42 is a symbol of new chances and opportunities.
42 is the number of the exit you take off the highway to get to where we live.
42 is the answer to the ultimate question of life, the universe, and everything.
42 is the number of years Vaughn and I have been married, and that is the most important meaning of 42 at this moment.
It was a miracle from the beginning.
I knew this very cute, skinny guy’s name. He was a theatre major at BYU, as was I. But his emphasis was directing and mine was acting. I had met him the very first time when a friend of mine told me she was doing an acting scene for class with this really cute guy, and that I should come and meet him (thanks Genia!).
When I saw him the first time he was lying on his back on one of the blocks in the acting room that we used to represent scenery. His head was hanging off the edge. I don’t think he even sat up when she introduced me to him.
So beyond knowing his name, and thinking he was younger than me because of his very youthful look, I knew nothing about him. But he was, at the moment of the first part of the miracle, in a Tech Theatre class with me, and he was sitting behind me next to a good friend of mine (thanks Jim).
As I turned around in my seat to talk to that friend, my eyes passed over Vaughn, and a very clear voice said in my head:
“That is who you are going to marry.”
I have to say that was a startling moment. I remember thinking “Where did that thought come from?” I now believe the Lord was making sure I did not mess up this incredible thing that needed to happen in my life.
I think it was within a year of that moment that we were married. It was the most important decision I have ever made.
Vaughn really had no idea what he was in for. But he has never ever made me feel that he has regretted it in any way.
Vaughn married a quite depressed and damaged person from events that had happened earlier in my life. He knew that to some extent, but no one truly knows what living with someone will be like until they do it.
I got pregnant within a couple months after we were married, and 29 weeks after that we had our son Anthony, and we lost our son Anthony.
Some months after that I had gotten pregnant again, and within a few months we had lost that baby. A few months after that I had gotten pregnant again, a third time, and we had also lost that baby.
Somewhere around that time Vaughn came home from work, and he found me huddled on the floor in our closet. He had no idea what to do, but for some reason he just came into that closet with me and held me.
And he has been holding me ever since.
That is not to say I have always been metaphorically huddled in a closet at all. But things have been rough enough, for a large part of the 42 years, that if I had not had Vaughn, I know I would not be sane (some might question whether I am 😊, but let’s assume it for the sake of this post), nor even be alive now.
We have had such beautiful times together. We are just best friends.
We have loved doing theatre together. We have acted together a few times. Quite a few times Vaughn has directed plays that I was in. I have made costumes and done make-up for plays he has directed. I have been the Stage Manager for plays he has directed. He has built sets, done lights and sound, and been the Technical Director for plays I have directed. We have had our children with us during rehearsals, while building sets, and occasionally in the plays or helping with the sets, too.
We are happiest when we can work together. Neither of us does well if we are apart for a long time.
We have had a lot of animals in our life. We love them. We had so much fun on our farm. We loved the animals and working with them together. I remember once going on a trip to get some sheep and llamas. I remember being out in the field choosing our sheep. So fun! I loved it when we had baby animals. We had a few years there where we got to do that, until I got really sick.
For the first approximately 25 years of our marriage I suffered from major serious clinical depression. I was miraculously healed from that during a blessing. Then maybe a couple years later, I got Lyme Disease. No one knew what was really wrong with me for 6 years. I was misdiagnosed with Fibromyalgia. I got sicker and sicker over those years, and it finally started to affect me neurologically. Finally I had a Lyme test and it was positive. Then many courses of antibiotics, which did not help and finally ended me up in the ER with what seemed like a heart attack. And it has been a long road from there, just trying to stay functional to some degree with varying treatments, all of which cost a lot of money and are almost all not covered by insurance.
During our marriage I have sometimes been fun, and lots of times not been fun. I have been fat, and thin, and in between. I have been depressed and not. I have been sick and almost bedridden, and other times able to pitchfork manure out of stalls every day, day after day.
When I have been fat, or thin, or in between, Vaughn told me how beautiful I was. When I have been sick, he has taken care of me. When I have been depressed he has comforted me. He had to learn not to get pulled into the depression, in order to be able to help me. He always told me he knew I would be healed from that. Now he tells me he knows I’ll be healed from being sick. I try my best to believe him.
He has defended me and comforted me when others have judged me. He has never criticized me.
We have both gotten degrees while we were married. We have had babies, lost babies, and adopted babies. We have mostly homeschooled, but have also sometimes sent kids to school. We have moved 7 or 8 times, a couple times across the country. Twice we have moved with no job to go to because the Lord told us to.
We have made all our big decisions together by praying and often fasting about what we should do. We have been extremely united. I consider that a blessing from God because we must have needed it to be that way.
When we have not been too tired from a play, or working late, or taking care of children, we have liked reading to each other at night. We have read funny books sometimes, but it has mostly been the scriptures and books of a theological and spiritual nature. We have studied many spiritual topics together all of our married life. And we love to talk about the gospel.
I do not know anyone with more faith than Vaughn. He has been devoted to the Lord all his life, and he has never wavered in that. He has also always been very much his own person and therefore always at least somewhat unorthodox amongst the religious culture we spent most of our lives in. He has never cared hardly at all what people think of him. I am not like that. Sometimes I would have been more “comfortable” if he would have conformed more. But I am so grateful he doesn’t do that.
We have always been in sync in our religious beliefs. That has been an immense blessing, especially during the last decade or so, when we have lost friends, whatever respect we might have had, the culture we had lived in most of our lives, and even material things like jobs, etc., to do what we believe is right and to follow the Lord. It has been hugely difficult, and at the same time so wonderful that I am grateful for it all everyday. So is Vaughn. What an amazing thing to go through together.
Some years ago an old student of ours came to visit. He told Vaughn that he learned how to be a good husband by watching how Vaughn treated me. I was not surprised.
I was thinking about what would epitomize how Vaughn treats me. I walked out of the bathroom a day or so ago and Vaughn was just standing there smiling huge at me. “What?” I said. “Just looking at your beauty, my Babe” he said. That happens so very often. And every time it heals my battered soul a little more.
I don’t think anyone in this world has ever been loved better than I have. The whole thing has been an extended miracle.
42 incredible years. I am infinitely grateful.