Sunday, June 27

Completely, utterly, every-moment happy

"And they thirsted not [though] he led them through the deserts"
- Isaiah 48:21

Two and a half years ago I started this blog with a post about the Sweetwater River rescue. I felt like I was standing at a place where I could travel no further. I wrote then: "... I'm stuck. I don't have the energy, the confidence, the hope that I once had. I don't know how to overcome this battle." Two and half years later, I stand not only on the other side of that river, but at a place where I can't stop smiling.

For so long I have been given two similar but opposing truths: I won't be happy without fulfilling my divine destiny to be a husband and father, and similarly, I won't be happy without finding love. I am now living a life without either and learning the lie in both.

I find happiness in simply living: in telling jokes, in training for marathons, in making friends, in sharing experiences, in playing croquet, in exploring the world, in learning how to cook tofu, in listening to pop music, in believing that effort is rewarded and that God does indeed love his children, in small victories, in Backstreet Boy cruises, in having my perspectives challenged, in binding my life to the Savior, in becoming more like Him.

God has truly led me across the plains and through the desert. There was no path, so I trod one.


  1. My favorite line in this blog is "I find happiness in simply living." I think I lived so often excited for the next phase of life, or planning for the long term, I forgot to enjoy the simple joys of everyday life. Thank you for the reminder. Thank you for being my friend.

  2. Wow, Mark. I love this post. You are such an example me and to so many. I think it takes many people a lifetime to learn what you are.

  3. jeff in coloradoJuly 2, 2010 at 1:02 PM

    Thanks for sharing your wisdom.

  4. Mark, you have no idea how you have made my day! I am a mom who stumbled across your blog months ago and have sincerely hurt with you as you have struggled with this trial that no one would ever ask for..

    A few of my kid's best and brightest friends came out after high school and my heart broke for them as they too struggled with aligning their desires for happiness and fulfillment with their testimonies and love for the Savior
    and His gospel.

    Reading your blog has really helped me to feel the pain and learn new things. I was so disheartened by your "God Is Dead" blog in March. I worried about you and kept checking back to see where you were. Today I found you and you ARE still here !!! And you came thru the fire...

    Don't give up Mark....don't you DARE give up!

    You are beautiful and bright and honest and funny and quirky and you make me smile :-) Don't disappear again...*Please*

  5. Happy dance! I'm moving up from half marathons to a full this november. Two laps around chickamauga battlefield in Chattanooga, tn. How many conference talks on my ipod will it take to get through that one I wonder? :)
    I'm glad you found a path. SO glad. I hope that many people read this and take solace in your successes.

  6. you can be married to a man and still have kids. its 2010.

  7. thanks for the reminder to just be happy in the everyday. there are so many things to do, see, and experience in life and this is the only chance we have! lol, unless they have backstreet boy concerts in heaven! Thanks mark!

  8. Mark, thanks for this post. Also, thanks for living life the way you do. I have been following your blog from a distance for quite a while. It's different than most other blogs, and I mean that in a good way. Though I haven't blogged about it, I found myself at a "Sweetwater crossing" moment of my own about 2 years ago. It's been a really rough journey since then, but I am finding the joy in living life just as this post describes.

    I still don't know if I'll ever be a husband or father, but I am learning (as it appears you are, too) that life can be lived to the fullest as we get out there and have fun and experience this great world God has given us. The second paragraph of your post says it all very eloquently.

    Thanks for your example. I am going to try my hand at this blogging things as well.

  9. Mark,

    You are too strong to continue being so weak.

    I would say the same thing to you as the anonymous mom above, except I would probably mean the exact opposite as her. She says 'Don’t give up...don’t you dare give up' as her way of supporting you through your "God is Dead" episode.

    I would also say “Don’t give up on…don't you dare give up…on yourself”. She say “You are still here!” I would say that YOU are not yet here!”

    As one who was led to believe as a child that I should turn my life over to jesus, I accepted him into my life. I now see that in doing so I was being taught to give up on myself. YOU have trod the path when there was none, not any god. Give credit where credit is due.

    You so keenly saw the "lie in both". And you experienced the freedom in letting go of the lies.
    There is one more, bigger, lie you need to let go of. I can tell you from personal experience the joy one can experience from letting go of the lie of jesus is truly awesome. I became surrounded in love and acceptance, peace and serenity. I true awakening of unparalleled proportions.

    Don’t you dare give up on yourself, as you have been doing.

    Don’t let those cheering you on to keep your faith influence you. My experience is that they have a vested interest in you keeping your faith cuz they want the safety in numbers. They would likely abandon their faith if there was not a community around them sharing it (which is why religions tend to exist in clusters).

    As someone who has lived both sides, I can tell you what it is like to let go of belief it in a way they cant. Why would anyone want to listen to one someone who has only side of the story? It is all that they have! You have been liberating yourself one step at a time, and it is inspiring to watch. You know the freedom of "coming out". Scary and uncertain to be sure, but worth mustering the strength to live the truth. You know the freedom of letting go of lies that were fed to you by well meaning members of society. You can also know the freedom, power and joy of letting go of lies that were fed to you by well meaning members of the church (although this is harder if you were fed these stories as a child when you can't really think for yourself, since they were hard-wired into your developing brain)

    Never give up. Never give up. Never give up on Mark. Decide for YOURSELF how many of the thousands of magical invisible creatures (gods) that have been created are really out there. Don't allow decisions you made as a child run your life as a man. Never give up on yourself and I think you too will get there. And then you will really see the light.

    Gods, like people, are born and then they die. Zeus was born of man and is now dead, Odin was born of man and is now dead, Jupiter was born of man and is now dead, Yahweh too was born of man and one day will be dead from the earth. Can I say with absolute certainty that no gods exist? No, but I cant help but think of all the poor souls who admirably dedicated their lives to Odin, Zeus, etc. What a waste. They all believed that their parents were right, and that the “crazy” gods in other parts of the world were figments of the imagination of all the other kids parents. Ego-centricity at its finest. All those kids are just as certain that you parents fed you figments of their imaginations. What if the American Indians were the select few who got it right and the “Spider Grandmother” is up there looking down at us with dismay. We can't say she is not real either, but it is easy to see how ridiculous a religion is when one is not converted into it as a child. Good luck my friend.

    Save yourself, Mark. You are the creator!

    PS Just in case this post is too old I may post it to a more recent thread.