40 Years in America

Victoria Clevenger

One of the most profound (and definitely most challenging for me) aspects of being a Unification Church member is the Blessing. Allowing someone else to choose my spouse and committing to making it work to me is an act of sincerest faith. Itís not hard to believe world peace can come through ideal families. The hard part was creating my own "ideal family."

Shortly after my blessing, I (and my husband) suffered through a period of time during which I was convinced I could never be happy with him unless he changed radically, and I was making a list to detail what he would need to do so that I could love him! Three important insights came from that struggle. The first came at the end of a day spent being more depressed and hopeless than I had ever been before. I was so lost in my bleak thoughts that I "knew" Iíd never be happy unless I left the church, and thus left him.

Amazingly, I got the surprise opportunity at the end of that day to see the Rocky movie in which Apollo, Rockyís former enemy, and an African-American, is coaching him to beat Mr. T. Thereís a scene on a beach in which Apollo and Rocky are racing as part of the training, and finally Rocky beats Apollo. Both are so happy that they embrace. I grew up in the South and joined the UC in large part because I saw it as the only way to end racism, which I hated. When I saw this African-American and this white man who had been enemies, hugging, it really clicked inside for me that the universe is a field of love energy. We can get way out of touch with it, but love is the ultimate ground of being -- not the pit of despair and blackness I had been experiencing.

The second was to realize that rather than praying that my husband change, I should ask, "What is it for me to maturely love?"

The third was finally accepting that Godís simple answer to my desperate prayer was true. I had pleaded to know how could I ever be happy with my spouse. Godís answer was, "Youíll be happy when you change." He was right.

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