After writing my last post. I decided it was time for me to pray to see if I should or could leave the church --Maybe it just isn't for me anymore. I felt good about that, it felt like the right thing to do. But that is not a casual prayer, I wanted to wait. I would wait for Sunday and fast, if I still had the guts to do it by then.
Saturday morning I woke up feeling a bit forlorn. (Not uncommon.) I did nothing about my decision the night before. I went about my Saturday business of cleaning, making lunch, ignoring my stinky laundry, watching a Netflix DVD (It was Wire in Blood from the BBC -- way too icky, I do not recommend it), and dreading a party I had to go to later. When I got off the phone with my friend in Texas, my mother called. We chatted and then my door unexpectedly buzzed.
"Who is it?"
"It's the missionaries."
That was not unusual. I'm always on the missionaries radar because of my semi-active state (spotty church attendance). The missionaries have played a large part in keeping me active in the church (attending). Two sisters re-activated me in the summer of 2007 by visiting me once a week.
The summer of 09, when I was in the depths of extreme despair, the sisters came by to share a scripture. It was something about surviving our trials, how the Lord will get us through. It made me cry. Then a few days later, the boy missionaries stopped by to share a message with me. They read the exact same scripture. I assumed it was something they were assigned to do that week, or what they had been studying together with the other missionaries. So I asked, and they said 'No'. That was just the one they picked to do that day. That made me cry again.
This summer when I found myself unemployed, getting food from the church storehouse, and stir crazy from being home all day, I volunteered to go on splits with the sister missionaries. ('Splits' means that you go out with them to appointments, because two women missionaries are not allowed to visit a single man without a third.)
I went out with the sisters once or twice a week. It was difficult for me because I felt weird about trying to convert people. My own belief was wavering and I knew that the single people were not likely to find the joy they were seeking. So I didn't speak. I mostly just enjoyed the girls' company. The majority of their appointments were no shows, so we just rode around in the car. That ended when the sisters were replaced by men a few months ago. I haven't had a missionary visit since they left.
So, yesterday the cute elders rang my door. They brought me a Christmas present from the ward (congregation). They apologized for forgetting to bring it on time. Then they shared a message about how all of our trials are for our own good, that we are blessed to have difficulties that will make us grow and the atonement will get us through. Then one of the elders threw in D&C 122, when Joseph Smith was in jail and pleading with the Lord to rescue him. He was told to have patience because he was not yet like Job, he still had friends. I teared up, but did not cry.
I took that as a sign that my prayer was unnecessary. The Lord knew the thoughts of my heart. What I am suffering will benefit me in the long run. --It takes a lot of faith to believe that. The verse that says, "Ye are not yet like Job . . ." has been in my mind often this year. It humbles me and I try to remember how blessed I really am. I have good friends who love me. And my family has been eager to help. My mother especially. I don't have any serious physical problems. I've been able to keep my apartment and my car. I have two awesome cats. The Lord came through with a job for me at the last minute. I'm surviving without having to take a hideous job that drives me insane. I've been able to get back on my medication and I'm stabilizing. I need to be more grateful.
Life is hard, church is hard, but that's the way it is supposed to be. I don't get a free pass from church just because I don't like it.