Overall, I had a very pleasant experience in Seaside. I loved how the beach was like a mile from the roads and so you could stand on the beach and feel...alone. Away from those that judge you or hold you to a higher standard. I loved being near Nina and meeting her friends and being in my hotel room and having new places to explore. However, there came a moment that I didn't enjoy.
On the last day, Nina said that I was more bitter at the world than I was when we were dating nearly 2 years ago. She said that I was always bitter, but before I was able to point out the good and the bad and now, I see more bad than any light of good. I wanted to point out that bitter was my most attractive quality, but I doubt she would have believed me.
When I was hiking with Katie several months ago, she mentioned on the hike that I seem to know a lot of people that have had a hard life. She is right. I have several friends that have been raped, abused, had to deal with chronic disease, lost a parent/spouse prematurely, and various other tragedies. She, on the other hand, didn't seem to know a lot of people going through hell. I wonder if that is because for the most part she is a very happy person and so she attracts happy people. Am I attracting the bitter?
I haven't written Melinda for 3 months. She still writes me every week, despite my lack of detail to my side of the correspondence. (Today she actually sent me a self addressed stamped envelope to reply with.)
I'm not sure what to say to her. I'm not sure anything I say isn't going to hurt.
On Match.com, one of the characteristics they use to describe yourself has to do with religion. One option is spiritual but not religious. I've come to think I'm the opposite. I'm religious but not spiritual any more.
As we sat in the hot tub Saturday night, I was rubbing Nina's shoulders when in walked 3 couples, in from Seattle for a weekend of wind surfing. In the course of discussion - it was brought up that Nina and I attended BYUI in Idaho. This resulted in a slew of questions about Mormons. Nina let me answer all of them. And I could. In a perfect understanding of basic beliefs and temple marriage and even that mysterious Mormon underwear - I was able to answer every question. I've studied my scriptures. I know the answers. I know how to explain it. However, some days I don't believe a word of it. We call it the plan of happiness, but at times I see nothing happy about it. I understand the doctrine but I don't see a lot of it in my life.
There is a blog I read where in the girl often comments on finding the man of her dreams - the man she thought she would never find. She got married less than a week after turning 20! In a few short months I will turn 31. On Friday a dear friend got married. She and I had known each other in good and in bad since Elementary School. On several occassions, she said I was so fun to be with, but we couldn't date because I couldn't take her to the temple.
What is it about that one quality that defines a person? You can be funny, chaming, caring and sweet. You can visit people in the hospital, donate to charity, volunteer your time in the service of God. You can even drive other people to the temple and wait patiently outside while they do the work they choose to do inside - yet because you cannot go in you are as bad as Satan himself.
I realize there are starving children in China, and there are people so sick they can't get out of bed, and there are people who have to suffer the indignity of not being able to wipe their own ass. However, this is my blog so this next part is going to be about me and my struggles.
I was happy with Lanae. We were in love. We had fun. The sex was great. Then my bishop told me that with God I would find greater happiness. I ditched the lutheran girl that was "slowly taking me to hell" and tried to serve my God. I was granted a 4 month mission before that was taken away. Then my mother died when I was still in my early 20s. Then the Lord told KNJ-P that her time would be better served on a mission instead of marrying me. Melinda and I started to get close, Mission. Since being on her mission, a temple marriage has started to matter more and my inabilities matter more.
Why does the Lord constantly take away? Don't tell me it is in response to my worthiness for blessings. My father has left the church, gets giddy everytime the church gets sued and secretly hopes for the Mormon church to lose their none profit status. He just went from one successful relationship to another where is is constantly happy. Brother left the church, married and happy most of the time. They are unworthy of their blessings according to the doctrine yet they have been blessed. But me, He keeps on taking. Where is the happiness in this plan?
Until KNJ-P I didn't really want a temple marriage. Not because I can't get there but because I want my dad and my brother at my wedding. We have been through so much and have had to rebuild our relationships several times. I don't want to have to balance the new world of being married with the world of rebuilding in the same year. This is logical in my mind. But others say "Why aren't you putting God first over family?" My question to that is - why does God wish to break up my family with my wedding? It should be a joyous occasion - not one where we exclude those who aren't of our faith. If we are going to do that - we might as well be like the polygamous cult in Texas that we try so hard to seperate our selves from.
At church on Sunday, I showed up on time and sat in the back, like I always do. I have long legs and a big belly and I like to stretch out. No one comes to sit next to me. No one passes me notes or whispers in my ear something funny or entertaining. Instead, like almost every week of church since leaving Idaho, I sit being lectured from the pulpit about how I don't measure up. I get lectured about how, even though I wasn't the one who ate the fruit in the garden, I am paying for that fall every day of my life. The effects of the fall and my inability to over come that is all I hear about. Where is the plan of happiness when all I get at church is the lecture and not even a friend to sit near me and pass notes?
When I was 23 my mother was diagnosed with terminal cancer. Within 8 months I watched her lose 150 pounds and become a shell. And then she was in miserable pain for the last several months. Then she died. She raised me to not only believe in God and Jesus Christ, but she also taught me to believe in the Mormon church. And then He took her from me. I wasn't looking for borrowed testimony. I'm looking for someone to go to when the rain clouds aren't just gathering but when the rain doesn't seem to be stopping any time soon; when treading water is just too much and I need a place to stand for just a moment. Just one damn moment.
But He just keeps taking those people away. Mom, Lanae, KNJ-P, Melinda, Nina and whomever is next. And all I can do is watch. When is the plan of Happiness kicking in?
While walked the streets of Cannon Beach, Nina held my hand. When requested, she would kiss my cheeck. It was fleeting. I knew by Tuesday she'd be gone, yet it was so nice to have someone want to hold my hand and and choose to kiss me. In church on Sunday we sat together and she whispered in my ear doctrine and the funny. We passed notes and for the first time in a very long time - I had a friend at church and a place to be that was not bitter.
And then the next day, she told me I was bitter. And like that, life was back to where the Lord wants me.
I so badly want to write to Melinda, but how do I tell her, a girl on a mission for the Mormon church who is telling people the joy that comes from the plan of happiness, that I don't believe any more that it is such a plan of happiness? At least for me.
And because of that - I'm a little bitter. And I'm not sure there is any thing left I can do to fix it. And I know He won't. He only takes.
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