Today is a day of mixed feelings. I found myself looking forward to this day... and truly dreading its arrival. Last night I lay awake, tossing and turning, thinking and wondering... just trying to figure out what choices I need to make in my life. What choices I really have... and how the choices that I could make affect those that I love, those that I no longer call 'friend', and those that wander in the communities that I inhabit. Today, I go and sit with a few of the most amazing priesthood leaders that I have ever met and discuss my thoughts and my choices. That day is here.
I recognize that I am not the only person who struggles. I recognize that I am not the only one who struggles with this particular trial... nor have I shed the last of my tears for it. However, I would be ungrateful if I did not also recognize the fact that I am truly blessed and that I know that I am loved and cared for by many including my Heavenly Father. And so today, I thought I would take the time to not just say a quick thank you for some things to my Father today. I thought instead I would articulate why I am so grateful for them and what they mean to me. I will not articulate all the blessings I think of today- just those that today I truly feel deep gratitude for right now and this moment in time.
1. I am so grateful for my husband. He is the most important person in my life. He taught me what love really is and what loyalty and joy can be. He has shown me patience and the quiet strength of a friend and partner. I love him and appreciate him for so much, but I especially grateful that I had the courage and the faith to share some personal things with him today... And that he will listen and doesn't seem to judge me harshly. I am so blessed to be yoked to such a wonderful person! I hope to remain so.
2. I wore a skirt to church today. First, having a good reason to go to church so that I was forced to go was great... Otherwise, I probably wouldn't have. But I haven't had a dress. Yes, I have had church clothing in the past, but every dress I have but one now feels tainted and I got rid of them when my son got so upset at my putting on a dress on Sunday- dresses are clearly loaded now. ; ) An acquaintance of mine was chatting with me a few months ago when I was looking at dresses at the local thrift store and knowing my situation, she wouldn't allow me to buy a dress that day. She said "wait until you find a dress or a skirt that you look at and like and then buy it- do not make yourself another burden in the shape of your clothing." I took that advice and I found a skirt a few weeks later and a few days later a vest that I liked looking at... and actually felt a brief thrill about the idea of wearing them. So today, I go to church in a skirt. I look ridiculous- especially with my uncombed hair, my silly toe socks and my 'bitey' rooster... but I am grateful to be at church and in a dress- no matter how ridiculous I look.
3. I was able to put the October conference onto my Blackberry so I was able to spend my 1 1/2 hour drive listening to the first few conference talks and hymns. I think that they were just what I needed today- especially the talk from Elder Holland. It is such a blessing to have the technology to listen to conference on a different day and time than when it originally comes out... which is pretty hard for me to see due to my lack of technology- ironic that! :) I think that my brain was ready for church when I got there and I felt less trepidation and more anticipation for the wonder ahead of me.
4. When I was growing up, I was surrounded by some pretty bad examples of the priesthood and what the word 'priesthood' actually meant and entailed. It can truly color a girls outlook on the priesthood to see guys who are out having sex serving the sacrament the next day... and having your mother tell you how much better than you they are. When I moved to the 4th ward out west, I got a better idea. But then I moved to Maine and the idea became very confused and muddled again. Some men used the priesthood authority to try and bend people to their will. A family who had been unemployed for eighteen months was able to finally get a job- which he held for two months until he was given a choice of the job or the temple recommend (and no the job was not inappropriate). I watched people being treated badly- including myself- due to false doctrine, prejudice and fear. I watched women use priesthood holders to accomplish things they couldn't do alone... and so when I stopped attending church in late 2009, my thoughts on the priesthood were confusing to be sure.
And then my stake presidency stepped in. I think that I have finally seen what the priesthood should be and what priesthood power really is... and I am so grateful for the love and caring that I have in the priesthood- I am not sure that I have ever felt it before so strong and in such a positive way before. I should thank Heavenly Father every day for the men in my stake presidency, but I do not. I want to truly express how grateful I am for them right now. I think that my head and my life would be in a much less positive place without them.
5. I came home tired and exhausted and I managed to get a nap which I have needed for days. The idea that I could take a nap- I could just decide that I could and do it is a new one for me.... and I am very grateful that my life has a little bit of flexibility that I can do a few small things for me now. It is really nice and I will never take some things for granted again- or at least not for several years from now! :)
6. I am so grateful for my close friends who are really supporting me in so many ways right now. I think in some ways, a few of them have saved my life. :) And my son is always in my thoughts and keeps me motivated to keep trying. My life is better because I know them... and what else can a person truly want in life?
I hope that all of you have had a blessed day and are ready for the week ahead. Do you have some blessings that you would like to share?