Monday, February 26, 2018

The Pride of My Heart: Doing it Myself

And so great were their afflictions that every soul had cause to mourn; and they believed that it was the judgments of God sent upon them because of their wickedness and their abominations; therefore they were awakened to a remembrance of their duty. —Alma 4

There are so many things about recovering from a divorce you once swore you would never allow to happen, and subsequently coparenting with someone who likely has serious mental issues that gives a person "cause to mourn." I have been mourning the loss of my marriage and the loss of peace and freedom for years now. Until recently, I haven't been able to truly look at the cause of my afflictions and (hopefully) see them for what they are.

All of the pain I felt over losing my marriage wasn't because of him. To be accurate, by the time it came down to him leaving, I had been so exhausted from trying to make things work, the moment I was free of him was a huge burden off my back. It was because I thought that my choices and attempts to do God's will could keep bad things from happening to me. That I was the one who had to initiate the divorce was just another layer of cognitive dissonance.

I just realized that in the years since, I've been blaming myself. Because I had been feeling the "judgments of God," I was convinced it must have been because of my wickedness. And I've been tearing myself apart ever since to try to find out what it was I had done wrong. I didn't cry "WHY?" to the heavens because I felt I deserved it. I hungered to know what I needed to change about myself to be counted among the righteous and to feel safe again.

The past few years have held introspection and change which will remain in my personal journals. While I'm an unlikely to be done mourning, I am done blaming myself for others bad choices. I know what has truly happened, and God shall judge.

The interesting thing about Alma's people in the scripture above is that less than two years later:

...the people of the church began to wax proud, because of their exceeding riches.... and all manner of precious things, which they had obtained by their industry; and in all these things were they lifted up in the pride of their eyes, for they began to wear very costly apparel.

My "riches" aren't such as to make me proud. I've never cared much for money, beyond having enough to not worry about providing for my family. But it struck me that my independence is my version of riches.

The other day in church, we were having one of the new month-end "counsels" as a Relief Society, and we were talking about what we could do to help other people. In that conversation, it was said to me, "you would have no problem asking for help if you need it."

I was shocked. I have never asked for help, except it was like pulling teeth. My home teacher didn't gain enough trust for me to ask him for anything until he'd been consistently coming for over a year. And even then, I found it embarrassing. I make it an issue of personal pride to not be a burden to the ward. And yet, my willingness to speak up in church was somehow conflated with being willing to ask for help.

I don't ask for help, because I don't want to be one of those single moms who is nothing but a burden to the Church. I can't do it. It's not in my makeup. But I need to stop being proud of it. Being willing to ask for help is as much a part of building Zion as "self sufficiency." They are two sides of the same coin.

The underlying reason I won't ask for help, however, is the same that made me someone who was abused. I would rather give than receive. I don't want to need anything from anyone. I don't want to be vulnerable that way.

In my most recent romantic relationship, I found myself once again doing all the emotional labor to make the relationship work. And I've reached the end. Healthy relationships both give and receive. It's okay to need something from someone as much as you're willing to give to someone. That is the sort of vulnerability that builds bonds.

I think so, anyways. I haven't really gotten the hang of it, yet.

Now this was the cause of much affliction to Alma, yea, and to many of the people whom Alma had consecrated to be ateachers, and bpriests, and celders over the church....

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