It has been a roller coaster week, with much crying over my lack of temple recommend and my anxiety regarding church, and also with much celebrating over gay-straight alliance clubs and good friends, both in this community and in my ward. (In case you are not sure what is going on, Scott explains it well on his blog.)
Last Monday afternoon, I picked up my kids from school (I usually walk, but this time had the car) and we were just heading to the car when we met up with one of my neighbors. (Her son used to walk with us, but now he is riding his bike so I was confused why she was there.) She told me that she thought I might need someone to talk to. It turns out that she knew something was up with us because her husband (our home teacher) was called to help Scott give me a blessing Sunday night (to calm me from my insanity at that point). She kept thinking about me on Monday, knew she had heard me mention "blogging", and then "Googled" until she found my blog and read my post. I was incredibly touched by her effort and willingness to reach out to me.
Wednesday night when I drove my daughter to the church for Young Women's, even the anxiety I felt at driving her there (without even seeing anyone or going in the building) concerned me for how I was ever going to be able to handle attending church there again.
Every morning during the week I was left to my own thoughts while getting ready for school. I envisioned myself bearing my testimony on Sunday and saying goodbye to my ward. But the words that went through my head were bitter and painful, and probably not appropriate. Every time I even pictured seeing the bishop's face, I started having a panic attack. Even thought I have never been physically abused, I wondered if what I was feeling was possibly the result of verbal, emotional, and even spiritual abuse. I arrived at work a couple of mornings in a state of hyperventilation because I had been thinking about the bishop on the drive there.
Monday or Tuesday night I was again wracked with torment, sobbing uncontrollably. Scott helped me think through the options. Every possibility we thought of seemed to make my mental state worse: keep going to church, stop going to church...blah, blah, blah. Finally, I found peace and stopped sobbing when we discussed the possibility of attending a different ward, maybe even across town with family or other friends. We talked to our children about it and asked them to think about the possibility and be honest with us.
By Thursday, we had not made any definite decisions since we were not yet able to meet with the Stake President (we finally have an appointment for NEXT Sunday). But I did decide that Scott and I would stay home on Sunday and read some church books in peace and quiet while Hidden and Over-the-Rainbow took our kids to church. I was happy with the decision for this week, knowing that we could continue to discuss our options and make a final decision later, perhaps with the S.P.'s help. We had everything planned out.
Then I woke up to my alarm this morning and could not go back to sleep. I was nervous and unsettled. I prayed to understand my nervousness, and got the answer that I needed to go to church. Wow. I immediately got up and started getting ready, and soon we were all in our normal Sunday morning routine.
As I was getting ready, a new "testimony" for today was going through my head, not one of goodbye, but one about my testimony of the Prophet and of the gospel, of following a path that associated with the down-trodden, just like our Savior when He served his ministry.
During Sacrament meeting, I did not feel inclined to bear my testimony. The prompting never came, so I didn't. But going through it in my head before the meeting was good for me. The meetings were good. I had no anxiety being there. The only discomfort at all was a twinge of sorrow when they announced Stake Temple day this upcoming week, including a meeting in the chapel and a dinner in the cafeteria. We had signed up for the dinner last week before finding out that we would not be able to go.
Relief Society was about compassion. At one point during the lesson it felt right for me to speak up. I spoke of how I never realized that choosing to be compassionate could result in such sacrifice. That it was forcing me to choose between two wonderful things (read: moho parties and associating with my gay friends vs. keeping my temple recommend) and that even thought it was hard, I had to choose compassion. When I began to speak, I was completely stable and did not think I would become emotional, but I did toward the end of my comment. Over-the-rainbow and one or two other readers of my blog in the room knew exactly what I was talking about. A couple of others reached out to me after the meeting, and without telling them what was going on, I told them that I had planned not to be there today, but that I was glad I had come. They expressed their love and gratitude for me.
I know I have dragged all of you on this roller coaster ride with me. I have no idea where it is going or where it will end up. All I know is that God is guiding my life, and in the end, everything will have had a purpose and will have been for the best.
Thank you for your love and prayers.
4 weeks ago