Monday, February 6, 2017

Up to Me - Part 2 on Faith Transition -

So like dozens of other folks, I stepped away from Mormonism feeling disenfranchised, but I did not look for like-minded, within the congregation surrounding me. I can't help but think I wasn't alone in my questioning my beliefs and my decisions. Goodness - one thing I was taught was that there is no such thing as "only me," but here I was, thinking I was all alone. There was no social media - FB, IG, groups to reach out to or to become a part of. I had a few friends with whom I bravely shared. That was it.

And back to the "good thing," it was this - I couldn't find books, couldn't find a therapist who dealt with transitions, couldn't find folks in my congregation, to explore. So, like so many many times in my life, I trudged, alone. I had no support - not even from my spouse. Religious attire off, "Leaving the fold" letter ready to print (but I was going to BYU and didn't want to jeopardize my status there), I blazed furiously bright, holding that, "Stepping Away" flag so high, yet so subtly. I was my own dichotomy, my own dilemma, my own oxymoron -

I had no idea what I wanted, only, "not this."

Anger is a nasty place to be. Resentment hurts families, ruins marriages. Paralyzes.

And I was all of these, in all of these places. Hurting my family, ruining my marriage, paralyzing my growth, all in the name of stepping away. Wanting something I didn't have.

Why didn't I stay inside and examine? Too many times Mormon women feel shut-down, closed-off, less-than when they even attempt to ask a question. "Why do I . . .?" "Oh honey, you don't really feel that way." "Oh, you shouldn't . . . " "Where is my voice?" Was answered with, "Don't question; the Lord knows." And so, for the most part, there was no safe place, or at least for me, 17 years ago, there wasn't.

Once upon a time listened to everyone else, and took my questioning inside, where I learned to suppress, carry my anger deep, smile on the outside. Until the boiler blew, and then I "freakin' hit the road running, ready to explode with words unsaid, feelings unshared, unvalidated."

And rather than this be the road to redemption and peace, my anger took me on a rocky path that was hard, bright, and lonely. Which only enhanced my anger, my separateness.

Joseph Campbell said,

We must be willing to get rid of
the life we’ve planned, so as to have
the life that is waiting for us.
The old skin has to be shed
before the new one can come.
If we fix on the old, we get stuck.
When we hang onto any form,
we are in danger of putrefaction.
Hell is life drying up.

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