What has transpired with us since last I made a blog entry? Catching it up with brief outline. A visit to the Friends (Quakers) services in nearby community. It is as is described, sitting quietly with others for 45 minutes, contemplating and no sound. Brief sharing at end of service. We tried, we really did, and the service just didn't resonate strongly with us. I feel like we have done a fairness in completing our explorations of other churches, church services, church communities.
January was our wedding anniversary month. The first part of the month, I came down sick with flu or winter cold or some kind of bug that was going around the county where we live. I was down pretty much from Christmas day through the first two weeks of January. Arthur went to Ward services Christmas weekend, and when members asked where I was, he explained I was home sick, not eager to share the germs with the members.
We had invitation to attend Christmas dinner with one of the member families and when she learned I was home ill, she said they would bring Christmas dinner to us. Oh, not, please, that is just too much kindness on Christmas day. The family has children, live about 1/2 hour away and I felt that would just not be the way for them to spend Christmas Day. I phoned her to dissuade her from coming out and I was anxious not to share the germs with her family. Her husband answered and was okay with the change in plans but not before offering to drive out with a meal for us, staying in the car and having Arthur come out to pick it up. Of course I said No, this was just too much, more so given that it was Christmas Day. Nonetheless, their act of willing kindness has left a very strong, indelible imprint on me. I'm just not used to this brand of sharing willingness.
I teach the lesson in Relief Society on third Sunday and it had snowed in the county that particular Sunday. Church services cancelled. We don't get snow here very often, and if we do, it's for about a week at the most. Yes, I know we are indeed wimps here in Western Washington when it comes to snow. I didn't have to give the lesson that Sunday and wasn't sure how it works for the following Sunday -- carried over or a pass. It was a pass.
January - our wedding anniversary month. My husband and I shared and enjoyed couple time together most of the month, and could not have planned anything better than this intimate time together, just the two of us in our beach house in a winter month.
We are well into February now and my collection of Mormon related library books have been stacked on the coffee table while I read through parts of them. Terryl Givens 'People of Paradox, A History of Mormon Culture' (I like it), Grant Hardy 'Understanding the Book of Mormon; A Reader's Guide' (reading the Book of Mormon as literature), Fawn Brodie 'No Man Knows My History' (don't know what that big controversy was about .. for me it was an informative and helpful biographical of Joseph Smith), and a start on Richard Bushman 'Rough Stone Rolling' (didn't get far into it - enough reading on Joseph Smith, letting some of it digest). By far the book having the most impact for me was reading Samuel Morris Brown 'In Heaven As It Is on Earth; Joseph Smith and The Early Mormon Conquest of Death'.
As it turns out, this Sunday it was my assignment and I gave the 3rd Sunday lesson, from the George Albert Smith manual; topic - 'The Prophet Joseph Smith, God's Instrument in Restoring The Truth'. It feels to me like all that reading will pay off in helping me to give the lesson in a manner conducive to my own interpretation via the lens of George Albert Smith talk on the matter.
We had invite to dinner at the Bishop's house with his wife and another couple from the Ward last Sunday. We spent the entire afternoon and well into the evening with them. This Sunday we had invite from another family at the Ward, spent the afternoon with them, dinner, movie, and participated in their Family Home Evening with their children.
The Ward had a talent show on Saturday, and we spent enjoyable evening with member families. Arthur provided a piano medley, which was well appreciated. I showed three of my paintings, which were also well appreciated. The greater fun was watching the youngsters share their talents, and we were particularly looking forward to a solo performance by one of the boys we knew had been working on his musical contribution. We had driven out to his home the night before to do a run through with Arthur to accompany the boy in his solo hymn 'Nearer My God To Thee'. They did their practice which brought another invite from the parents that we stay for dinner. This is the same family who had offered to drive all the way out to our home bring Christmas dinner to us. One more time we had to turn them down and couldn't stay for dinner; we were expected at the Ward for clean-up duty as we were on the clean-up crew that week.
Also this week I had Visiting Teaching spent time visiting some of the Sisters. Arthur had Home Teaching last week. Having now captured the events, in no way does the writing capture the flavor of what is happening to me inside. And frankly speaking, it feels too personal to write about. For the record, though, it is the people of this Ward with their continued kindness, outreach, genuine enjoyment of us, sharing so much of themselves with us and their willingness to embrace us into their church and personal families that has me in studied wonderment. While I feel like I have seated the logical elements, ie, church historicity, doctrines, beliefs and practices, well enough in my head (innoculated), the contradiction is in finding so much genuine kindness among the people.
For me this walk into this Church has taken a serious turn and I'm afraid of it. I am finding that I am wanting more of this, yearning to keep moving forward into the life, and less about leaving substantial room to back out in case it erupts in my face. If it does, well it does, and somehow I don't think it will. If it does, what has been and is real enough is that these are authentic relationships at this point. And they know I am not one of them, they know I am not even a 'convert' in the traditional sense of the word. They know me for who I am, what my beliefs are, and should there be some kind of eruptive disruption in the future, what is happening now is real enough.
The online Facebook discussion communities of members who are in various stages on the continuum in their faith walks are of great help to me in seating my own walk. For me it is fluid, it is moving, it has not remained static. I'm rather pleased that I began this blog as something I can look back on in retrospect to see what my perspective was, is, and will become. As of this writing, as of today, as of now, it is real enough. It is more than a religion, more than a belief set, and I don't yet have the words to write or describe it as it fits for me.