I had an interesting, painful experience at church last Sunday. It has taken me a few days to really process it and to understand this profound experience and how to complete my grief process to a peaceful acceptance. I once shared a really painful and challenging post on a different blog site about some of my previous experiences at church. And at that time, for the first time in a long time, I felt some support and a feeling of relief. I had so much emotion and pain bundled into my body and my heart and sharing some of the grief and challenges felt so releasing. I thought that in that experience I might have removed some of the pain- to puncture the bubble of figurative pus and then clean and bandage the wound so healing would occur. I now realize that was only a start, and not actually an experience that brought me near the end of my journey.
I have been enjoying Sacrament meeting so much lately. After years of being unable to really hear it, I take great comfort in being able to sit with paper and pen and just listen. I try and take notes on the things that strike me in the talks and later I usually head back to the apartment and reread and ponder the things that I have learned after a visit from Bug . I have also had the wonderful opportunity to help new friends with their children and so I can sit and rock with a beautiful spirit snuggled into my lap while we color or draw and sit and work on reverence. It is something that I enjoy so much and I look forward to every week. Sometimes, I will be surrounded by so many beautiful children that I can't take any notes, but I feel the spirit and I do feel spiritually fed. I so look forward to those meetings and the peace that I feel.
Yesterday was fast Sunday. I came to church a bit disheveled and very tired so I sorta knew that being or feeling spiritual would be harder for me. Within a few minutes of sitting down as we were singing the opening hymn I saw Ian out of the corner of my eye. When I looked over at him, he waved and slowly came over to sit with me. And so I spent Sacrament meeting with Ian sitting next to me watching him draw and quietly encouraging him to listen. It was a relatively normal Sabbath meeting for me... until the last testimony.
At that time, Ian had climbed right up onto my lap and was quietly sucking on his thumb while I slowly rocked him back and forth. Sister Erickson started talking about our ward family and how much it means to her. And as I listened, I slowly came to the realization that I feel a part of this family. For the very first time in my life, I truly feel like I have a real, supportive church family... a group that loves me and I belong to. And, as I rocked back and forth, I saw the past image of me standing in the back of the room. Standing all alone with my son in my arms or one my shoulders. Just alone. Feeling blocked off and alone and not able to fit in. Wishing for help, wanting help, begging and needed a friend and having no one. Just standing and wishing that I too could sit with everyone. And now I have it, but I don't have my son. I can't sit with him or hold him and that opportunity I lost forever. And without meaning to, I found myself rocking Ian and quietly sobbing like my heart was broken. I felt so alone and sad and just unable to stop rocking and crying. I just pulled Ian closer who seemed to enjoy it and he continued to smile and look at me as I sobbed. The testimony ended and the group started sing the hymn “Because I Have Been Given Much” and as I listened to the words I felt this pulling of gratitude for what I do have, but at that moment I felt so hurt and alone. I missed my son, my life, my loved ones, my siblings who are so far away and I didn't feel like I could move for the pain of it all. A moment later, I felt a person sit next to me and put their arm around me. For a brief moment, it felt like the Savior holding me and I heard the voice of Spencer W. Kimball saying “God does watch over us and does notice us, but it is usually through someone else that he meets our needs.” As people continued to sing, I sat and felt so loved and not alone at all. Even though I was in the back of the chapel and this brother had been sitting in the front, he felt prompted to notice and come help me... to hold me.... to remind me of Heavenly Father's pure love for me and soon I was able to sing the words as well.... “I shall give love to those in need; I'll show that love by word and deed: Thus shall my thanks be thanks indeed....”
I know it to be true from the very bottom of my heart. I am not alone any more.