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Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Why I'm A Mormon

The short answer is LOVE.

Here's the really long answer.

For a long time I felt like an oddball around people. I thought, surely something must be wrong with me because there were a lot of people and only one of ME. I figured, if I'm struggling to fit in socially, while most everyone appears to be getting along comfortably, there could be something wrong with me. Right?

I wasn't convinced I was a completely odd duck. But after a number of social mishaps and failed choices, I thought it best to appear to go along to get along, ya know what I mean?

I'm 46 years old. This goes back to my earliest memories. I had these outsider feelings throughout my childhood and teenage years. Now some might say, Who hasn't ever felt this way except everybody? True.

Eventually we grow up and realize most of us have faced the same private battles of insecurity. However, for me, my oddball feeling went a bit deeper.

My Younger Days
First there was my home life as a kid. As much as I loved my parents (and I love them even more now that I'm older and wiser), I could see they were in a lot of pain. You see, I come from a long line of leavers. My father's mother (pictured in the post below) had him as a teenager, raised him for a little while, and then left him with her mother when he was eight.

My mother who was left briefly by her own parents as a child, left my oldest brother when he was 16 to start a new family and new life with my father.

My brother struggled, yet somehow he landed on his feet, became a business owner, and had a wife and two kids. He stayed in touch with us for a few years. But my big brother eventually packed up his life and left us without a goodbye or a look back.

Having leavers in a family can cause a lot of pain and confusion. While my parents never left, they did cause some pain and confusion for us kids.

A few of my teachers nicknamed me Smiley.
Here I am in 8th grade.

Nowadays, I choose to remember more laughing and make-believe scenarios as a kid than teary episodes. As the oldest, my two younger siblings took their cues from me. I was the house-jester so to speak. Like most children, I learned early that everyone, even frown-y grownups, loves a good laugh. So I hammed it up as often as it was allowable.

Allowable was rare, so over time I retreated from the world by clamming up. Quietude became my binky and my blanket. As a little girl, I could not fathom a world where we couldn't just be loving all day everyday. Why did people have to be so cranky or mean?

Loving with a Broken Heart
In defiance of some of my parents' ways I vowed to love everybody! My parents' hearts had been broken (they were victims of leavers), they had suffered disappointments. They cautioned me against trusting most people. My rebelling against their advice was both good and bad for me.

I turned 18 and off to college I went, determined to have FUN and LOVE everybody and no one was gonna stand in my way. Ha! I'm pretty sure I sounded just like Sponge-Bob.

Well I don't have to tell you that the world was just tickled pink to welcome an eager-beaver sucker like me. Friends? I wasn't so good at picking them.

At first my happy-happy-joy-joy-ness was infectious. Then it became annoying. Most of my women friends and acquaintances ended up hating me. They thought I was either a big phat-phony or the most naive person on the planet. They found none of it endearing.

By the time I was 27 I was married with kids and had become almost as cranky as my parents used to be. Whoa!! Where did the girl in me go?! Somewhere along my grownup days I'd lost myself. Next, I got divorced and began another years long journey towards finding my girl-self again.

Though I'd grown up attending church, I had stopped attending long ago. I had turned to self-help retreats and spiritual life coaches. I had begun praying again.

I healed my broken heart as best I could. I focused on the job of single-parenting and loving my sweet little girls. Whatever sadness may have lingered, I tried my best to keep it tucked away. Oiy. That didn't work out so good.

Refusing to Forgive
One day my dream man showed up. And while my life did get better, my parenting skills began slipping. After hitting a few walls, I finally figured out that I had ingested the same poison my parents had. It was the poison of unforgiveness.

Unforgiveness was eating away at me and my little family like a quickly spreading disease. As a little girl, I was super-close to the Heavenly Father we call God. It was God who made it easy for me to love my pain-filled parents. I was no angel. But my parents were all I had, so I loved them.

All children are like that. They will love their parents no matter what. That's the God in all of us. It's not taught, we come here with it.

God Is Love
As I grew older, I grew away from God, and I grew sadder. My sadness became bitterness. Why? I was angry at everyone who I thought caused my pain. So I forgave. My forgiving flipped the switch to my heart's light. And you know what happened? The floodgates burst and LOVE began pouring in from EVERYWHERE.

Authentic friendships found me at last! Some of them, I even found right here, through blogging! The recurring theme I've found to be true in my life is, where ever there was LOVE, there was GOD. It made complete sense. The First Parent to us all, gave His only Son, Jesus Christ to save us all. He forgives us of every wrong we do as flawed humans.

Hubby and I with with the missionaries from
our Ward on our baptism day.

I'm a Mormon because after 46 years, I'm finally at home in a church. I can let the light of Jesus Christ shine through me and be just as loving as God intended me to be. I love my church. I love my friends.

This time around, I can say with a heart full of love and ZERO bitterness, I love everybody! Life is so yummy I could sing!

Thanks for loving me enough to read this whole thing!



FIREBIRD said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

What a wonderful journey your life has been! I'm glad you had the courage not to give up on the world and on yourself.... or I, for one, would have missed knowing such a remarkable woman.

Nikki said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

UNBELIEVABLE POST!!! I think I am speechless and that as you know is impossible. I'm going to share this on my fb page and let the flood gates you, love this!! I too am a proud Mormon and what can we say, it's a Mormon thang!! :)N

tammy said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

I am so happy for you and glad that you feel "home". Really, I don't think I could have gotten through this past week and a half, or these past two years without my faith and knowledge. I was inactive for a time, knowing in the back of my head that I knew what was right, but not living it fully. These past few years of growing and changing have totally made me feel like I'm home, too. That I'm finally being the person I was meant to be. I'm so glad you're happy and at peace. I'm so excited for this next year for you and all the changes and blessings it will bring.

Debbie Jones said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

Just found your blog tonight and am now your newest follower. This is a lovely, lovely post! Thank you for sharing your testimony. I am so glad to be able to call you my "sister in Zion." Looking forward to more of your posts!

namaste said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

firebird, phfft! why would i give up on you? thanks for your cheer, my friend.

nik, "it's a mormon thing" - that's awesome, i love it! thanks for linking me on fb, girlfriend!

tammy, thanks! so glad you and your family have the gospel fully in your life, along with your friends & ward support. it is truly humbling and wonderful to share with you in this experience.

debbie, welcome! so nice to have you here. and thanks for your kind words, sis.

mCat said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

Oh my Namaste...... I love this post. You nailed it honey. It's all about LOVE.

Do you mind if I link to you? I would love for your journey to be shared. There are others who can benefit and know that they are alone in their feelings and that hope lives and happiness can be found and/or added to.

jen said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

Thank you thank you thank you for commenting on my post today, or I never would have found you! Congratulation on your baptism and finding a place you can call home. Seeing you smiling with your missionaries brings me to tears as I think of my own missionary in NYC.

I'm your newest follower, and I will be watching and cheering for you and your family.

May Heavenly Father bless you and your family as you grow in the gospel of Jesus Christ.


Granny Annie said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

"And they'll know we are Christians by our love,...."

Pedaling said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

It is all about love!

It's interesting that we can choose to remember more the laughing and make-believe days over the tears.

I've said many times, the same as you...why do people have to be so cranky or mean. ha, reminds me of that Taylor Swift song that my girls and I sing so loud in the car..."why do have to be so mean?"

Namaste, so many things you say, makes me think of so many incidents and experiences in my own life- I love our little connection.

The Gospel does make complete sense and though there's a lot to it... a whole lot, but it isn't complicated.

I feel your love and your excitement and I like this post so much that I too must share your sweet testimony! So many can benefit from the thoughts of your heart!

Watch out world....Namaste has found her home and with it all kinds of love and heavenly power!

sandyseashells said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

I'm 'pedaling's' sister. I enjoy reading your thoughts. Thank you for sharing.

CJ, The Purple Diva said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

I found you through 'pedaling'. I loved your story and your willingness to be so open and honest with us. So happy that you are able to find true happiness now. I'm LDS as well; been a member since before I was born! HA!
I'm a new follower now. Can't wait to read more of your stories! :-)

Pedaling said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

note to self: do not try to hurry and leave a comment when you are getting ready to walk out the door for a morning meeting. some people can write when rushed, evidently, I cannot.

namaste said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

mcat, thank you! yes, LOVE connects us all, my friend. link away, i don't mind at all!

jen, welcome! so glad to see you here! thanks for your prayer and kind words. i'm glad you wrote that brave mommy post. it moved me to comment after following you quietly all these months.

granny annie, yes, we are ALL christians, therefore sisters. thanks for your love, sis.

pedaling, i LOVE this comment. no note to self necessary. thanks for the link and your cheer. ok, i might be the only one who doesn't know that taylor swift song. but i'm gonna check youtube and play it LOUD. lol! i love that you and your girls still sing in the car. it's been years for me and mine. i look forward to learning more about your life and the parallels in our experiences.

sandyseashells, thanks for your encouragement. you're as sweet as your sister.

cj, welcome! i'm glad to see you here. thanks for noting my openness. i sometimes wonder if it's too much, but then a comment like this spurs me on.

Sue said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

"Life is so yummy I could sing" Love this.

What a delight you are. M-cat thanks for the link.

So happy you are home and feeling the joys of the gospel. Thanks for sharing your feelings.

Kristin Klein said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

Hello there ;)

Followed a little trail over this way from Pedaling and Mcat. So glad you shared your story, and so happy for you to have found the true love that you seek and so willingly share. So glad you're a Mormon!

I'll be back frequently for more updates!