Yes, it has been so long since I have written.
I could yammer on about how busy I have been or how I’ve been trying to keep up with the children or other some such nonsense when the truth is, I haven’t known what to say. I would have fleeting thoughts about things that I COULD write about but when it came right down to it, I could have pumped out about three sentences….four, tops. So I didn’t write. Anything. Public or not.
I’ve missed it.
I’ve needed it.
The past few days I have felt the beginnings of something stewing in me and as I’ve rolled it around in my head, I have also wondered about what kind of reaction I might get. Then I remembered I write for myself. How others react is residual. Though my intent is not to offend, my intent is also to be true to what I am feeling.
Sunday was a bad day for me, spiritually. My track record for church attendance has been poor in the past 3 months. When you consider the fact that I work every other Sunday and have had no real desire to go on the other Sundays, it doesn’t leave much for me to work with. Finally, FINALLY, this past Sunday I was looking forward to my meetings. It was a refreshing and welcome feeling after such a long absence. As I anticipated attending Relief Society (a women’s meeting, for those of you who don’t know) I became happy. I have felt for a while that I need to be there…to nourish me spiritually. I imagined sitting there, being able to think and ponder and listen and just SIT. Not having to do anything. I received a phone call shortly before church, asking me to play the piano in Primary (the children’s meeting). This meant that I wouldn’t be able to attend the meeting that I was looking forward to. Though I am generally happy to do what is asked of me for anyone, this particular Sunday I agreed to play and then felt like I could cry. In fact, I did cry. I tried not to but I couldn’t help it. To make matters worse, I didn’t cry when I was at home in private, I cried while I was playing the piano. Then this kicker: the piano faces everyone in the entire Primary. I was hoping it just looked like allergies. “Maybe,” I thought, “it doesn’t look like I am sour and not wanting to be here.” When someone approached me and asked me if I needed a Tylenol because I looked like I was in pain I realized that I didn’t look well as I was trying to hold it all in. Unsuccessfully, evidently. And so, I felt as if I had failed. Again. What was wrong with me? Why wasn’t I happy to serve? Why was I so disappointed? Why could I only think of myself? I felt deflated and beaten. I left church early because I just wanted to forget it all. I was embarrassed by my aloofness.
I have thought about this some since Sunday and haven’t come up with a satisfactory answer. Nothing that would look good in a crowd of church-going folks, anyway. I can come up with all kinds of pat “sunday school” answers; the kinds of answers that sound good and are completely ideal in theory. What I can’t do is justify my Sunday foible in any way that would fit the “sunday school” answer category and sound beautiful and edifying. The only explanation I can give is that sometimes, you have to be selfish. Especially when you’re floundering. Sometimes it’s more important for a person to take care of their needs first–no matter how sorry a soul it makes them look to others–in order to keep on the right track. While I know that service to others is important, like lifeblood, it certainly doesn’t do me any good if I’m not able to provide a needed service to myself. I may be way off base here. Well, off base for others, anyway. But for me? This is where I stand right now. Perhaps down the road I will be able to see things with different eyes and step out of myself enough to truly be an asset. Right now, this is the best I can do.
Time was, not too long ago, that my religion defined me. It defined who I was and what I said, how I acted and what I chose to do. Stepping away from that idea has been scary and isolating at the same time. Unfortunately, I feel that stepping back religiously has also alienated me (in some degree) from those that I associated with in my neighborhood and during meetings on Sunday. I have never felt abandoned or mistreated by anyone around me. In fact, I was given the space that I (at times) requested from those involved in my life at a religious and a casual level. That has been a tremendous blessing in and of itself. Now, as I look back, I hope that none of my actions during such a personal turbulent time caused any sort of hurt or anger in others. I wasn’t exactly forthcoming about what I was dealing with during my depression and inactivity. It was simply easier for me not to have to deal with others because I was having a hell of a time dealing with myself already. I was falling apart and didn’t want anyone else to watch it with me. And now? Now I am afraid that the space I created isn’t easy to close. What’s worse, I’m not sure that I want to close the gap. It’s far to easy to be disjointed from a congregation than have to worry that what I am doing is right or wrong or not being done at all. For me, for now, my religion is a personal thing. In my case, maybe that’s the best way.