Tuesday, March 12, 2013

A Wounded Heart

There was a time when I loved discussion. There was nothing I liked better than mulling over an idea in an environment of healthy opposition. But something has happened to me over the last year. My care is broken, and I'm not sure why.

Perhaps it is because people seem so bent on proving other people wrong. It's not about exchanging ideas or sharing a different perspective. It's about passion. Whoever yells the loudest and can get the most friends rallied to their cause wins.

I thought it was stupid in grade school when mutual nemeses started lunchtime fights, and it hasn't gotten any more attractive in full grown adults. I think that's a big part of why I haven't been participating in blogging much any more. I don't comment nearly as much, I don't even write that much. I'm just over it.

Blogging lends itself to contention. The more divisive an issue, the more reward the original poster gets in the form of hit numbers and comments. Fewer people want to hear about real-life applications of faith, or forgiveness in the midst of struggles, which are the things I desperately need to hear about right now.

Up until now, I still dipped my toes into the water now and then, but for the most part it hasn't been worth it. Which is why I've asked to be removed from the Mormon Archipelago blogroll. I have no idea how long it will take before my blog is unlisted, but I'm done commenting, done reading, done discussing. There are a few blogs that I'll still watch from my personal blogroll (right), but I'm paring those down, too.

Partly, this comes from the new place I have found myself. Enough things have beaten me up in life that I've just lost my will to go on fighting for hope and faith. I fully intend to continue to live my life as I have, because I know that I had the passion for it at one time, and still have a smidgeon of hope that I will again. Living life as a disciple of Christ is hard. I'm far from a good example of one, but still I try. Constantly monitoring my motivations and behavior, trying my best to respond with kindness in the face of animosity despite how deeply such words abrade my already-pulverized heart, has drained me far past my resources. I'm living in emotional bankruptcy and no longer giving out loans. Or gifts.

I think this is a larger outgrowth of my dating hiatus. Dating has been an extension of my experiences with marriage, where I am seen as an object to fulfill men's needs and desires, not as a person with validity in my own right. And when I comment on blogs, I've tried so hard to extend benefit of the doubt, to open up the raw and vulnerable places in my heart in order to share some of the things I have learned through my wounds. And the reaction is invariably to dispense more lashings. It is probably because I fail thoroughly at communication, just like my marriage. I just can't seem to phrase things in a way that doesn't offend.

And I'm so weary of trying to not give offense at the same time that I'm trying so hard to not be offended. It's exhausting on every level.

What I want to do from here on out is write without fear of the reactions my words will garner. Rather than feeling unable to speak the words of my heart because I don't know how to word them properly, or because I am ignorant in certain ways, I want to pour out my heart in the equivalent of public prayer. Not because I'm exhibitionist, but because I am hoping that by witnessing some small part of my struggle to form a relationship with God others will be inspired to do the same, or will gain hope for their own difficulties in the endeavor.

The more experienced I get, the more I am convinced that salvation is a group effort. No one is saved alone. The struggles of others to learn how to love an ultimately incomprensible God can grant me insight in my own struggle. And hopefully, the reverse is also true. We can be edified and rejoice together, holding hands as sisters and brothers in this journey through the hardships in fulfilling the Plan of Exaltation. We can bind up each others' broken hearts, and find joy in it.


  1. I can understand what ur feeling, as women we tend to be the ones who love and caregive, as our bodies change, we need to be nurtured also, taking time for self is very important, even Jesus took time for himself and prayed to our father, fasting and restoring his emotional well being for the last days he was here, so that he was able to endure to the end, as we give to others, might we all remember to give to ourselves, so that we may also endure to the end.

  2. SilverRain, you are right to notice that there are many who are more interested in being divisive than in real-life applications of faith and forgiveness. You are right to decide to pull back from that. It might be different if it were something you were required to participate in, like for a class or something, but when it is your choice and you seek to be edified and to make a difference, you have to find places that will both share edifying ideas and respond respectfully, otherwise you risk being dragged down. (You lasted way longer than I ever did..)

    There are some who will be offended regardless of how an expression of faith is expressed. Being punished regardless of how much you try to express your ideas respectfully is very demoralizing.

    I don’t think you should stop blogging completely. You have a unique perspective that others can and do benefit from. There are people out there who have had similar experiences but who don’t necessarily have the gifts to write about it and I’m sure that they are strengthened by the things you have shared. There are people out there who haven’t experienced the pain of what you have and who will have their horizons broadened by what you write. Perhaps your writing can help them understand and have compassion where they hadn’t thought it was needed. I know I appreciate your perspective. You have a ton of grit and I highly admire that.

    You are right that it is draining to constantly monitor personal motivations and behavior. I have felt it too. I have sometimes wondered why it is so hard and marveled that it is hardly ever talked about. It is worth it, however. These are the battles that have to be fought and won in the soul to become more like Christ.

  3. Completely understand. We all have ups and downs in our desire to put ourselves out in writing and commenting, which can certainly be effected by the reactions we get. Some people enjoy the controversy, not seeming to mind when they step on others beliefs and understandings. It can make it difficult for others to want to join in, no matter how honorable the original intention.

    I've really enjoyed your posts, I think simply because they are not always trying to be controversial. This is part of you that you are willing to share with the world, no need of justification. Some things have brightened my days, some made me think of something anew, and some make me wish I could do more than watch from across the internet.

    Those of us who do read are glad for what we get, and continue to hope for more.

  4. I go through periods of time when I feel as you're feeling. Usually they don't last. Clearly, there is a lot of contention on the Internet. It's pretty much omnipresent, and has been going from the start. (My first Internet comment was on my Prodigy account in 1994, and was mostly calling someone a twerp for dissing Shakespeare - and I know people who go several years back farther than that, back to the time when the Internet was just a few nerds, and those nerds report that argument was the rule of the day.)

    Obviously, I think we should be as kind as possible and as open as possible. But a lot of the hot button issues get play precisely because they are deeply important to people. They are going to generate heat. But because they are important we need this kind of unstable, difficult ground to negotiate. It seems to me that willingness to forgive is going to remain at least as important as willingness to forego.

    Anyway, I've noticed that over the years that your observations have become increasingly subtle, individual, and valuable, especially as an active member with some painful history. I always take note when you post. Should you choose to quit blogging, it is a loss to the ... project at large ... Whatever it is that is going on. :)


  5. I was shocked at the end of your post to see something that has been running in my mind in precisely those same words this morning: salvation is a group effort. It was a second witness of the importance of the principle, and the focus. I get the desire to avoid the contention. I have way scaled back my participation in the bloggernacle, something that I've only participated in for a year. It's been enough. I hope the raw feeling begins to heal, but I understand the worth of going through raw. Blessings to you.

  6. SilverRain, may I have the temerity to suggest a book, "Your Erroneous Zones" by Wayne W. Dyer. I actually have not read the book, but a therapist I was seeing many years ago introduced me to the concepts. It took me a long time get the ideas from my brain and into my heart, but they have helped me cope with so many things in life, especially with my own view of myself.

    Now I can chuckle or even laugh aloud when I read a caustic reply to one of my posts. I have learned to look at the world and myself as they really are and not through another person's lens.

    I am saddened that you feel you need to withdraw from blogging, but I respect you decision. I have found your posts to be insightful and thought provoking.

    I do hope that you can find a friend and confidant to help you through this period of self-doubt and pain.


  7. Don't give up the faith. But definitely choose wisely where to concentrate your efforts. You are wise and good and make a difference in the world.

  8. I got to a point with some fellow bloggers where I just had to say goodbye to them as I did not enjoy arguing about the minutia of things whereas they did. I was never going to meet their overly-stringent ideas of what makes one Godly, so I wished them well and haven't been back to the website. They aren't really my friends, though I imagined they were at one time.

  9. PS On a religious note, the idea of communal salvation is nothing actually new. I have heard this theory before. But yes, I'm down with not arguing about it as none of us actually know.

  10. Let me then take the opportunity now to thank you for your consistent voice on the bloggernacle, in case it doesn't come around again. I find your message about "owning your own pain" to be at the heart of the gospel and the most powerful relationship with God through the atonement. I LOVE that so many posts and comments I've seen from you focus not on changing others or circumstances over which there is no control, but instead on seeking healing from God even if nothing changes. That kind of trust in God is not often expressed, or if it is, it isn't always expressed well.

    I learned those same principles through a similar but obviously different path than you did...but that simple truth has had the most powerful effect on me and the way that I seek God and the way that I encourage others to do the same.

    I'm sure that if you won't be doing it as much in an online fashion...you'll be doing it in a more personal sphere of influence, and in that I wish the best of luck and God's blessings.

  11. Thank you so much for the support of all of you. It has really meant a lot to me that you would take the time to commiserate, advise, and share your own experience. The good thing that comes from online blogging is the amazing connections that can be found with people you'd otherwise never know.

    You're wonderful.

  12. Silver Rain,

    Did you watch Elder Hollands talk on Sunday during General Confrrence? It made me think of you. Hope you are doing well!!

  13. Silver Rain,

    Did you watch Elder Hollands talk on Sunday during General Confrrence? It made me think of you. Hope you are doing well!!

  14. Yes, I did. Thank you! His talk was, as usual, exactly what I needed to hear.


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