Closing The Gap

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.

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4 thoughts on “Closing The Gap

  1. Anne Carman says:

    Jen…I am glad you wrote this. I agree with you…there are times we have to be selfish. I think you had every right to feel disappointed being asked to play in Primary rather than being in RS where you wanted to be.

  2. Jen I love how real you are. It is true, honest, and genuine. Even though you are talking about a struggle, there is something comforting about it. Maybe because I feel the same way sometimes and it is good to know that I’m not the only one. I think that religion needs to be a personal thing too. Being a convert, my family beliefs are not always the same as the church. Instead of just taking everything as a whole, I find for me I have to take each concept and figure out what is best for my situation. It is not selfish to take care of yourself.

    • I appreciate that you said that. I have found that I need to do the same thing. I can’t take it as a whole anymore. I have to fragment it and take what I need. I’m glad that you understand it! Sometimes I feel alone because I feel like the only one that looks at it that way. You rock, Nina!

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