Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Rejected and Despised

Another single man I knew and liked just got engaged. He is responsible, attractive in both personality and looks. He takes the Church seriously, and truly cares about God. And he wasn’t interested in me, even a little. He is only the latest in a long line of engaged people I've seen marry over the years since I divorced. At this point, every LDS male I’ve ever dated or been interested in is married or engaged to be married. There are no more for me.

I’m sure you might ask yourself how I can be so sure. Things happen, right? Well, in order for things to happen, you have to be in a place for them to happen. And I don’t have time for that. Because, while I am a single LDS woman whose faith has been tempered in the furnaces of mortality and who wants to be a good wife, I am first and foremost a mother, with everything that symbolizes and everything that means. I don't have time for singles' activities. My calling in the ward I can actually belong to makes it impossible to even go to singles ward.

And I am a mother, which means I have a past. I am not the dewy-eyed girl that good men of the priesthood have been promised as their prize for a well-spent mission. I am not innocent. I have scars, and many of them still hurt. My wounds are too deep. I am too jaded. Too overweight, too tall, too much, or too little. And as long as I do what the Church spent eighteen years teaching me to do, marrying only a return missionary in the temple, I will be alone. I am quickly getting too old to be the stay-at-home mom He commanded me to be with the large family He commanded me to have.

In the words of Taylor Swift, I’m not a princess, and this ain’t a fairytale. Or, as the great wizard Schmendrick said, there are no happy endings, because nothing ends.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

"Thy Will On Earth"

In my personal life, I have had opportunities to ponder what it means to be a member of this Church. As I watch people with experiences like mine churn against the practices and doctrines of the Church, I wonder if it is only a matter of time before I, too, fall away. Insight into why I can't seem to give up has come slowly and piecemeal. I'm not sure there is one large answer. All I know, is that I cannot turn my back on this Church any more than Joseph Smith could deny that he had seen a vision. It is not a perfect Church, and I do not understand it all. But I know it is Christ's church, and I can't deny it.

Not long before I graduated with a 4-year degree in veterinary medicine, I looked into vet schools. In the two years of my study, I had not truly realized how difficult it was to get into vet school, nor how expensive it was once you got there. I had spent two years carrying nearly the maximum credit load while working the full 20 hours/week I was allowed to work. I pulled a high B average, which is not bad but was less than I was capable of. I had gone year-round, and I was exhausted.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

A Friend to Hate

There is a meme that gains in popularity daily. It teaches that judgment, pain, and discomfort are bad. Tolerance, permissiveness, and acceptance are good. If we love someone, it says, we should never judge them. We should never hurt them. We should never make them uncomfortable or make them question what makes them happy. Tolerating their differences is required, celebrating them is ideal. Allowing people to do whatever makes them happy is the key to happiness. Accepting who they are will bring the most joy.

And it is all a lie.

"Acts of a friend should result in self-improvement, better attitudes, self-reliance, comfort, consolation, self-respect, and better welfare. Certainly the word friend is misused if it is identified with a person who contributes to our delinquency, misery, and heartaches. "—Marvin J. Ashton

I am in the middle of what could probably be termed the Long Chastening of my life. I have felt pain beyond what I thought I could bear. I feel separated from God, judged for my choices and found wanting. Yet all my pain and sorrow and feeling judged is nothing compared to what the Savior felt in the Garden of Gethsemane, as He suffered inexplicable pain to atone for the world while his closest friends fell asleep.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Getting Old and Becoming a Somebody

I did not post an Odyssey post last week because, even though I pondered the talks, I could not come up with anything to say. That just about happened this week, too. Writing on demand is not easy for me, nor is fitting into any group of people, which is why I decided to join in this writing effort. I thought, perhaps, it would stretch me outside of my comfort zone (as if I even have one any more) of personal development. And, it is a patently incredible idea which I would like to support.

The only talk from the October 1972 Friday Morning Session that had any real hope of squeezing through my cloudy brain this week was the one by the only name most people probably wouldn't recognize, titled "Becoming a Somebody".

Whether because I'm in that liminal area between young and middle-aged, or because I'm in the liminal area of being a single in a Church that emphasizes families, but with no real hope or intent to build an eternal family any more, or because I'm in the liminal area of being pushed so far past what I am capable of, I don't even know where I'm going any more, I have been fighting the growing feeling that I'm missing something.

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