19 April 2009

The Resurrection of Hope

Pressing on week to week. I get up and I go to Church. And I pretend everything's okay.

Today was no different.

Until I got to Church. I had literally been sitting 3 seconds when I overheard the woman behind me talking to a man about how proud she was. Apparently her son's school newspaper had published an article about gays and lesbians and the woman went to the School Board and all the way to the superintendent and was proud as punch to pull out all the ammunition she could find in order to get the article rescinded. The man asked what the article was about, did it present anything? She replied, it advocated a lifestyle, one that was inappropriate and didn't belong there. And she had researched and she felt absolutely justified in battling such evil.

And I lost it. Inwardly, my shell crumbled. All my protection, all my denial, all my pressing forward in desperate, waning hope... All this. Before the opening song. Well, that ruined the spirit for me. I wouldn't even sing the hymns, and I love singing. Sacrament was drab, dull, and I was boiling with hate for this judgmental woman whom I would no longer call friend. Why? I asked myself, why do I even come here? I thought of walking out a number of times. Going to the parking lot, breaking down, casting off my pretenses, and just sobbing.

Sunday School. My teachers, the married-with-two-kids YSA representatives, were 25 minutes late. I'm just glad they were here this week (Bro. O has been to church twice in the last six weeks). They travel alot, and don't ever get a substitute. They aren't what I would judgingly call the "strongest" of Mormons, but I do believe they are sincere about their faith.

When we do have a lesson, it's usually short, and something like a 5-second thought, because they are too busy chattering with the other kids who come.

But today was different. Bro. O actually followed the spirit and put aside the lesson he'd prepared, and then flat out asked why we come to church. What keeps up coming back? Why do I get out of bed in the morning and come there? I jokingly replied, "My dad."

But it soon turned serious. One girl said, "Because I need to strengthen my testimony." Another, "Because this is one of the few things that brings me happiness anymore." Then it was my turn. I replied, "Because this is a place to grow closer to God, and that's what I'm trying to do."

Bro. O nodded and then asked, "But do you believe in the church?" I replied, "That's open for debate." Then I clarified, "I believe in the doctrines, but not the people. Most of the people suck."

He nodded. That was what he wanted to talk about. And so we did. We talked about prejudice, and hate, and how so many Mormons are discriminatory. He said that they have, oh guess what?, a number of friends who are gay and still trying to stay in the church, and for the first time I knew that I'd be okay being honest with them.

Each one of the students knew exactly what he was talking about, and the girls talked about how eye-opening (and faith-shaking) it was to be brought up in young women's and never have anyone talk about you, and be taught that everyone and everything in the church is perfection and goodness and righteous. Then as soon as they graduated, the hate began. The gossip. The distaste for their choices.

One moved in with a boy.
One dated (and married) a non-member.
One is continually judged for being overweight.
Another slept with his girlfriend and now has a kid.

All of them have received less-than-kindness at one time or another. In this way, I am not so different.

But the question bubbles to the surface: WHY? Jesus supped with publicans, the church is supposed to be a place of refuge - a hospital - not a place of judgment.

Yet we do it. All of us (yours truly easily included). Bro. O could feel the hate emanating from me, and so I told them about the woman behind me in Sacrament this morning.

It was stated that there are NOT good and bad people out there. We are all both. Just like Asher Lev taught me. :) "There is in my hand the power of demons and of divinity. Two aspects, one force. Creation, creativity, are; all demonic and divine." I AM DEMONIC AND DIVINE. There are no good people who do bad things. There are no bad people with good intentions. There are just HUMANS. And that if anything is what Mosiah 3:19 is about, when it describes the natural man: judging.

We do things, and say that we are doing good, but fail to consider how many we are hurting. If it hurts people, and destroys lives... if it pushes me away, then how can you call it good?

It was a very enlightening discussion and exactly what I needed to keep me going right now. I refused to write my comments on Conference because I knew how faithless and questioning they were... and I felt like I didn't measure up.

Others are still here and they are still going.

I kept saying to myself, they are sticking it out. They are continuing to fight. I'm tired of fighting, but I don't know how to quit. I don't know how to walk away.

I don't know how to reach the freedom of struggle.

And then the thing that really struck me... after we were done talking about these people who judge and hate, and don't live the religion the way we want them too... Bro O. said, "Don't let any of these people, or the things they convey, be the reason you stop coming. Don't let them drive you away. Keep coming because of the reasons you hold in your heart."

And so inwardly I'm weeping. Because I have a reason to hope again. I was drowning, sucking water into my lungs greedily, waiting for the blackness to take me, and then in my darkest moment, my hand was grabbed. And I was pulled up just a little.

But A Little's Enough.

6 comments:

Sarah said...

You and I are in the same place--the roller coaster ride to beat all roller coasters--like one at Cedar Point in Sandusky, Ohio that Scott couldn't even get me to go on. And just when we think we are going to crash into the ground, the track goes up again.

Sometimes I just want to get off and walk away. I'm tired of the ride.

But here we are, hanging in there. Something keeps us in our seats, buckled in tight, going up and down and up and down again. At the moment it feels right. I wonder how will I feel next week...

Hidden said...

LOL! Sarah! I LOVVVVVVEEEEE Cedar Point! Totally the ONLY theme park on Earth worth visiting!

And I've ridden them all. (Except the newest one). Multiple times.

Val said...

I stumbled upon your blog-just browsing tonight-and want to tell you that I believe there is a God running this whole show and He loves you exactly for who you are. I am the 58 year old mother of a 26 year old incredible gay son-and 5 other kids-and I say, "Every mother deserves one gay child, and the really lucky ones get two!" I, myself, just have one-but he is so fantastic he almost makes up for not getting two. And the Mormon thing? I am a Relief Society president who also struggles mightily with the "no answers" we have at the moment. Here is to better moments with some answers-and I do believe they will come.

Hidden said...

Val,

Thanks for visiting my blog. And thank you for your support. Your son is so blessed to have a mom as amazing as you.

Here's to better moments indeed.

:)

Hidden said...

Val,

PS. I'd like to contact you some off-list, but find no way of doing so. Email me?

Captain Midnight said...

Wow. I'm so impressed with your sunday school teacher. Reading your post is probably the first time in a while that I've actually felt like I miss going to church. I'm glad that there are members like that out there, and I'm glad you got to be there in that class on that day after hearing the hateful tripe in sacrament that you usually hear at church. Thanks for blogging about this.