Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Be Ok

It has been a good day today. I've found myself humming "Be Ok" by Ingrid Michaelson. It came on the radio last week one day when I was feeling down, and I have had it in my head off and on ever since. Good, simple, heartfelt plea.

I just want to be ok, be ok, be ok, I just want to be ok today...
I just want to feel today, feel today, feel today
I just want to feel something today
I just want to know today, know today, know today
Know that maybe I will be ok.

Yesterday I was a bit depressed about recent lessons in Relief Society and I couldn't figure out how to get out of my funk. I eventually made a decision and emailed the RS President. In a nutshell, I told her that I was having a hard time with one sister's lessons in particular, and that I was going to be missing RS on the second Sundays for a while.

During my prep time at work, I was listening to an album by Kenneth Cope, "Women at the Well". One song in particular ("If Thou had Been Here") is so meaningful to me as I sang it a year or two ago with a friend in the ward as part of the Easter program in Sacrament meeting. The song is from the view of Martha and Mary, wondering why Christ did not come soon enough to heal their sick brother. Then they realize that because He came so late, the miracle was much more dramatic as he raised Lazarus from the dead. As I sang through the words while grading papers, I couldn't help but think that often in order to accomplish the greatest things, God does things we don't understand that hurt us at the time, and then later we can see His whole plan and be grateful for it. Wow. Everything will be ok.

It seems that yesterday was truly a manic Monday for many of us. On the 5 minute or less ride home from the elementary school, I found out that the neighbor girl had been called a liar by one of her friends, and it was something that I knew personally she wasn't lying about. I said something to calm her tears, and convinced her that everything will be ok.

Then my oldest son shared with me that he had told some of his friends about his plans to crochet an afghan, and how the friends laughed at him (I didn't think to warn him of that when he told me his plan the night before, dang it!). "Why are boys expected to like sports; I don't like sports; and why isn't it okay for a boy to want to crochet a blanket? I don't get it." Tears started to sparkle in his eyes.

As the neighbor girl climbed out of the mini-van, I gave her a hug and told her that even if her friend didn't believe her, that the important thing was that she wasn't lying, and Heavenly Father knew that, too. She smiled, said thanks, and walked across our yard to her house. As I watched her go, I realized that my words to her had been words to myself as well. This lady in Relief Society might not believe that it is okay for me to disagree with Prop 8, but I know that Heavenly Father knows what is in my heart, and everything will be ok.

Today when I woke up, the sadness was gone. As I faced the school day, I was distracted by my desire to send the RS president another email. Try as I might, I still couldn't stay on task, so I finally decided to give into my distraction. It didn't take long; I had written part of it the day before.

Dear RSP,

I just felt like sharing this quote. I heard about the lesson on Sunday. I thank my Heavenly Father for giving me a reason to stay home. I know without a doubt that He had a hand in my decision to do so. I am grateful that He is so mindful of me. I pray for [the teacher] to be mindful of me as well. I know she has good intentions and that she doesn't mean to hurt me, or if she does know she is hurting me, that it is only for my eternal salvation, which she feels is worth the pain, I guess. The problem is that in reality my eternal salvation is only at risk because she is pushing me away, otherwise I believe I would be fine. (This same problem is happening in wards throughout the church with others that hold my view and hers.)

From the Salt Lake Tribune:

Latter-day Saints are free to disagree with their church on the issue without facing any sanction, said L. Whitney Clayton of the LDS Quorum of the Seventy. "We love them and bear them no ill will."

Thanks for your support. I am so sorry to burden you with all of this.



P.S. I would like to share my thoughts with how I stand with all of this at the moment. I know I kind of told you a couple of weeks ago, after my testimony, but maybe I should put it in writing so that you can understand where I am coming from a little better. Feel free to share this with anyone in the ward that you think would benefit from it. Thanks

I have a testimony of the gospel of Jesus Christ. I know that the LDS church is blessed with leaders that are inspired to do what is best for the church. I believe that God had a purpose to inspire the leaders of the church to be involved in the campaigns against gay marriage. I do not believe that they would have been so involved in the political process without having prayed about it first.

However, that does not mean that I am not entitled to my own inspiration and revelation for myself. Due to personal experiences, my mind and heart cannot side with banning gay marriage. I have been a member of the church my entire life, and I have never had this kind of inner conflict before, and I also know the process for receiving personal revelation. I studied both sides of the issue, I attended the temple, and I prayed, but still I was in turmoil and could not find peace in agreeing with the leaders of the church. Finally, instead of praying to know that what the church was doing was right, I prayed to know if it was okay to have the opinion that I have. Finally, I was able to taste the sweet peaceful feeling of my Heavenly Father's love. He spoke to my heart and told me that it is okay for me to have the view that I have.

I don't know why he has revealed this to me when the church has received other revelation, but I think it is because he has given me an important calling right now to help and love some of his precious children and bring them unto him. I cannot fully empathize with them and help them to feel of God's love for them without having the peaceful view that I do for same-sex marriage. Just like a speaker shared in our regional conference meeting, I cannot ignore the promptings and calling that the Lord has given me at this time. Also, I cannot let the fact that others fear for my soul and call me to repentance throw me back into turmoil. I know what God has told me, and I know that He knows it, and I cannot deny it. I feel that I need to stay active in the church to set an example for my friends, but it is getting harder and harder to do so when I am continuously called to repentance by a sweet sister in the ward.

I don't know what else to do or what else to say to help you understand. I can only pray for you that you too will find peace, not with gay marriage, but rather that I am doing what I am supposed to be doing right now in my life. Trust me that my trust is in God, not man, and that I must follow his promptings to me personally. I am not going to be an anti-christ and spread a message against the Prophet of God. But I am going to spread a message of peace and love toward all men.


She responded this time.

Sarah - Thanks for sharing your thoughts and trusting me. I appreciate your love and concern. May the Lord continue to bless us in our individual lives and may you know and feel of my love for you. Love Ya, RSP

The rest of the day, I just felt like everything was going to be ok.

I just want to know today, know today, know today
Know that maybe I will be ok.

I DO know, I WILL be ok, and I AM ok today.


Pieces of Me said...

Sarah, that is an awesome email, very well thought out, and said with LOVE, not anger or bitterness. I am proud of your decision to stand up and speak your mind, or at least let the RS president know....

Evan said...

Sarah, that's an awesome letter.

And I LOVED the jams!

Beck said...

Sarah - You're okay!

Ezra said...

You're a stronger person than I. I'd probably just fester and stop going... but I'm not convinced I ever was truly "converted", being born into the church and all, so it's been eas(ier) for me to leave.

Elizabeth said...

Sarah - Reading your letter to the RS president, brought me the peace (or closer to the peace anyway) I've been looking for as I struggle, again, due to extremely intimate personal reasons, to accept the churches stance on gay marriage.
Thank You.