Tuesday, June 25, 2013

I Believe in Broken Wings

A wonderfully caring and charitable comment by Glenn in my last post gave me reason to think, to evaluate the message I am sending with this blog. (Thank you for that, Glenn.) Sometimes my posts here seem very self-judgmental and harsh. But they only reveal a small part of who I am. I created this blog, very specifically, to illustrate the hardships of life in a doctrinal sense, to share my journey as a disciple in the hopes that it will bring hope and increase faith in others. These posts do not reveal the entirety of who I am, not even close, but they are the part that is meant for this blog. I have another, which I don't write in as often because many of my most beautiful and sacred moments are so personal, which focuses more on happiness in life and less on the sorrow and struggles. But in this blog, if I can look at my own weakness and failings and still find hope, maybe my example can lead others to hope, keep them from giving up. Sometimes the most beautiful song comes from those with broken wings.

I take my journey on this earth very seriously. I don't have many years here, and this opportunity to learn with an imperfect body and imperfect understanding is all too fleeting. Granted, I often examine my life far too critically. It's something I have always done, ever since I was three years old and my mom had to forbid me from writing my name for a week after finding me banging my head on the desk because I couldn't get one letter to look like hers. Perfectionism is a thorn I have always struggled with.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

My Best Two Years

I have often heard people refer to their missions as their best two years. There is even a movie about it. And I've heard many people mock the idea of a mission being their best two years. Usually because missions are so hard and miserable. Who can honestly enjoy being rejected on an hourly basis, working so hard at something with so little personal reward? You've got to be insane, or brainwashed. Or brain dead.

To be honest, my mission is not the best two-year span anymore, though it was. That honor currently goes to my most recent two years. But directly after my mission, I would have said it was my best two years without any hesitation. Not because it was fun. It was actually pretty terrible. I would explain, but that would be a VERY long blog post. So I'll give a light sampling. Under my first mission president, incredible focus was placed on memorizing the discussions. We were even considered "greenies" (newbie missionaries) until we had memorized and passed off word-for-word the first discussion. (They still had the seven discussions, then.) Eventually, we were expected to memorize them all.

I don't memorize. Generally, I think memorization is a waste of time that undermines comprehension, especially with something like missionary discussions. Being who I used to be, I vociferously refused to do it. (My poor 19-21 year old district leaders really got a workout trying to be my Priesthood leader through the entire duration of my mission. Any of them who still wish to serve God in a priesthood capacity after experiencing mission-me really deserve some kudos.) I did eventually cave, but only because my mission president told me that while I didn't have to do it, it would really help my district leader if I just bent to the unnecessary rule.

The bulk of my mission under this president was an ongoing battle of wills between me, my district/zone leaders, and the mission numbers.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Ritual Storytelling

"Mommy, can you tell me the story of when I was born?"

As I smiled and sunk into the familiar story, which I have told each of my children dozens of times, I watched their little faces. As I told of the pain of labor, little worry lines would appear between their eyebrows. They laugh at me as I reenact my groans of pain going over small bumps in the road and my ogre-like hollering as I went through active labor. But then comes the important part, for them, as I describe what it felt like when they finally entered the world, the look in their small dark eyes as they opened for the first time, how it felt to hold the perfect, tiny, new human being. I tell them what their eyes said to me, the way they smelled, how it felt when they took them away from me for the first time. I tell them how special they were to me, how I felt to be a mother. I watch their eyes light up, their faces relax in satisfaction at knowing how loved they have always been.

They know how the story ends. They don't ask me to tell it because they want to hear the story. Rather, they need the message in the story and what it means regarding my connection to them, and theirs to me.

The Church has its stories, too.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Cultural Violence in a Mormon Setting

In working through the emotional sludge pit after finding myself in a marriage fraught with violence, I have developed a keen awareness of patterns of behavior and modes of thought that open the door to violence. Over time, I have realized that these red flags do not define domestic violence, nor guarantee it. But they do nurture it. The biggest red flag of them all is objectification of the opposite gender.

Objectification is very hard to define for someone who has never learned to see it. For one thing, it is almost necessary to objectify to a point. It is such a common thread of life, we hardly notice it. If we were to see each and every person we pass in our lives as a person, we could easily go insane. It's just too much to process the real needs, motivations, and basic humanity of everyone all at once. Our brain filters the influx of information to our conscious mind, and with people this means we don't always see them as more than a prop in our life. Because it is necessary to a point, the difference between necessary and inappropriate objectification is sometimes difficult to parse.

Popular Posts