Friday, January 17, 2014

Square Pegs, Round Holes

I seem to write when I can't sleep. It brings a certain level of clarity. I'm not sure if putting verbal vomit into cyberspace is a good thing, but emptying my brain is, so I'll keep typing.

I have to teach a class in church next Sunday.  I'm sick in bed, so I have ample time to prepare. My lesson is based on a talk from our church's general conference in October 2013. The talk is entitled "Come, Join With Us" by President Dieter F. Uchtdorf. I'm putting it out there simply as a frame of reference.  You can find it online here. I remember hearing this talk before I boycotted our general conference in October. I cried through the WHOLE TALK. After that, I went and got frozen yogurt and spent the day with a friend, watching her get her nails done.  And I didn't even feel the least bit guilty about it.

Those who know me well know that I have been LDS my whole life. I've been an active participant in my church MY WHOLE LIFE. I love my church. It is an integral part of my identity, it helps shape my world view, it teaches me to question the status quo, and its teachings saved my life, literally. For me to skip what normally are my favorite 10 hours every six months is not the norm.

When I got the assignment for this particular lesson, I laughed at God. He and I have that kind of relationship. I recognize and appreciate his sense of can be twisted like mine is. The idea that there is room for everyone in "the inn," so to speak, true as it may sound, speaks in direct opposition to my boycott last fall. I knew that there was no room for me ... I was that ugly donkey that smelled and had to stand outside the manger in the rain. I was sure of it. President Uchtdorf's words, though they spoke the opposite, reaffirmed my suspicions regarding the matter.

He spoke of exuberant service, all done simply to demonstrate love and to actively worship a God we knew intimately. He explained that people went to meeting upon meeting, even during the week. I thought, I hate my meetings. I sleep through the 10:00AM meeting on Sunday! I sneak out when I don't like the teacher. I grumble in the back row. And forget about the parties or worse yet, SINGLES DANCES! I'd rather be a leper! I felt neither exuberant nor pious. I went out of obedience. Plain and simple. I didn't fit in with the cute nuclear families with their cute babies and their matching family photos. My political views skewed far too far to the left. Page after page of doubts, differences, and dissonant personality traits filled my mind.

No, that was not me.

Two days ago I reread his words. I struggled again. I hummed and grumbled. Then I realized...I am one of many who feel like I do. That's why he said what he said.

There is room for a moderate, divorced, sassy 30-something in my church. My experiences don't make me a square peg in a round hole...they've made the hole square.

Every woman, Christian or Mormon or Muslim or Buddhist or otherwise, feels inadequate. She experiences moments, days, months, years where she is awkward, she feels alone, she doesn't completely mesh with the cultural and/or religious norms placed before her. Dare I say, she's normal in that regard.  It's part of a great rite of passage, our coming of age in modern society. We have to carve out that hole, make the peg fit.

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