Sunday, January 24, 2010

Disappointed or Relieved?

It has been a really strange day, filled with all kinds of emotion that I don't really understand.

Today was the premere showing of "8: The Mormon Proposition" at Sundance.

Some friends suggested Scott and I come with them this morning to the Queer Brunch at Sundance.  Scott RSVP'd for us a few days ago, and yesterday I finally made a decision that he should go have fun with the boys while I stayed home to take the kids to church.  Besides, it made me not feel as bad that I have a ticket to tomorrow night's showing of the documentary while he doesn't.

It was not a bad morning. Going to church by myself with the kids has become routine, and although it is still not what I would like to be doing, it is not as bitter as it used to be.  Everyone was friendly, as usual. None of the additional people in the ward (from our boundary changes) have yet asked me about my lack of husband. The talks were benign.  The kids were fairly well behaved.  There was nothing that should have made me feel badly at all.

But as Sacrament meeting progressed, I began to feel this shadow come over me.  I began to feel like I was on an alien planet, like I didn't belong, everything going on around me as though I wasn't even there.

The meeting ended, and my 4-year-old insisted that he did not want to go to primary.  I wondered if he was not feeling well, but after I told him he could stay with me, he acted fine, playing and talking with me like usual.  I told him he needed to be quiet in Sunday School with me, and he was, playing quietly with some finger puppets we brought with us.

Since I felt like I was in the wrong place anyway, I decided to take him for a walk.  He asked me if I was taking him to Primary.  I said maybe, and he pulled against me. So I said no, let's get a drink and go to the bathroom, and he was fine. I tried having him peek in the primary room to see his class.  Again he pulled me away from the door with  all of his might. His teacher came and tried to get him to come in, but he wouldn't have it. So he and I went to the empty Relief Society room to wait.  A room full of empty chairs, and I sat on the floor and sobbed. I texted Scott for comfort.  He figured I was freaking out because of the documentary.  I was actually glad to have my child with me, to help distract me and keep me company.  I sat at the piano and chose songs for Relief Society, and he made up his own tune on the piano. "Left, Right, Middle" he said, as he played the notes. He ate the old chocolate coins I had in my church bag. He continued to play with his puppets.  He sat on a chair and said, "Look Mom, I can be quiet."

As women started to trickle into the meeting from Sunday School, the primary president came and took him to class.  He went willingly, like as if he knew that my need for him was done and he could go. A friend (who happens to read my blog) came and sat behind me, and teased me for texting in church.  I told her I was chatting with Scott, that he might be able to buy a standby ticket for the documentary. I started to cry, telling her how nervous I was.  She comforted me, reminding me that I was only standing up for what I believed in and following the path that I thought was right for me.  The worse thing that could happen was someone could come bomb our house.  I knew she was just trying to make me smile, and it worked.  The Relief Society president came and gave me a hug.  I told her it was just the pregnancy hormones, not like there is anything else going on in my life. :) We laughed together as I dried my tears, the shadow of the last hour starting to fade, and my emotions and mood going back to what I would normally expect them to be at church.  I chose songs that comforted me, that applied to me, like "Do What is Right", "battle for freedom with courage and might", and this one:

Hymns, Guide Me to Thee, no. 101

1. Jesus, my Savior true,
Guide me to thee.
Help me thy will to do.
Guide me to thee.
E’en in the darkest night,
As in the morning bright,
Be thou my beacon light.
Guide me to thee.
2. Through this dark world of strife,
Guide me to thee.
Teach me a better life.
Guide me to thee.
Let thy redeeming pow’r
Be with me ev’ry hour.
Be thou my safety tow’r.
Guide me to thee.
3. When strife and sin arise,
Guide me to thee.
When tears bedim my eyes,
Guide me to thee.
When hopes are crushed and dead,
When earthly joys are fled,
Thy glory round me shed.
Guide me to thee.
    Text and music: Orson Pratt Huish, 1851–1932

As we were leaving church, Scott texted and said he had been able to buy a ticket; the premeire started in five minutes.  I was excited and anxious to get his report. I spent some time on facebook, and then took a nap until I heard back from Scott.

His news: there must have been some final editing since I emailed Reed, and I was not in it.

I wasn't sure whether to be relieved or disappointed.  I wanted my voice to be heard, but you, my readers, know how anxious it has made me, how I have assumed that my Stake President has been waiting for this before getting back to me about my recommend.  So it was a relief.  So much for being famous. I'm not cut out for that anyway.  That was not my intent, and if I really want to stay active in the church, it was maybe not the best thing to be associated with anyway.

When Scott arrived home, he told me about the documentary.  I do not often see him cry, but cry he did as he told me about some of the things that Reed included, like gay homeless kids in SLC that have been kicked out by LDS families and openly admitted that they have no hope, like a little girl who thanked the Mayor of San Francisco for her mommies (the effect this all has on real families), like the actual words of church leaders to members in CA that Scott said were gut-wrenching for him to hear.

So, tomorrow, when I attend the documentary myself, I will not be nervous, but I will be sure to take lots of Kleenex.  I really hope that this film can make a difference for those who have followed church leaders blindly in promoting politics, that they will truly realize what they have done. And I am not ashamed that I was able to interview, and that my story and voice were heard by those who have heard and seen that interview.  Maybe it made all the difference for one of the people in that room, knowing that there are church members like me and my daughter that care so much.


Madame Curie said...

Sometimes children known when their mamas need them nearby. I don't understand how they know, they just do.

I am bittersweet that your interview wasn't included. I am happy for your sake, because in a way it closes the book on a difficult time for you with respect to the Church, and you can rest easier knowing that you don't have to worry about what is out there, and who might see it. On the other hand, I am sure the movie lost an important voice by not having your voice heard.

Hope you are doing well, Sarah. We think of you often.

Ned said...

Dear Sarah, I'm so glad you found comfort from your son, your husband, your Relief Society sisters, the hymns of Zion and the news that your interview made it to the cutting room floor. ;)

I look forward to your report on the film.

Jenz said...

I am relieved for you. Very relieved.

Mister Curie said...

I hope you and Scott will both post reviews of the documentary. I'm interested in how it turned out. I'm hoping to be able to see it myself sometime soon.

Public Loneliness said...

I can only imagine the agnst you've been under and I'm glad that things somehow worked themselves out for you. I can't wait to see the film soon!

MoHoHawaii said...

I have really mixed feelings about this. I'm sad that LDS culture in your area is such that a person as devoted as you are to the church has to worry about ecclesiastical retaliation. On the other hand, I'm glad that since footage of you was cut from the documentary you won't have to deal with the fallout. This should make things easier for you. You don't need any additional stress right now!

When I came out, I remember being shocked at how quickly the church abandoned me. I was floored by the fact that the organization I had devoted my life to (mission, years and years of tithing, endless projects and fund raising for buildings, etc.) just dropped me. There was no effort at reconciliation or an attempt to understand my struggle. It was pure condemnation from the moment they found out I was homosexually oriented. I was an instant pariah. Like you, I think I was caught off guard by the intensity of the negative reaction to my situation. In my case it wasn't just a temple recommend. My stake president started excommunication proceedings even though I had never had any extramarital sexual experience! He just assumed. (I was able to stop him, however, by writing a very pointed letter, a copy of which I wish I still had.) Granted, this was more than 20 years ago and things have changed, but you get the picture.

There's pressure in LDS culture to choose the church over one's spouse. I think this is to be resisted at all costs. Are we family oriented or not? To me, that's the bottom line.

You're in my thoughts a lot these days. Please know that you are loved.

Beck said...

Big hugs! I'm praying for you...

lanabanana said...

"But as Sacrament meeting progressed, I began to feel this shadow come over me. I began to feel like I was on an alien planet, like I didn't belong, everything going on around me as though I wasn't even there."

Reading that was totally deja vu for me. That exact thing happened to me in stake conference, about 5 months after Blake came out. I had to take a sedative to make it through the meeting. It totally freaked me out. (and that's not really here nor there, but I wanted to you know that I totally relate)

I also understand your mixed feelings about not making it into the film. I can't wait to hear about your experience of seeing it tonight.

Thinking of you. Hugs!