Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The Verdict

As Lisa stated in her post - the decision was made to excommunicate us. I have given this a lot of thought in the last few weeks, wondering what it would mean to me and how it would affect my life, my outlook, my thoughts and actions. I guess the conclusion I have come to is that my relationship with the Lord is still up to me. I will only get out of it what I put into it. If I am willing to work hard to maintain a relationship I can't imagine He would turn his back on me. Years ago I had a friend who was excommunicated and I remember him telling me he could feel the Holy Ghost leave him when it happened. I haven't felt that. The Church didn't *give* me my relationship with God so I am not sure how they can take it away. I can't deny that we have been incredibly blessed this last year and, no matter what anyone else may think, I choose to attribute those blessings to the Lord working in my life.

I remember reading a book a few years ago about a particular tribe. If someone did something horrendous enough they were banished. This was the worst thing that could happen to a member because banishment meant certain death, once banished from the tribe the member always died. There was one member who had been adopted into the tribe, as the story progressed she fell out of favor with the leader and was banished. She was terrified of the impending death she had been told would follow - only it didn't. She lived and survived on her own until she found another tribe willing to take her in. She realized the reason death was a certainty was because the person being banished believed it was, they believed it so strongly they gave up. I am not going to give up. In some ways believing I can still have the spirit in my life and have a good relationship with God takes as much faith as anything I have ever done because I have always been told that couldn't happen to someone in my position. I feel no differently now than I did last week before the decision. As I was outside grilling steaks this evening I tried to find the words to tell the Lord how grateful I am for the peace and contentment I feel in my life right now - it is such that a mere "Thank you" seems very inadequate.

Monday, January 25, 2010

A New Beginning or The Continuation of A Good Life

I must apologize for my writing--I struggle with articulation and spelling and basically writing in general. (thank you medications of past times).

What exactly does it mean to be excommunicated? Well, it means I continue to do the same things I was doing before--no callings, no garments, no sustaining, ect. I have journeyed a long ways to get to this point in my life. If I would have thought 7 years ago I would be ex'd from the LDS church I would have been scared to death. But, I guess my disfellowshipment was a prelude to all of this and seemed to prepare me. I remember being disfellowshipped and feeling so relieved. And, I have to say, after I spoke with the Bishop about their decision, I felt this relieve inside me. Although I am still waiting to see if what the Bishop told me is true...."You will feel a little sad or depressed." I already struggle with the darkness of depression...its part of the illness. I have depression no matter where I am, where I live or who I am with. It's just life. But, back on task here.... Since hearing the news from the Bishop I have felt free. It seems the obligation is gone or perhaps its the expectation. I just feel like I can choose and do what is best for me.
While going through my divorce my relationship with the church became strained and actually I was not attending church, so I basically had very little communication with ward members. Prior to my divorce I had been counseling with the bishop about my relationship with J and he had always counseled with me to stop seeing her. I had even had conversations with both the stake president at the time and one of his counselors and both had told me the relationship was not good. Well, I continued my relationship and eventually I was disfellowshipped from the church. Some time after I filed divorce papers and the beginning of a very hard time started. I will not get into it, accept to say, homophobia, anger, bitterness, lies, and all manner of bad stuff.

Having gone through my own bitterness and anger towards the church during all of this I am at a point in my life where I have gotten over bad feelings toward the church, even after the Prop 8 disaster. I had to decide if I was going to keep feeling anger or let it go and get on with life. It does not do any good to be angry at the organization, because I realize nobody actually cares if I am mad! And that feeling sucks. So, I can honestly say I think there is some good about the LDS church, it has some good programs, it gives opportunity to be uplifting, BUT, there are other religions, organizations, peoples, groups, and situations that can do the same. There is good and bad in everything we look at , it's just a matter of what we are "looking" for. I want to be uplifted, I want to fill my heart and soul with goodness and where ever I can find this I will go there.

My relationship with J has not changed since learning of my excommunication. I keep hearing the Bishop say, "its' a sin", but I cannot feel what that means with her. When I am close to her I try to see and feel what that means, but I only feel goodness and strength. We wait our whole lives to find someone that brings the other half of us and that is what we have. The universe, a higher power or whatever we want to call it has blessed my life with this woman and the love we share. My only sin is that I lose my patience and forget to be good to her. I am still learning to give and take....aren't we all??

I know this has been long, too long for me to even go back and proofread, but I wanted to add in that I have seen my pdoc again and he has started me on two more meds--the last one was giving me nightmares. He also wanted me to continue to recite my prescription of positive affirmation to my self. So, I am reaching inside somewhere to give these new meds a try. I will keep ya'll posted on how they work.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Church Council and Stuff

A week or so ago the Elders Quorum President hand delivered a letter to both Lisa and me telling us the church would be holding a council on January 14 for "conduct unbecoming a member". The Bishop talked to both of us on Sunday and asked permission to use his discussions with each of us at the council, which we gave. I don't know the outcome, I am assuming there will be another hand delivered letter or maybe one by certified mail.

We are in the final stages of getting the loan approval for the townhouse. We have been hoarding every little bit of cash we get so we will have the required amount for the downpayment. After my last pay check we were about $1,500 short of the required amount. When we got the final loan application to sign yesterday they had taken $1,600 off the total, I guess we don't need mortgage insurance with a 20% down payment. Just another one of the many small miracles that have been a part of this whole deal from the beginning. I should be used to them by now but each one still fills me with amazement at how we are being watched over and taken care of. I have heard people testify that their heart was overflowing with gratitude and I would wonder what that felt like. I am happy to say that I now know what they mean. This has been an amazing year for me.

I sometimes feel guilty that I have found such peace and happiness in this life I have chosen to build. I wonder what things I am doing now that I didn't do in my previous life and if I can do them now why couldn't I do them then. When I talk to Mom on the phone she tells me how good I sound, she can even understand me when I talk. Between my voice and her age and being hard of hearing that, in itself, is a small miracle.

All of this doesn't mean I still don't have my rough spots - I do. Every day isn't sunshine and roses but underlying it all is this sense that all is well, that things are right, that I am headed in the right direction. While I am enjoying this feeling I am also a bit leery of it. I have never been one to feel promptings, of any kind, clearly. I guess a part of me still wonders why, if my life is so wrong, so against Gods will, have I been blessed so much? Why do I feel the peace I do? Is there such a thing false peace, and if there is would it last this long? I am trying really hard not to second guess it but to trust what I feel inside.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Being Happy

Is happiness really just a choice, as I so often hear? What all is involved in being happy? What is happiness? Is it the absence of stress, the absence of trials? How much responsibility to we have for anothers happiness? Can one person truly make another person happy?

I am happy right now. I have worries, but I am still happy. Sometimes my job makes my mind really, really tired, and it is hard to be pleasant to everyone that calls in. Hard to remember that, to them, their call is very important even though I may think a good dose of common sense would solve the problem.

I remember a time in my life when I was not only unhappy I was downright miserable. I went to work, shut my office door and sit under the desk in the dark for at least a portion of every day. I hated it and when I got out of that place I swore I would never go back there again. A couple of years later I found myself in circumstances that threatened to put me back to that dark place. It took me a few months but I fought my way out. I guard and protect my happiness very fiercely. I wonder if this makes me selfish. I have people in my life that I love with my whole heart and soul and I would love to be able to give them happiness. I don't know how to do that and it hurts my heart.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

OCD, Perfectionism or Just Organized

I like order. I like the heads of all the bills in my pocket facing the same way, in order by monetary value. I like to start the day with 3 quarters, 3 dimes, 1 nickel and 4 pennies in my pocket. When I use butter I like to cut it neatly off the end of the cube. When I open a new box of cereal or crackers I like to carefully open the inner package, not just rip it open. I like the toilet paper and the paper towels to come off the roll over the top and not the bottom, and have been known to change them if they don't. When I stack the dishes in the cupboard I like to do it by size - big plates followed by salad plates, followed by coffee cup liners topped with the bowls, by size. When I leave the car in the morning to go into work I do things in a certain order so when I get into the car to come back home everything will be adjusted and ready for me to get in and just go. When I use the bathroom at work I am constantly wiping up the soap dribbles and spills from the side of the sink and wonder why it is to hard to put a bit of soap in your hand and get your hand over the sink without spilling it all over. So, which of the 3 choices does all of this make me?

The Pier

It was such a beautiful day yesterday, and I was off, so we headed for the pier in Ventura. I like to fish off the pier even though I rarely catch anything. I just love being out there. This is a picture I snapped with my cell phone just as we were leaving.