Internally my landscape is shifting and I can feel it. Internally I can feel the strong walls of resistance I have built for myself starting to crumble. Which means what, I'm not exactly sure, as I also recognize it wouldn't take much to patch them back up to once again stand strong against .... what ..... influences I think I prefer not to be built into my internal castle. Lying deeper though, protected, insulated is a waking part of my self yearning to fully embrace and take it into myself to own, to cherish, to love, to adore, to nurture, to care for, to share, to give.
Since I last wrote in my blog, I have had opportunity to substitute and fill in teaching for Primary Class for two Sundays. We have had a weekend of family get together and sharing weekend to celebrate mine and my daughter's July birthdays. Last Sunday was 3rd Sunday which is my time to teach the lesson in R.S. and the lesson was a challenge for me; families together for eternity. Knowing I could not teach the 'ideal' of the lesson without also including the reality was the challenge for me in giving the lesson. I think it went as well as could be expected in the framing of the lesson. The women were responsive, engaged, and actually quite helpful in bringing their own material to the lesson.
My husband was called to be pianist for Primary where he has been substituting for past three weeks, which gives release to the woman who has fulfilled that responsibility for years and desirous of release so she could take in other elements of the Sunday services. He is happy with this calling. I am pleased for him, and also feel a bit abandoned as I am left to my own devices in Sunday School lessons and Relief Society lessons. But it is my time of learning, assimilating, integrating, and he is content to learn anew as he sees it through my eyes. I would hazard to guess he is doing his own internal integrating.
Yesterday I listened to another podcast at Mormon Matters, subject was on keeping the weirdness of Mormonism. Somewhere in the middle of the podcast though, as the guest panelists were talking about what works for them, their love of certain doctrines, certain idiosyncrasies, even certain folk lore in what comes together to make up Mormonism, I found myself embracing instead of resisting what I was hearing.
This morning in our typical start the day morning routines, one of which is to start up the laptops and do a quick rundown check of email, I found myself chasing links to Mormon related blogs. In a moment where I spoke aloud thoughts circulating in my mind normally not spoken aloud, I reflected to my husband that I wish I had been raised Mormon, and that I had been able to raise my family in the LDS church. I'm not sure what his internal reaction to my thought was but his face registered surprise, maybe even approving surprise, didn't seem to be startled surprise.
I tried to explain to him that I was appreciating the protective and insulated environment created against distractions from the larger world scope. I was particularly thinking of my years of dance training and the environment of focus created in the dance world. I was thinking of family that could nurture each other and build each other up, appreciate each other for their talents and contributions. I was thinking how I yearned when I began my family to have a better family environment than the one in which I was raised. How I wanted for my children to have the nurture of a close family, none of the emotional onslaughts that wracked my formative years in a hellish dervish. I was thinking that the map laid out by the LDS church, while too tightly woven in some areas, nonetheless provides an 'ideal' to aim for with demonstrable steps in how to at least aim for the ideal. Obviously I don't agree with many of the steps or the ways suggested by this church, but I don't take exception to the effort at community, communality, and working towards achieving nurturing connection points.
This morning in our few moments before he goes off to his workplace for the day, we share a few quiet moments in prayerful reflection. It isn't always a reverential bowing of the heads in respectful worship kind of prayerfulness. Sometimes it is a brief exchange of deeper thoughts reflected in a few sentences that each of us may take with us into our thoughts while attending to the tasks of the day. Today mention was made again of our appreciation of the Native American spirituality which does not seem to offer condemnation, more ways to be in loving community with each other. Perhaps that is why it has appealed to me, the quiet, steady focus on being a 'people' together in community. A tribe of belonging, a place of knowing to whom one belongs.
I think of Mormonism in that way, a people having formed a tribe held together by beliefs shared in commonality, not necessarily their genetic heritage as a people, but their desire towards a tribal community.
I'm idealizing, and I know it. I'm remembering the insular environment of being raised in military setting. I'm remembering the 'ideals' of that environment. I'm feeling a deep sadness of a history for myself that was more strongly about cutting ties with heritage than reinforcing and growing that much needed tethering. I wanted to give my children that very tethering. To the degree that I was successful, I also know there were many areas I could well have been more successful, given them more. I forgive myself in knowing I did the best I could do at every step of the way, even so, I ache in knowing I could have given them more. I'm not sure that giving them the map of Mormonism/LDS would have been the answer, even so, it would have been a map with high goals to aim for, given them a bit of the insular against the oft times chaotic waves tossing us to and fro less the benefit of a map by which to steer and guide our ship.
Destiny being what destiny is, we are in the places we find ourselves given our life circumstances. Someone once described how she saw me as a person punching at paper bags in my efforts to take on the world on the terms dealt to me. I think I understand what she meant with the paper bags analogy. So much time spent punching at paper bags, time that could have been put to better use in other endeavors.
No Mormonism is not the answer, it is not the sum all or be all and often falls short in helping people who have faced challenges based on their differing realities. Even so, even with all the peculiarities in the history that makes up Mormonism, even with the out and out wrongness that sometimes permeates the messaging people receive, there is a thread of desire that runs through it all in wanting to be a safe, nurturing, loving community, a people caring for one another, a tribal people. There is much in the map of Mormon life that is good, wholesome, decent, and while I don't believe that the Mormon way holds a monopoly on those kinds of values, I am coming to believe that it would be a great loss if the Mormon way were to be lost in the landslide that seems to be crushing us globally in these times. I have a feeling of relief in sensing my internal shift as one of being willing to embrace and letting go of punching paper bags.