Monday, August 12, 2019

I, the Samaritan

In many ways, I have been richly blessed in my life.

The Spirit led me to a career that has made it possible to support my children. I have been raised in a faith that has sustained me and given me joy when life has often given me little reason for it.

But I am a Samaritan.

I am divorced and remain unmarried. For a host of reasons, I do not anticipate marrying in the temple again, and so I will not marry. To make things worse, I do not easily fit into the typical category of the divorcées and widows, available when the youth need a service project and otherwise silent.

My sins are branded on my face. I could not hide them if I wanted to. They have beaten me, wounded me, left me for dead on the side of the road. They are made plain to me every time I go to church, every time I think longingly of peace I once felt in the temple. There is no escape from being repeatedly reminded of my failures if I want to remain faithful in the Church.

Having picked myself up off the side of the road, filled with a keen knowledge of my faults and my choices which made me a victim, I once decided that I would speak the things I had learned. That I would watch for others who are bleeding and broken.

I have no righteousness, no pride left to protect. It is right that I should allow myself to be labeled, to speak when there are so many who hurt too much to speak. They need to know, I thought, that they are not alone. They need to know, I hoped, that they could come to me and find rest and healing. 

I thought that I would be able to help others like me, but the reality has been far broader. Yes, I have spoken to many who have escaped abusive eternal marriages, tried desperately to scrape together a healthy life for their children, and weathered battle after battle.

But others have also come. Those whose sisters and brothers have left the church in a rainbow explosion. Those whose children can barely stay alive, let alone faithful, who suffer silently believing that an intact and eternal family can never be theirs. Those who, behind an outward appearance of stalwart faith, struggle silently, their wounds hidden expertly under their white shirts and ties, their maxi dresses and heels.

With the things my children are going through, with my own horrible tendency to open my mouth and testify against easy answers and religion that can be summarized with 140-character quotes pasted on pretty backgrounds, I am a pariah. I am not one of the core families of the ward. I am not someone who can be relied on to fulfill any calling I'm given, so I'm given only those things that don't matter.

I am a Samaritan, and I can never be anything else. I have no hope in the covenant path of eternal marriage. I see no promises for me that can be fulfilled in this life or the next. But I know my God. If I am not part of God's chosen people, I will still serve as I can, lick up whatever crumbs may fall, and trust God that I can be happy in the eternal role He chooses for me.

If I can heal others, what I have experienced will be worth it. The gospel can't be a list of reasons we are different from each other. The gospel of the Savior I know is a gospel for all, but most especially for us sinners.

Maybe the Samaritan stopped because, even though he carried a keen awareness that he was unclean, undesirable, that the man he tried to help might be one who would revile him if the situation were different, he was too aware of his own need for healing to be able to pass by. 

The bandages of a Samaritan, a Canaanite, or a Syrophenician, earned through bitter experience, might be exactly what is needed to bind up broken hearts.

You don't have to be one of God's elect to help his children.

1 comment :

  1. "I see no promises for me that can be fulfilled in this life or the next."

    Hang in there. D&C 76:5-10.


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