s center to have lunch with a friend and saw a man, an extraordinary man, sitting and waiting to train as a guide. This moment would alter the course of my life in a beautiful way.
While I ate my lunch with the staff, he received his training, shared his story, and answered questions. The conversation with many over lunch transformed into a conversation between the two of us on the steps of the Temple that lasted for three hours. The following few days I met him at the Temple to continue our conversations, which were exceptionally elevated, spiritual, joyful, enlightening and soul-stirring. I didn’t realize it until a few days later, but even before I met him I was already aware of him. It was as if I knew something significant was about to happen before I walked into the visitor’s center. Then, when I did meet him, I found myself incredibly aware of him—his every move, glance, the topics he chose for conversation, the way he carried himself, spoke, etc. At this point in my life I wasn’t looking for a partner, I was in the process of falling in love with myself and in the past it was quite challenging to do both—fall in love with a man and myself—at the same time. Since I felt that he was going to be important to me, and simultaneously didn’t want him to be, I began to look for proof—proof that I could walk away with no regrets.
Over the course of those few days, while he was in town for work, I learned that not only was there no reason to speak of as to why I shouldn’t give him a chance, I was finding myself feeling more and more…me.
You know how many of us have this idea of who we are meant to be, and we struggle to live up to that idea on a daily basis? Well, that idea of who I am was manifesting itself the more time I spent with him. Towards the end of his stay in Chicago we ended up spending an entire day together, along with a couple friends. We sat in the gardens of the House of Worship for hours, praying and talking about topics we are both interested in—psychology, gender equality, truthfulness, etc. Then all four of us went downtown to hang out and get dinner. He and I decided to go somewhere other than our friends so we set out. While we walked and talked I kept my distance, searching for that reason to prove he wasn’t safe for me, all the while feeling more like Lindsey than I ever have before. I felt respected and appreciated, I felt strong and wise, I felt centered and calm, and I felt myself radiate brighter and brighter. After dinner we walked to Grant Park to meet up with a few more people and as I found myself able to talk about personal things—things I’m not proud of or things I wanted to hide from someone for fear of being judged—I felt safe. I felt safe. In that moment of safety I allowed myself to truly look into his eyes, and as I did I saw something I didn’t know was possible. I saw myself. I saw myself the way he saw me and it moved me so deeply, so profoundly, it brings me to tears as I write this. I saw my beauty, my light, my grace and my purity reflected back with such clarity, such sincerity that I unmistakably saw him, his love, his truth, his light, and his nobility. In a split second, time disappeared, I felt God’s love engulf us and I completely recognized the perfection of my entire life—past, present, and future. Up to this moment we had been talking about my forthcoming Pilgrimage, and as he listened to me talk about how important it was for me to go, he offered to pay for my hotel during Pilgrimage in exchange for a commissioned painting for his God-son. Humbled, yet honored, it was clear as day that his only motive was to be of service and see me happy. I had been searching for reasons as to why he could not be a potential partner and I had been given every reason, the ultimate reason, to give him a chance. This man, without any effort, was helping me fall in love with myself, helping me recognize my worth, my nobility. He was valuing me, not because he wanted something from me, but because he saw something beautiful in me that he wanted to support.
After he returned to Minnesota, he offered to fly down for my birthday and after praying about it I told him in all honesty that I wasn’t ready for anything more than a friendship, and after some prayers of his own he decided to participate in a service project back home in North Dakota. Here again, I felt such reassurance that it was okay to open to him because he was, without trying, showing me his strength of character and his dedication to service.
Our conversations continued, each one more elevated than the last until the door opened for me to visit with a couple friends. That visit became an extended stay. Now, every day brings confirmation upon confirmation. Each time I look in his eyes I recognize I am home, I’ve found my safe place to serve from. It is with his love and support, his respect for me, for himself, and for others that, by the grace of God, I’ve been allowed to shine. It isn’t that he allows me to shine, it’s that I feel safe enough to not hold back anymore. I don’t feel judged, I don’t fear that he will abandon me, I don’t doubt his dedication to the union we are setting out to create together. He does not complete me, he does, however, create a space where I recognize my completeness completely. He is my partner, the one I will travel all the worlds of God with, the one who I will approach my Beloved with and offer up the unending gratitude I carry in my heart for His love, His guidance, His Perfect Plan, His light, His mercy, justice, and compassion.
So it comes to pass. I have accepted this man, Adam, as the one who I can best serve my Lord with. Together we will stand from within the fortress we are creating and offer service to the world as best as we are able. I am both in love with this man’s soul and my own. I stand in awe of God’s majesty every moment, for the deepest desire of my heart is to serve Him from a place of certitude and strength. Adam’s presence in my life not only supports and reinforces my service, but his presence shines light, alongside mine, on the path we will walk together, side by side, until the end that hath no end.
Everything about that is miraculous.
Our Story: From his perspective.
(written on 1 January 2014, three years after our wedding)
When I reflect over the past three years of my marriage to Lindsey it is hard to imagine life without her. Perhaps this is just as it should be. ; ) So much of who I am (my strengths, challenges, and opportunities) have come about alongside her unconditional love and overwhelming support. Lindsey’s ability to forgive gracefully, live selflessly, create effortlessly, and offer love unconditionally is nothing short of a model of how to approach an institution as sacred as marriage. Lindsey, given her role in this partnership (her end of the bargain if you will) in this fortress for well-being and salvation, never seems to fall short of fulfilling her pledge in manifesting the following reality envisioned by Bahá’u’lláh,
And when He desired to manifest grace and beneficence to men, and to set the world in order, He revealed observances and created laws; among them He established the law of marriage, made it as a fortress for well-being and salvation, and enjoined it upon us in that which was sent down out of the heaven of sanctity in His Most Holy Book. He saith, great is His glory: ‘Marry, O people, that from you may appear he who will remember Me amongst My servants; this is one of My commandments unto you; obey it as an assistance to yourselves.’
To manifest the qualities of grace and beneficence, God created the law of marriage. My understanding of this Sacred Text is this, that in a marriage acts of gracefulness and kindness manifest themselves. And, it is from these acts that you create a fortress, a safe and sacred space, for the promotion and realization of the health and well-being of all of its participants. As we constantly strive to bring Revelation — that which has been reveled — into reality, I can assure you that this Revelation is fact. Not that I doubted God, but let me put it this way, this quote has been road tested and approved. ; )
Now, writing from our flat in Haifa, Israel three years later (serving at the Bahá’í World Centre) the marriage vow, “We will all, verily, abide by the Will of God” is engraved not solely on our rings but deeply in and on each of our hearts. Although three years have come to pass, our purpose has never changed. In the words of the Beloved Master, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá,
Bahá’í marriage is union and cordial affection between the two parties. They must, however, exercise the utmost care and become acquainted with each other’s character. This eternal bond should be made secure by a firm covenant, and the intention should be to foster harmony, fellowship and unity and to attain everlasting life.
Our affection for one another and union we share has grown. Our ability to exercise care for one another and the world at large, this too has blossomed. And, as our eternal bond continues to find strength in this mighty Covenant, I am reminded of where humanity’s harmony and fellowship intersect with everlasting life. That is, in unity with one another. In Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh, the Blessed Beauty reveals,
Cleave unto that which draweth you together and uniteth you. This, verily, is the most exalted Word which the Mother Book hath sent down and revealed unto you.
In Selections From the Writings of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, the Master reminds us,
Note ye how easily, where unity existeth in a given family, the affairs of that family are conducted; what progress the members of that family make, how they prosper in the world. Their concerns are in order, they enjoy comfort and tranquillity, they are secure, their position is assured, they come to be envied by all. Such a family but addeth to its stature and its lasting honour, as day succeedeth day. And if we widen out the sphere of unity a little to include the inhabitants of a village who seek to be loving and united, who associate with and are kind to one another, what great advances they will be seen to make, how secure and protected they will be. Then let us widen out the sphere a little more, let us take the inhabitants of a city, all of them together: if they establish the strongest bonds of unity among themselves, how far they will progress, even in a brief period and what power they will exert. And if the sphere of unity be still further widened out, that is, if the inhabitants of a whole country develop peaceable hearts, and if with all their hearts and souls they yearn to cooperate with one another and to live in unity, and if they become kind and loving to one another, that country will achieve undying joy and lasting glory. Peace will it have, and plenty, and vast wealth. Note then: if every clan, tribe, community, every nation, country, territory on earth should come together under the single-hued pavilion of the oneness of mankind, and by the dazzling rays of the Sun of Truth should proclaim the universality of man; if they should cause all nations and all creeds to open wide their arms to one another, establish a World Council, and proceed to bind the members of society one to another by strong mutual ties, what would happen then? There is no doubt whatsoever that the divine Beloved, in all His endearing beauty, and with Him a massive host of heavenly confirmations and human blessings and bestowals, would appear in His full glory before the assemblage of the world.
To realize this reality, to adhere to this unity, to feel the “massive host of heavenly confirmations and human blessings and bestowals” and to know that it all starts within our institution of marriage, between Lindsey and me … how could I have begun to even consider, let alone ask for more? How immeasurably blessed are we? All praise be to God. The Lord of all Worlds!