Sapphires in September
How do I describe the torment that has privately racked my soul for so long—finally purged from me in a moment so exalted, I fear I shall never know this lack of feeling ever again?
I feel no burning in my bosom, no radiance of any kind to confirm that what I have done is the beginning of anything significant. I desire none. For once, within me is perfect stillness—and if I close my eyes, I can see to the core of my soul with perfect clarity. Beyond anger, beneath grief, and buried under years of hatred is a solitaire of Mercy—my most precious gift. My tragedy.
I can see it so clearly—my parting promise given to me in a more celestial sphere. My brother, the Prince of peace and broken pieces, embraced me for the last time to the sound of worlds colliding in my breast to form a single perfect gem. He knew that dusty flesh alone could not suffice for suffering. And in this moment of ultimate sacrifice, I knew I needed to have that piece of Heaven closer to me more than I ever had before.
And so I surrendered beautifully, placing myself upon the altar. I closed my eyes to the knife in His hand and pleaded silently.
And for the first time, I felt gentle hands embracing my world. With inspired calmness, I picked out the envelope I would use to invite His miracle. I wrote my father’s name and felt no pounding in my ears. My mind was blank of my father’s voice, empty of his face, and devoid of fear both of him and for him as I wrote my name above the return address. I did not pause as I opened my purse and took out my pocket-sized Book of Mormon—my liahona, my iron rod, the rock of my salvation. My greatest treasure. A gift I had given myself for surviving my hellish odyssey to Utah—for the faith that carried me over a thousand miles and at least a dozen states—of mind and lines alike.
Everything I had and ever would trust—and it fit into the palm of my hand.
I did not pause to consider any of my own feelings as I unceremoniously jammed life and letter into an envelope and paid a stranger (my receipt says his name is Ryan) two dollars and thirty-three cents to send it to my grandmother. A note printed carefully on the back instructs, “Please be sure that he gets this.” As the only one who bothered to teach me about God as a child, I have to trust that she will listen to Him.
The preparations had been made, and so I folded my arms and said the prayer that would begin the transformation I had been avoiding for years. The crowds of people surrounding me seemed to disappear as I ascended the stairs.
Please open his heart. May he no longer resist what he should have been all along. Please let this work so I never have to go through this again.
And for the first time, every part of me became a sacrifice. I felt the firm tugging and pulling against my heart strings as His tender hands began to work their wonders deep into my soul. Somewhere between the bookstore and my dormitory, the anesthesia wore off and I felt the jarring forces grinding against my understanding until I was gasping for air. I wanted to hide, but I could not escape what had been so permanently done to me. For me.
Hunched against a washing machine in the basement of Hinckley Hall, I pled for guidance from tissue paper revelations bound in burgundy; opened to a random page...
...and winced when I saw that the passage in 3 Nephi was taken from Isaiah. How could I understand conundrums and fortune cookie language at a time like this?
Then I recognized the chapter, and I could barely read for blind and breathless awe.
These tears are the only sacrament that matters to me right now—a baptism of a different kind. A sacrifice without blood. Atonement without crosses. Shred of Mercy in a clenched hand. As I opened my eyes, the sacrifice complete, tears cascading freely down my face, I beheld the jewels of prophecy that had been promised me for so long…
O thou afflicted…Behold, I will lay thy stones with fair colors, and lay thy foundations with sapphires.