Sunday, April 9, 2017

Something for Sunday: Run or Wrestle


I began writing this post back in August of 2015. At the time was jumping between temp jobs my professional self as much in the air and my personal, spiritual self. I remember typing and searching while staffing the front desk at and in-between feeling good and feeling bad and in-between trying to figure everything out at once. Things had reached such a conflicted state, I was considering removing my name from the records of the church. It was tiring struggling to balance the things I believed were true and important, with the things I was supposed to believe. Much of this centered around the LDS temple and ceremonies, though it encompassed everything from gender and racial equality, to my place as Young(ish) Single Adult. At the time, I was working the front desk of a fancy design firm close to downtown, trying to hide any signs of tears when customers walked through the door.

Like so many of my real life issues, I kept this post in the "drafts" folder, hoping that continued diligence would eventually lead me to a place of peace and certainty. That didn't happen.

Here's what I was thinking about then:

While struggling to find my place around here I studied the story of Jacob. Like most of the Old Testament, the story of Jacob leaves me feeling a bit unsettled. He is a "perfect man" with a shadily acquired birthright. I simply do not understand. But I feel for him, especially in his pleadings for deliverance and his wrestle with the angel. He fought, both literally and figuratively, so that he could obtain the blessings that were promised to him. The same is expected of us:  
"Men and women in every dispensation have had to wrestle at some point in their lives for desired blessings, greater truth, and light from God... President Brigham Young said that all of us are situated "upon the same ground," in that we must 'struggle, wrestle and strive until the Lord bursts the vail [sic] and suffers [allows] us to behold his glory, or a portion of it." And so it was with Jacob on that lonely night near the river Jabbok, when he began to wrestle with a divine visitor for a blessing — a blessing that would burst the veil and shower down on him greater light and glory from God" - "Jacob: Keeper of Covenants," March 1998
It's a subjection of will, from whom, to who... I don't know. 
But isn't there an end to any wrestle? Tired and sweaty and sore, there is a winner and a loser. Even in enduring, it is not forever, but till the "end". Eventually someone's body has to give out, and I'm afraid it's going to be mine. 
We're not alone in these struggles. We need to find each other. 
Over the past few weeks, I've kept trying to remind myself that even if I want to, I can't leave the church. I am the church, part of the body of Christ. We all are.


And back to the now.

I spoke with my bishop at the time about some of my concerns and he was sympathetic and kind. A couple weeks later, news of the church policy changes came to light and the world dropped out from under me. Went to the temple the following Saturday and knew it might be the last time. Trudged through a failed temple recommend interview, attempts at therapy, regular meetings with the bishop, and the Book of Mormon. I stopped trying to read when I started relating with the wrong people.

It was a rough year.

I'm not sure I've reached a much different place. Still in Salt Lake at 30 years old with career prospects as plentiful as my dating prospects. (Translation: grim). But I have a temple recommend after over a year without one. Even that feels more like a concession than a victory. I'm too chicken to actually go to the temple, but if fire and brimstone comes sooner rather than later, maybe that little card will save me from some 3rd degree burns? Who knows.

Being a member of the LDS faith requires a life time of wrestling, and right now, I'm just looking for any excuse to stay in the ring. Still here, but I sure could use a time out.

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