Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Faith Reconciliation Take 2

I know it’s been awhile since I've written a post. I apologize.  I for one struggle with the idea that I have anything to say worth sharing. Moreover I typically prefer the learner label. I think it stems from my worry of aggrandizing myself to being something I’m not. I don’t consider myself any more special than any other person out there. I guess I see my worth more in learning and doing than I do in doing and sharing, something I'm trying to work on.  With that said I DO want my voice to be heard.

The past few weeks have been really tough. I don’t think I can say that enough. The toughest I can here to for recall in fact.

Most of my Facebook friends will have seen that my father passed a few weeks ago. While we knew he was sick and didn't have a lot of time left, it was still a shock that took us by surprise. I for one was in complete denial he was sick at all. He had just written me an email to come over the day before, asking me to pick some things up from home (an opportunity I missed because I was “too busy” that day…). My dad was the strong, healthy figure my whole life, I thought for sure he would be the exception to the rule. It's weird losing him, the whole thing is in fact. I can't think of any other way to describe it. With this said, my Dad was able to document his last few months in a blog regarding the illness he was dealing with; I think all of you would be benefited by reading from it here:

Losing someone close to you  is an experience unlike any other.  It's uncanny. It’s not just a feeling of sadness and loss, it’s all the feelings, constantly, over and over, spiraling in and out of each other, or sometimes all together. And for me at least, there is nothing I can do to control it. One moment I can be completely fine, and the next I can barely move I’m so emotionally incapacitated. And there is no antidote; there are distractions, but no real cure. Sometimes I wonder even how real my feelings are, like I should be feeling a certain way all the time but I'm not, so I feel heartless.

But you keep going, you keep breathing and simply put you keep being.  You don’t really have a choice on that matter. That’s the cruel part of this whole experience: Knowing you are still here and they aren't (I'm talking in the physical sense). What I want from this, what I crave more than anything (aside from having my Dad back), is to have peace with it all.  Real, heaven sent, long lasting peace.

I labeled this entry faith reconciliation because that’s what my father’s death has caused me to do: re assess my beliefs, and what is and is not working. I didn't again really have any choice in the matter, death forces that on anyone who tries to walk with him. 

Forgive me here in attempting to convey my thoughts, I’m trying to find the best words here, so pardon me if it doesn't come across well. In fact, I don't think anything has stressed me out so much as trying to get this across. I've come back to this post several times to then shove it aside because it felt bordering on the point of disrespectful; doing it so soon, publicly, or at all. That's how it feels. So I'm shaky here, but I've also received that uncomfortable inspiration to write about it.

In experiencing the moments surrounding my Dad’s death and funeral, I've come to feel in a very real sense the deep, enormous sore of beliefs that once were there, but aren't anymore.

Surrounding much of the funeral, I was privy to several moments with family and friends of reminiscing about my dad and hypothesizing his now post death life.  A lot of the discussion centered on him being free of sickness now, rejoicing with his ancestors, including his previously passed sister and mother. Other discussions revolved on him being with us in spirit now, helping us on the ‘other side of the veil’, as us Latter-Day Saints put it. And much of the peace found for my family and friends was in knowing we’d see him again. They were and are extremely beautiful sentiments. I can't express that enough. I understand why they’re said and where they come from. We also sang hymns, prayed and talked of and rejoiced in Christ. I think of it as a very beautiful thing and I saw the very real comfort that these actions and thoughts brought. What I want understood here is that I want to feel that same comfort. I want that peace and reassurance, but I don't have it. And it's not because I'm not trying or am not willing. And now, more than ever, I miss that.

I can't begin to describe the emotional turmoil this has put me in. And I know from experience many people may look at me and say "This is because you are weak, you don't have enough faith, or you're sinning and thus can't feel the spirit". And those may be true. I'm open to that. They sting, but perhaps necessarily so. I'm open to that if it brings me better fulfillment. What I have felt and done so is because my own personal integrity barricades me from accepting those faith filled sentiments wholeheartedly. I don't know how to believe them with the doubts and uncertainties I have. But I want to, don't get me wrong, I'm trying to find the way. I feel like I'm on the playground watching the cool kids play, but I'm the awkward kid in the corner everyone else would rather avoid. So for the time being,my hesitancy creates this well of hurt. Every time I hear something someone else takes great comfort in, and I knowingly in good conscience can't, it stings. It's like touching a bruise I had when I was a kid; there's this fascination with the pain and near pleasure, but it still hurts you each time you do it. It's still there.

So I've been in an emotional bind. On the one hand I want to believe I will see my Dad again, that we will be together and things will be alright. But then on this same hand I can't knowingly accept these things wholeheartedly while at the same time living my life, in partnership with a man. It just doesn't feel right to me to do so. So then on the other hand I'm left to either make believe my own beliefs regarding God and the afterlife that fit my lifestyle, or to then deny any of them at all. And those both  feel so naive, ignorant and cemented. So it leaves me stranded. And it seems like there's nothing I can really do about it. I know people will try and tell me differently, everyone is entitled to their own opinions, however for myself, I just haven't been able to despite my efforts.

I wish I could say I'm 100% all the time. The truth is I'm spinning back and forth constantly to figure it out, And I honestly think for me, that's how it needs to be. I don't want to ever be so sure of myself so as to neglect change or truth. It sucks though, being in this spot. It's so easy to get swallowed underneath it all. And it's taxing. I'm tired of it. Very tired.

I want to believe in God. I want to have assurance of life after death. I want peace and assurance in the choices I make in this life. Most of all I want fulfillment. I guess when it comes to seeing God as a possibility or not, I'll choose God. If believing in God despite my doubts brings me happiness I couldn't have otherwise, I choose Him. I'm not sure what to make of that, but I'll choose Him.

For now, I'll keep pushing my handcart to the wheel. I'm not sure where I'm going, I'm not sure what I'll do, but I do know it will include loving as much as I can, and doing my best with everything I'm given. It's a hard road to be on, one fraught with a lot of loss, pain and sacrifice. I know a lot people I know won't see it as such, if to see it at all even, but it is for me.

My brother Nathan told me once in the car after the funeral proceedings that in the end it's about following the Savior and no one else. Nothing else matters, He's the only one who can save. I found that extremely insightful. And I'm still trying to capture the depth of that.

 I'm here. I want my life to mean something.  I want to inspire, I want to encourage and I want to bring understanding to this world. So if anything else, please just know that.