I’ve spent a lot of time with Wife in the past few days. Maybe six hours each day on both Thursday and Friday. And I have to say, I quite enjoyed the time we spent together. I was reminded once again of some of the many qualities that she has that attracted me to her. Even after this time of being separated, I found it very easy to slip back into the comfortable role of being with her.
In fact, if it weren’t for the topic of conversation and our purpose for being together, I would think it would be easy for anyone seeing us together to believe that we have a great relationship. And we do. She is amazing. She is fun to be with. In spite of that, however, our topic of conversation revolved around the D word: divorce. You see, her lawyers had completed the paperwork, and it was time to sign.
This week a team that was initiating a new project at my workplace came into town, and as part of the initial get-to-know-you activities, we all spent an evening together at a local sports bar. I decided that this time I would order an alcoholic beverage. However, I hadn’t thought it through beforehand, and when I stepped up to the bar and the barkeeper asked me what I would like to drink, I had no idea what to say. “Um … something with alcohol in it?” didn’t exactly sound like the sort of thing one says at a bar. So instead of ordering, I said, “Yeah. Gimme a minute to decide.” I spent the next few seconds searching deep into my lore of alcohol, and coming up empty, I texted Girlfriend: “I’m at the bar and have no idea what to order. Any suggestions?”
While waiting for her response, my coworker arrived and sat next to me. He effortlessly ordered a Blue Moon, and I quietly explained my dilemma to him: “I want to drink something, but I’ve never ordered at a bar before. Got any ideas?” He told me since I’d never drunk beer before, I probably wouldn’t like the flavor, but recommended maybe I start with Coors Lite, since it would be the mildest. I asked if he enjoyed any other kinds of drinks than beer, and after considering it a moment, he said his favorite was probably rum and coke. Short of any better ideas, I decided I’d give it a try. I placed my order and as I was waiting for the drink to come, my coworker asked the obvious question: why had I decided to drink that night? I mumbled something about having left the church, and he asked the next obvious question: what had caused me to abandon my religion? I’m sure he must have thought he had somehow been transported to the local aquarium, because I did my best impression of a fish: wide unblinking eyes with my mouth opening and closing several times without saying anything. It was only then that I realized: I have no idea how to be the ex-Mormon in the elevator.
There is a certain sense of safety, security, and comfort that those who believe in a loving God retain in their lives even amid great change and uncertainty. Just knowing that God is there, that He is aware of you, that He loves you, and that He knows the trials and tribulations you are currently facing will ultimately prove to have been for your good … how can that not help you face whatever comes with anything but hope and optimism and added strength? And conversely, how can you face even small difficulties in life if you lack the conviction that it all means something, that it will all work out in the end, that somehow God will even the score, even if it has to wait until the next life? That’s one of the more difficult questions that I’m asked, and because of everything that I’ve lost when I lost my belief in God, this has left the biggest hole and I still find myself mourning it from time to time.
Yet I have found a place I’m comfortable with. Perhaps it’s not quite Abraham’s bosom. Perhaps it’s not even the location of my final destination in my relationship with deity. But it’s a place that I’m comfortable with today, from which I can face each new day that comes with a sense of optimism and hope. At least for now, it’s my view of Life, the Universe, and Everything. If you’ve got a few minutes, I’d love to share it with you.
I no longer believe in God, but I still believe in Saints. I believe in Saints because I’ve met one. (Note to God: hint, hint.) Last night this Saint hung out at my house and fell asleep on my couch. Yeah, Saints do that sort of thing, I guess. You can’t begrudge a Saint a little rest every now and again. But I’m getting ahead of myself. The Saint came over to my house not to sleep on my couch but to join us for Family Home Evening.
Family Home Evening is, by prophetic decree, a mandatory weekly activity for Mormons. Every Monday night is set aside as Family Home Evening. It’s a time for the family to block out the influences of the outside world and spend some time bonding together as a family. Gospel instruction, wholesome entertainment, games and other activities, songs, and ideally a really yummy dessert generally constitute the bulk of the practical application of Family Home Evening. Different families will institute this differently, but our family usually follows a fairly standard sequence of events for most Family Home Evening nights.
The truth is, I’m lost. I feel like I’m clinging to a piece of driftwood on an endless sea. The sun is directly overhead, and I don’t even know which way the shore is. I don’t know what I want, or how to get there. I feel so powerless. I have no control over my life. But even if I did, do I even know where I want to go?
I have amazing blessings, amazing gifts, amazing people in my life. Why do I feel like walking away from all of it? Why do I feel so trapped in a life I’m not sure I want, even as I recognize that there are people around me who would love to trade for what I have? Why am I so dissatisfied? So hopeless? So sad? Continue reading