Sunday, November 20, 2011

Religion Does Not Define The Person I Am

One of the harder lessons I've had to learn in life is the difference between having a relationship with the Lord and being religious.
My father was a member of the Episcopal church when I was a baby, and my mother was Catholic. I was baptized Episcopalian as an infant. When I was 3, my parents moved to Utah. Over time, they converted to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, as did I. My parents divorced when I was 8, and my mom had to work a number of jobs to keep a roof over our heads and food in our bellies. I learned to cook and fend for myself. I went to church on occasion, but loathed Primary. Honestly, I think I just loathed wearing a dress. Oh, and I never sang, cuz I've always had a deep contralto voice, and didn't learn to love it until I was older. Church was not enjoyable until I got into Young Womens. Then it was fun.
Mom eventually remarried and was able to go to the Temple and set an example for me. As I grew into my late teens, I was pretty devout, and felt that my faith was unshakeable. Then I met my husband online, and we were engaged 7 days later without having ever met. We were sealed in the Temple less than a year later. Oh, did I mention we will be celebrating our 10 year anniversary next month?

After I moved away from home, some things happened to my mom that pushed her away from the church. Honestly, I think she got her feelings hurt by some of the members, but I digress. My favorite aunt was going to be visiting my mom, and mom suggested us 3 girls hang out in Vegas for a couple of days. I was game, and went. I knew my mom had become a coffee drinker, which bothered me (you're not supposed to have coffee or strong tea as a Mormon), but what made me snap is when she ordered a cocktail at the show we went to. I was super upset (in tears), and we had a discussion over the whole ordeal. My mom, who had held high offices in the stake, was rapidly deteriorating as a faithful member. To this day, she still has issues with paying tithing (and chews us out for paying ours, cuz it's 10% of our income that could be going toward a new house and other things we need).
Anyway, I was feeling pretty hurt over her behavior. It took me several years to realize, through her continued charity work and leadership in the community, that you don't have to go to church in order to have a close, personal relationship with the Lord.

Personally, I think church is incredibly boring. I rather spend stake conference at home with my husband & kid, and General Conference (where the world turns in to hear our Prophet speak) is down right physically painful to sit through. No, really. It kills me. Can I blame my ADD?
When I served in the Primary presidency at church for 3 years, I was happy... but I think it was b/c I spent 2 hours running errands non stop and doing my own thing. I liked making the presidency look good by helping it to run smoothly.
I was devastated when I was released from that calling, and 3 months later I'm still struggling to adapt to "civilian life". I'm the chorister in Relief Society now, which I don't mind, but sitting through some of the lessons makes me want to blow my brains out.
Sometimes I think some of the other ladies around me feel the same way. Last week we had a lesson on what will happen when Christ returns to the Earth. One of my close, older friends (Karen) was sitting next to me.
Teacher: "Can anyone tell me what will be the first thing to happen in the morning of the Resurrection?"
Me: *biting lip. Foot thumping nervously. Leaning over to Karen* "I desperately want to raise my hand and yell ZOMBIES!"
Karen: *choke, snort laugh*
Another lady across the room: "The world be turned into Eden. It won't be cold anymore, and we'll be vegetarians."
Me: *muttering, not really realizing it's aloud* "Maybe in your Eden. My Eden will have beef and snow."
Somebody must have heard me cuz they snorted a laugh too.
Karen: "Mine will have chocolate that won't make you fat."
Me: "Mine too!"

Can you see what I mean by "having trouble adjusting to civilian life"? I blame Primary. I've been in there so long that my inner big kid forgot how to be reined in. It just blurts out whatever it's thinking at the moment.
Yet, I love the Lord fiercely, and my faith in Him is still unshakeable. Given the chance, I will be a warrior for Him. My knee shall bow and tongue confess that Jesus is the King. Did I mention I'm super bull-headed when I get into an argument? WARRIOR!

I don't lie, cheat, steal, drink, smoke, or swear. When I use WTH and WTF online, it's always "What the heck?!" and "What the Fudge?!". My version of the F-bomb is "Fudgenugget", "Frick", or "Farffenugen.". The dirtiest word I use is "Smeg", and if you're a horse person, you'll know what it's derived from.
I try to be the type of friend a friend would like to have. I love passionately, and I'm fiercely loyal. You might even say that I'm dog like. When I get to know you well, I turn into a cross of Dory from Finding Nemo and Hammy from Over The Hedge. I'll tell you like it is, and will drop everything to be with you (provided my family isn't doing anything atm). If I REALLY like you (and feel that it's being reciprocated), I'll even watch your kids so you can sneak away for a while. If I like your kids and you, it is likely I will jump in front of a car or take a bullet for them.

I have a giant ego, but I also have a giant keloid on my left ear, which keeps said ego in check (really, it's hard to have too big of an ego when you feel ugly on the outside).
I'm also a little bit gay for Anne Hathaway and Zooey Deschanel. I have involuntary dreams at night where we go shopping and they tell me their darkest secrets.
I'm constantly having an internal struggle over whether or not gays should have the right to marry. Part of me thinks it's unconstitutional to not allow it, the other part says it's unnatural and cannot condone it.

I love the Lord deeply. My family and friends come first. I'm honest and fair in dealing with my peers. I think church is boring and that religion does not equal a relationship with the Lord. When I race in 5ks or try to pound on my novels, I pray before I start. I'm fiercely loyal and will fight with you and for you.
I think I'm pretty awesome.

That's the kind of friend and person I am.