I love going to church.
It helps me. Going to church is also a Big Deal as part of being a Latter-day Saint.
It’s not because we are a bunch of hypocrites who are trying to show off that we Go To Church (although we can be–and actually, I think most of us are willing to admit that we can be hypocritical).
It’s not because we are a church that has a checklist of Things To Do To Get Into Heaven (although as a culture we can fall into this habit).
It’s just because that is the place where we can mingle with others who are on the journey of trying to do better, live good lives and be good.
It’s a place where we can bear testimony of how Christ has helped us in our daily, seemingly unimportant lives–and suddenly our unimportant lives can have value.
It’s a place where can help each other.
Most importantly, it’s a place where we can make a new commitment each week to live a clean, good, kind, generous life and repent of where we fell short on that last week.
And, until we don’t fall short on that clean, generous, kind, perfect life, we kind of need to keep going, I think.
So, here I am on Sunday, not at church, for like the millionth time this year and I need to write about it so I can somehow either a) come to terms with it, or b) find some sort of solution to my problem.
January through March it was impossible for me to attend church. Due to the nature of Mr. SMeE, I could barely get up at all.
So, I couldn’t wait until this magical moment when I would be well enough to go that I set for myself, which was completely unrealistic, but I set it anyway.
I decided I would be able to go when we moved to Florida, because, hey, I was able to move, right?
My dear friend, Jo, from Tetonia (who also lived in Hanford, California and survived the water…. ) would interject right now and remind me of how realistically it takes a year to recover! And, also, Misty, you gave birth to a human being during all of this and moved 3,000 some odd miles.
I went to Disney’s Cape May to eat with my sister this weekend. Sure, the Facebook posts make it look like I am living the life of luxury, right? (Because all Facebook posts do that….). But, really, I will let you in on a secret.
First of all, it is super fun.
I love crab legs, and it was quite a blessing to go there, because I have had a hard time eating lately, because some of the medication I was taking made me not want to eat anything. Ever. Again. So, I had to be truly enticed.
My sister knows how to entice me.
Secondly, I go to Disney (sometimes just a resort) every two weeks (at least) to practice walking. To reward myself, I do something relatively fun like go to the Magic Kingdom and watch the fireworks with my sister (who has taken on the role of not just physical therapist, but therapist as well. She is unbelievably incredible).
It is somewhat brutal. And, usually my sister can only do that on a Friday or Saturday night.
Well, this Friday night we did it and I am still recovering on Sunday. It totally wiped me out. Completely.
And, let me tell you, I didn’t do much. It’s like going to DisneyWorld with a very old person who insists on walking everywhere at slower-than-a-snail’s-pace. We don’t go very far and don’t get a lot accomplished, but it’s helpful to me.
Also, this week we discovered that the awesome medication helping with my headaches (which really was helping!), was also making me feel like I needed to move to Tibet and live in a cave alone forever and never eat.
So, that didn’t really work out. Although it would have helped me not have headaches, what’s the point of that if I’m alone in a cave in Tibet and also malnourished?
Here is the rundown of What Went Wrong Yet Again That We Could Not Foresee Saturday Night Because I Don’t Know Why:
Mom: In the middle of switching pain medication and headache/anti-seizure/SMeE medication. Done in from physical therapy at Disney.
Trying to recover from wanting to move to Tibet.
Dad: Heroic. Amazing. Wonderful. I am the luckiest woman on earth, I kid you not. Went on a business trip this week, but still managed to come home and take care of everything.
Oldest Boy: Went on a week long campout, came home, went on boating activity all day, came home, went to dance, got lost dropping people off after dance, got home late, wired from all the activity and an incredibly painful sunburn. Couldn’t sleep. Still managed to get up and try to help dad. Amazing. awesome. Incredible.
(Why do they schedule all those activities like that, though? Do they not think everyone isn’t going to be tired on Sunday after a week like that? Or am I just old and no fun?)
Oldest Girl: ?!?!?!?!? Who knows what is going on here. I haven’t had time to figure it out, but apparently there is Something Going On. I apparently should just stay out of it and leave her alone…also, she is the one who volunteered to stay home and help take care of the Bear.
My Aspie Girl: Couldn’t find anything to wear. Nothing. Everything feels weird. Tight. Scratchy. Uncomfortable. Too Loose. Too Something. Icky. Hair isn’t straightened perfectly. Teeth aren’t perfect. Getting a migraine BEFORE church. (Usually it doesn’t start until third hour of church). Wondering what she’ll do if she has to talk to anyone, coming in my room every five minutes, “Can you talk to dad? Maybe I can help you at home? Mom, are you asleep? Mom…mom…mom…Mom, are you awake? ”
My heart went out to her and I just wanted to hold her in my arms and tell her not to worry.
Primary Aged Girl: My stomach feels watery and I feel lightheaded. (I think she’s just hungry, but who knows?)
Children in the middle: Ready to go.
We remember at the last minute that our ward, which has been transferred to the Stake Center for the next year so our ward building can be renovated, has been for this Sunday only temporarily moved back to our building and the time has changed for this Sunday only from 2pm to 11 am.
In addition, the ward building has no air conditioning to speak of (meaning, it has air conditioning in theory, but it seems to only work in rooms frequented by adults. The nursery room never seems to work. This is not doable for us because of Noah’s needs.)
Noah Bear: At the last minute, we realize that Noah can’t go to church because of the air conditioning/nursery situation. We have tried it three times unsuccessfully this summer. August is the hottest month, so this is definitely not a good idea.
Every time he ended up with something he caught from nursery and the last time he was borderline for infusion therapy.
We can’t do that right now because I have got to get my headache under control because John can’t take any more time off work because he has used it all taking care of me.
Also, we don’t really want him to be sick. It’s heartbreaking, and it sets him back in so many ways, anyway. So, then we have to decide who can stay home to take care of Noah and mom, because mom can’t and dad is teaching a lesson.
Older Baby: Decided to start cutting both eye teeth this weekend. Such a happy camper this morning!
Addie Jayne: Perfectly beautiful.
So, I realize today after praying that I am not going, that it’s another Sunday that seems like an epic fail, and I try to understand as I am typing this that it’s not like I am trying to get out of going or something–that these circumstances are understandable and that God knows I am trying and Heaven only expects my best efforts, and that this too shall pass.
It’s just that I am such a high achiever. On some level inside of me, I think I am wanting perfect attendance.
And, I like church. I miss it.
But, I have to be honest that I did feel a sense of relief when the door shut and I heard relative silence in the house after the majority of them left today. Noah was sleeping (so we know he won’t be catching anything weird this week–we all wash our hands like surgeons every week after church!), the teething baby was sleeping, and the girls were downstairs with Addie Jayne.
It was peaceful. Serene. Quiet.
I felt a little conflicted. Because I was relieved. And then I realized it was because I am, at this point in my life, the exception.
And that’s okay. When I get the SMeE under control (and I hear you, Jo, reminding me about your experience, and I am remembering that the realistic expectation is one year, not three weeks, not six months), then I can help my Aspie’s daughter, and then I can do the magic that moms do to prepare their families for Sunday.
John is heroic, but he is not a woman. There are just some little touches that are needed, I think, that I can provide, being a mother, and all.
Until then, I suppose I should realize that with this many people and this much going on, it may be a battle every Sunday and our attendance may look different every week and that will be okay as long as we keep trying. And that all Heaven expects is my best effort.
In other news, I have crossed a bridge, figuratively. Also, I did, in reality, cross a bridge this weekend as part of my physical therapy, so it has been great both ways.
I learned some things about me this weekend that I am excited to share with you, dear readers, because it is partly your comments and knowing you are out there that really pushed me to push myself to move my stubborn cow self to get going to the greener pastures I am so afraid of.
And, in part, thanks to you, I am on my way!
I can’t wait to tell you more about it next week. Until then, enjoy your Sabbath Day, and I promise you, I will rejoice in this sweet, holy day with you, no matter what it looks like.
Rejoice! It’s a holy day!
I remind you that the Church is not a monastery for the isolation of perfect people. It is more like a hospital provided for those who wish to get well. –Elder Jeffrey R. Holland
The Church is not a place where perfect people gather to say perfect things, or have perfect thoughts, or have perfect feelings. The Church is a place where imperfect people gather to provide encouragement, support, and service to each other as we press on in our journey to return to our Heavenly Father. ~Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin, (May 2005 Ensign)
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