Wednesday, May 28, 2008

From Shadow to Joybreak: an Emmaversary

The scriptures are full of something they like to call “types and shadows,” certain people or situations that remind us of our Savior. Moses was a type (Jesus is the prophet like unto Moses, Deut 18:18; Acts 3:22; 1st Nephi 22:20). The brass serpent Moses raised up was a shadow (if we would but look, we might be saved, Num 21:9; John 3:14; Alma 33:19), as is the Paschal lamb (Ex 12:5; 1st Peter 1:19). During the Old Testament times, the purpose of these types and shadows was to point the mind forward, inspire hope and faith, and teach something about who the Messiah would be, to prepare the hearts of the people to receive Him when He came. They are also there so that we, looking back, can say, “It was you all along” (Isa 48:5).

I have a little theory. I don’t know how universal it is. I don’t know how accurate. But I have a new little theory. I’m starting to think that God prepares us for our spouses as well by creating types and shadows of them. As we meet those shadows, whether in person or books or movies, something within the soul rings out a tone of eternity, and we are touched and excited by them. As we then look back, we can say, “Of course. It was you all along.”

The original title of this post was going to be: I’m in Love with My Emma. But as I wrote it, I realized (apart from being needlessly mischievous), that I was learning something about me and about Joy from these fictional women I was rhyming off. So now a grander, more fitting title, the moral I learned tonight, and then … the rest of the story:

Journal excerpt, Friday, Apr 25:
We’ve been reading Emma this year, and we just got to the part where Mr. Knightly and Emma reveal their feelings for each other. I love this scene so much! I enjoyed and relished and really hammed up my reading of it. When I told Joy how much I love it, she asked why, and I went into rapturous comparisons between my own struggles to win her with his to win Emma.

Oh, the trepidation I felt approaching her for the first time to tell her my intentions were quite serious! It took me a month from the time I realized them to get up the courage. I told her I wasn’t asking [yet!], but just telling her that it was my goal to make her fall madly in love with me so she would marry me. Like Knightly, I bet that the best outcome I could hope for was that she would keep talking to me. After my Emma calmed down from not-quite hyperventilating, she told me she couldn’t say yes, but she couldn’t say no either. (Whew!)

Neither his Emma nor mine realized just how much in love with her knight-ly in shining armor she was, least ways, not for most of the book. My Emma asked me several times during our courtship if we couldn’t just remain friends forever. I told her that was exactly what I wanted: to be friends forever and ever and ever. Eternally sealed friends. … I don’t think she appreciated that answer then as much as she does today.

Some people say that the first year of marriage is the hardest. Some say the third. Some say the fifth (what’s up with these odd numbers anyway?) Our stake president told us that it’s the first 50,000 years that’s the hardest. Once you get through that, it’s a lot easier. As Knightly testified, she has borne with me as no other woman could. She has borne with me for three blissful years of flagrant matrimony.

But Joy has many other names too. Rather than go through all the comparisons (I’ll do that with Joy later tonight!), I’ll just start listing a few of the wonderful leading ladies who were created as a type and shadow of her. How many of these heroines can you identify, and how are they like the Lovely and Gracious?

Joy is my Emma, my Arwen, and my Anne with an e.
She is my Lizzie, my Jane, and my own Fanny.
Joy is my Fiona, my other Fiona too,
My Belle, my Sabrina, and my Roxanne true,
My Dear Friend, and my Marguerite.
By any other name, she still maketh me complete.

Most recently, as we discussed why we have different reactions to a certain book we’ve been asked to read, I discovered that she is Eden to my Milo.

Of course, none of these women is really Joy, just like none of the prophets are really Jesus, and they could never replace Him. How thankful I am for all these shadows who taught me first to hope and to dream, and now to gaze in awe-filled appreciation and wonder at the Lovely and Gracious She Who Said Yes.

1 comment:

themeese2 said...

Derrill, your post brought me to tears. I have not yet met my eternal spouse, but your thoughts have led me to think about many wonderful men I have had the opportunity to know in my life and the qualities in them that I have admired and/or yearned for. I find myself wondering if my associations with some of them, if not all of them, have been "types and shadows" of "he whom I will say 'Yes" to.'"

What a beautiful thought.