Sunday, September 11, 2016

Sunday night thoughts

One of the afternoons when we were in San Diego last month, Ben and I went to the beach at high tide. It was the first time I can ever remember being there at the exact time of high tide. We were playing out in the waves like we always did, but it was crazy. The waves were deeper and they came so much faster than we were used to. After diving into a wave, it was necessary to come up as soon as possible and get sure footing and look to see what was coming. The few times we didn't do this we were knocked off balance, or went under without meaning to. It was a lot of hard work, and I got tired really soon.

I've thought a lot about the ebb and flow of life in the past years. When I taught Sunday School a few years ago, I would talk about it with our class. I always thought that the hard times in my life were when the water was ebbing: I felt thin, I felt bereft, I felt that I was far away and that life was in slow motion. But that day on the beach when the waves came one after another and I had to be so diligent (diving, getting my feet under me, coming up, looking out for the next wave) I realized that for now, the hard time is a flow. The waves are fast and I can't always see what is coming or understand what to do with it once I see it.

Here are a couple of the waves that are coming at me.

Church these days - it's hard. I'm in a loop right now where I'm really ok with everything to do with God and Jesus, but my testimony of other things is struggling. There are things I can't say "I know" about anymore. But I'm okay with that.

I remember a few months ago I was talking with a friend who is in my ward who has gone through a lot of hard things, and now she is a lot less active than she used to be. She said one of the hardest things about being at church in her new life is how fragile people treat her, as if at the slightest word or look will cause her to leave the church forever.

I loved that she told me that. It helped me to realize that in my own current struggle, I don't want to be treated like I am fragile. I also don't want to act fragile in my struggle. I want to boldly admit that I don't know all that I used to know. But I want to say just as boldly that I still want God in my life and I vehemently want to believe that I'm still loved by Him and even think that he probably understands me a little and even knew that I would feel this way and struggle like this. I want to feel worthy of that love and I want to declare to the wonderful young women that I work with (and the older women too, and the boys, and well, everyone!) that they are worthy too.

I'm not going anywhere. I'm not leaving or wanting to leave. But I'm also not the same person I used to be. It's been hard but rewarding to go through this time. I have more empathy for others who struggle. I'm more likely to voice my doubts in a meeting than I used to be, even if I worry that my comment will make me look "less faithful" than I would have wanted to appear in the past. It's a process.

Anxiety. Remember when Harry Potter went into Gringotts Bank at the end of Deathly Hallows and how he had Griphook on his back, whispering what to do to get past the Goblin security? Well, I feel like my anxiety is like Griphook, except it's only him under the invisibility cloak. People can see me, and some people can see Griphook, but most just feel him on my back and wonder what is making my shoulders so tense and my walk so unsure and unsteady. (hmm, I started this post out with a wave analogy. I'm easily distracted!)

I go through times when I don't think about it at all, and others when it's all I ever think about. I have a lot more days that are good, which is a big relief. But some moments I feel like I will never stop over thinking every tiny body sensation, or analyzing everything I do to see if it's a connection to it. I've made some good connections lately - I've realized how much my emotions are tied to how long it's been since I've eaten, and that staying really hydrated is a must. Which are two good things to know regardless of whether I'm anxious or not. I need to take care of my body and know what it needs so that it can take care of me. I'm also trying to not be so hard on myself when I am anxious or just having a hard time. I want to get to a place where I accept that it is part of my life, a part that I didn't really want or ask for, but that I can live with.

Those are two of the biggest waves I'm paying attention too. There are others but I'm not wanting to go into much else tonight. I'm actually in a pretty damn good place even with these things. I'm liking who I am and feeling that even if I don't have all the answers, I can do this.

Are you watching the waves come in? Are you in ebb or flow when the tough times start?


Britt said...

In regard to the church thing, I have been thinking lately about how I don't really "know." I "firmly believe" and "hope with all my heart" and I truly have a deep testimony, but I don't "know." And I was thinking that I need to word my testimony differently, and actually, I think it is more powerful to say that I firmly believe and I hope with all my heart rather than I "know" because that shows that I am willing to stick with it by faith. It's okay that I don't "know" and I'm not being truly honest if I say I "know" although there are times when my conviction is so strong that I might say I "know" in that moment, but then I forget and other things creep back in. I listened to the most wonderful talk by Michael McLean (whom I previously loathed) last weekend at Time Out for Women, and he talked about how even John the Baptist had moments of doubt. He said, "If you are doubting or have ever doubted, you are in good company."

Feisty Harriet said...

^^^ Yes to "hoping" but not "knowing."

And this: I'm not leaving or wanting to leave. But I'm also not the same person I used to be.


Yes, yes, yes.


Amy Sorensen said...

Love you Beck! And so sorry I didn't read this until now. I love what Britt said and I love seeing Heidi pop up and I love your wave analogy. I am definitely at a high tide. I don't know if I've ever NOT been at high tide. But, like you...I am not the same. I am trying to stay afloat although sometimes I feel like the woman in the poem--not waving but drowning.

We can stay afloat together!