Sunday, February 10, 2008

On a Ledge

I am referencing my very first post Making the Decision. I really don't know where I am going with this, but I need to write to sort some things out. Anyway I am back on the ledge: looking down, looking up. It isn't the same ledge, but I'm faced with the same decision.

Only now, I have already tried one of the two options. I have tried to climb upward. I was reaching so hard. I believed in the promises whispered by the still, small voice. I made every effort I could to rise to the top. In many ways I made it. The problem is that once on top (back completely living the gospel), I found out I really was as alone as I had remembered. There were a couple of people who may have given an effort to try to help. Unfortunately, all they could do was say, "Just be happy. Keep trying. It's worth it."

That's not a whole hell of a lot of help. It doesn't help to know that what I'm going through is normal. In fact it makes it worse. I simply cannot believe that a "Loving Heavenly Father" would put His "children" through misery like this. Whether or not the Church is actually true is of little importance. John 7:17 says "If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself." Well, I've done His will and I have felt nothing but abandoned. A testimony is a personal witness, the things we know. Well, I know that God has not lived up to the promises made by His servants. Now whether that means the Church is not true, or that God doesn't exist, or that He simply doesn't care, I don't know. And, really, it doesn't matter to me. I can't rely on other people's testimonies, and God has ruined his chance to preserve mine. If the Church really is true, then that means that I am simply not Celestial material, because I can't live the gospel with what he has given me to work with.

Maybe if God had directed me to Provo, then I would have had the opportunity to meet and make friends with other people who are going through the same thing. But I felt "directed" to be here. I never would have met my wife if I was in Provo. And I believed that I was supposed to marry her and that everything would work out for me as long as I kept doing all that I was supposed to do. Well, here I am alone. I guess that's God's plan for me. He really must want to see me fail, or else He made a really big mistake. He has just pushed me too far. His only hope to keep me from completely losing my faith in him is to find a way to kill me soon, so everything will be okay in the next life, just like He promised. I won't take my own life, though I have desperately wanted to. But the church teaches that death is the only way to be happy.

I know some of you are saying that there really is a way for me to be happy and fulfilled living the gospel. I don't believe it. There may be for you, but not for me. My therapist convinced me to talk with me wife to help her understand my needs so that she can work to fill them. 1) Sexually, telling her can't help. 2) I did talk to her about my emotional needs for connection. And she has been great at trying to meet my needs. The problem is that I feel even worse. I don't feel any more connection, but I do feel guilty that she is trying so hard. It is neither her fault nor mine that I am flawed to the point that the things that should help don't.

And it isn't like I sit around and wallow in m own self-pity. I do so much to serve her and try to make her happy. I also find a lot of ways to serve others. The gospel promises that service is supposed to help me feel better: happier and less concerned about my own problems. Again, it just makes things worse. I don't know what else I can do for the service cure to work.

The last week I have started to consider leaving the Church and everything. I don't believe that it could be any worse than what I am going through right now. Before, one of the main things keeping me from doing so was the fear of eternal consequences. But now, I really can't say that I believe that. Right now the ONLY thing keeping me from packing up and leaving is knowing how it would rip my wife's heart to shreds. Still, I know that this struggle is taking its toll on her as well. I'm beginning to think that she would be better off without me. She is still young enough to find someone who can feel and be what she deserves. It might hurt her like hell in the short run, but it would be better for her than me dragging her though this hell for the nest 50 years, or even worse, leading her on and having kids before I lose my strength to pretend anymore.

The funny thing is that since I have considered leaving, I have felt the first hint of hope and happiness that I have felt in weeks. If God really wanted me to live the Gospel why wouldn't he have let me feel some hope sooner? Why would my personal experiences go so directly contrary to what the gospel promises?

Anyway, I haven't jumped yet. I haven't actually decided that I am going to jump. However, I'm here on a ledge. I'm not in a great rush to make up my mind, but I can't stand here in the middle for long.

5 comments:

Potentate said...

I'm sorry.

Samantha said...

Once upon a time there was a little girl. Her mother hurt her daily, emotionally and physically. Her father allowed it to happen and never intervened. One day her parents invited her cousin to live with them. He was a teenager. He raped the eleven-year-old girl nightly for nearly four months, leaving her shaking with pain, to clean up the mess he left behind, filled with loneliness and betrayal. She was not a bad person--she was innocent. She loved God. She befriended people. She helped others. She did not understand how her life could be so painful.

Years later, she is no longer a little girl. She is me--grown up, married, a mother and successful businesswoman. I don't know if I'll ever understand how a loving Heavenly Father could not only allow those things to happen, but to stand by and watch. I don't think it's fair that on top of this I get to deal with SSA and PTSD, as well as be baffled by human interactions as I work to build normal friendships with others.

I know how it feels to wonder about God's love and nature. I understand feeling abandoned and betrayed by him. I have lived longer than you, so I will tell you this: Doing what you believe is right out of fear of retribution will not hold you in the gospel. Living the gospel to avoid hurting someone you love will not work either. At some point we learn about God's love for us, and in turn, develop a deep love for him which surpasses human hurt, betrayal, and loneliness--or we don't, and we choose a different path.

I wish you well on your journey, whatever choice you make.

Anonymous said...

For what it's worth, I recently went through this same question about three times this last year. I felt what you did. I sense of relief knowing that somehow where I was in the church was as difficult and unrewarding as I somehow always knew it had always been...
In the end I realized that God had the power to tell me what his will for me was. I prayed a pretty simple prayer. It simply asked that if he indeed wanted me to remain a part of the church, I needed to know how specifically he wanted me there, and in a way I could recognize.
The answers came several times in very similar ways every time I was out on that beautiful ledge.
The church organization has a long way to go in how it deals with any issues that people have that fall outside of its current sphere of doctrine, especially regarding things that it doesn't understand or see much...or thoses issues in which the outward appearance of such overlaps with moral doctrine.
In the end we must all be able to listen to what God is telling us directly when other's ears are too prejudice to hear. In the end Christ's love was centered on the lost 1 of the 99. His healing and love centered on the individual. The Church is focused on the family. When we can get both of those happening at the same time is when I think everyone's needs would be better met.
Just remember Christ loves you and wants you to know that he is committed to you. That we make mistakes and above all should not be afraid to make decisions to learn and work out our salvation. Which lastly comes to my final thought...So often in the Church we feel that the only questions of service are to be defined by the Leaders. I have found my service to the Lord in my personal mission of service to my fellow man. I found it through personal experiences when the spirit had been generous and revealed the Lord's will in my life. The scriptures speak of people having personal talents and missions with the Lord. What is your mission in the work? Why did God seee fit to bless you with this immense burden in this mortal existence. Why did he see fit to bring you into the Church? I can say for myself that the only thing keeping me in this Church is God and the work he gives me specifically in regard to my personal talents that are wrought from my suffering.

Anonymous said...

also if you need someone to talk to I am glad to exchange email. Let me know though as I do not post anything other than anonymous...I guess I am just too private never enough to not lend a hand to someone on the ledge.

reachingupward said...

thanks anonymous. hit me up at reachingupward@yahoo.com