Thursday, September 8, 2011

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

They Would Be Happy For Input From You...

It was just verified today for me that it is mostly married people who are in charge of our singles program. This is part of the actual email I received:

"Please contact committee members with your ideas. They would be happy for the input from you. Many of the committee members are married couples. We sure could use some input from actual single adults. Thank you."

If this does not fill you will a desire to speak up and never stop speaking until you are heard, then we are all lost.

I believe WE (you and me) are accountable for the singles program just as much as those who are stewards over it. If we are silent, if we do not open up and let someone in, we will remain in this lonely cold state we find ourselves in at present.

Singles have enough problems, take care of the ones you can. Open up and talk to people. Maybe someone you talk to will not seem interested but you will have planted a seed. And others will hear.

I am tired of caring about this stupid program which enslaves us to the past. I hesitate to say this, but I will anyway. I have noticed how many of the stories given in talks are about many years ago. They happened before I was even born. Times are changing and they changed before today. I deal with problems someone only 10 years older could never have imagined. I am looking for current help. Days gone by are just that: GONE! Old war stories are nice for feel good stuff, but they are not quite applicable today. This program is still in the past (platform from the 70's) and it will stay there as long as people in charge direct it from their naive position. If you do not educate them of the truth out there, then you are not doing what is required and no amount of faith will get you where you want to be. This applies to many areas of our lives, but I speak specifically of many who are lonely and want a companion and of the LDS Middle Singles Program.

Make a decision to be less acquiescent and speak out. I have repeated myself for a reason, now go and repeat yourself over and over until you are heard. Give them your input. They want it. They need it. "Faith without works is dead" is a familiar quote. Do the work: Speak.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

If I Left The Church, Would Anyone Care?

For some time I have been struggling in my life. I have been having feelings that are unfamiliar to me, yet could not escape them. I was unable to feel the Spirit and yet I saw His presence. I could not open my heart up in prayer, yet He seemed to still know what I wanted to say. People at church told me how much of an example I was, yet I would only feel the doubt in my heart. I would read the scriptures and feel so far removed from them and what they taught. My children told me how good I was as a mother, yet I felt so dirty and afraid. I was a fraud.

What once brought me relief from struggles like this no longer worked. In the past I would sit at my piano and play out my feelings in anger, frustration, fear or sorrow. I could no longer stand to sit and look at a Hymnal, so I found no escape. I tried to read novels to distract my mind but I could not understand the words on the page. I tried to busy myself but nothing kept my interest for long and I got nothing done. I could not clean my house, go for a walk, go shopping or call a friend. I was alone with my thoughts day after day and there was nothing to rescue me. No one saw it. No one heard it. No one but me knew what went on in my head.

I was afraid to tell anyone what thoughts I was having. I still am. I fear their ridicule. I fear chastisement. I worry that terrible things will happen if anyone knew. I cannot feel my testimony right now. I try to. It is there once in a while, like an old friend. But then suddenly these thoughts come back and take it away. I cry out in pain because the misery is back and I am alone in the dark again. I feel spirits around me, offering comfort, but I cannot partake of it. There is a glass wall between us and I have no idea how to break it down or who put it up there. I pray for help sometimes, but without hope.

I do not recognize who I am anymore. I am not the old me, and this new me is frightening. I do not know what she will do or what will happen to her in life. Thoughts go through my head and I do not know where they come from. They make sense to me, yet something makes me hesitate to act upon them. Some seem harmless, yet this feeling of unfamiliarity keeps me from acting. I knew this would happen, I saw it coming, but was powerless to stop it. I had to get rid of the old feelings of doubt and anger and I knew I would struggle, but I had no idea it would be this bad.

I wonder about the gospel. I really do. I do not recognize it sometimes. When my parents died suddenly some months back in an terrible tragedy, I knew then I would change. I knew then I would have to relearn the gospel. I knew then that my life would never be the same. I liked how exciting it was to see and understand things differently. Our experiences create the perspective we look at things with and I had a big change in my perspective. I welcomed the new challenge and went head on into it. It's the way I do things.

I walked down the path before me, confident and secure with the Savior. I was led and guided and felt so much protection. Suddenly it was taken from me. I have felt destitute before in my life, but back then I felt I had a safety net beneath me, this time, there is none.

I listen to others in the church, trudging along like me. Sometimes you hear sincerity in their voices, sometimes stupidity. It is hard to not judge others. It is part of our culture. So, when I look at people, inside or outside of the church, I try to keep an open mind and look deeper than what is on the surface. I know that if I am hiding my thoughts and painting on a smiley face, chances are, they are too. I have heard over the years from unknowledgeable people how the reason why people leave the church is because they do not have a strong enough testimony. And for singles, add to that reason the other that all they want is to go have sex. As if those two things sum it all up and we can stop talking about it anymore. They made their choices, they were not valiant enough, let them reap what they have sown.

After going through this tough ordeal, one which is not yet over, I question most vehemently the validity of those statements. I question the charity involved when someone speaks so callously of another Child of God. I question their humility and see pride and an unwillingness to walk a mile in another 's footsteps. I know the pain, fear and doubts that such a person may be having. I know they often try to keep their chin up and not buckle under the immense pressure they are under. I know they doubt their own self-worth and look in the mirror and see nothing good. I know they often try so hard, reaching out to those who are stronger at that moment, asking, nay, pleading for rescue, but find nothing but air. Air in the form of judgment and criticism. Air in the form of scorn and laughing. Much like the “large and spacious building” in Lehi's dream.

It is my opinion that it is too easy to simply put someone into a category and leave them there. Much too easy. Less work that way. You do not have to get to know them. You do not have to listen to them. You do not have to pay attention and pray about what YOU need to do as stewards for the Lord's doctrine. It is too easy to focus on what you want and what you need to better your own life and the future of your own children.

I may be harsh, but I am honest. The sex drive singles deal with is incomparable to anything else anyone suffers. I would not lessen it by trying. We are scorned for having it in the first place, then looked down upon if we succumb to it's needs. Our testimonies beat upon rocks day after day as our hearts tenderest yearnings go unfulfilled. Our testimonies undertake mutations as we try to make sense of this abominable situation and only the Lord truly understands. Yet, we continue to serve. We continue to do what we believe is right. We continue to fight for the Kingdom of God, even though we have a broken heart as we do it.

Loneliness is felt by most people in this world, married or not. However, when you are single you deal with it's ugly face day after day and you cannot escape it. You go alone most places. You seek out a companion to do things with, often just about anyone will do. We fear being alone. It is quite scary. Imagine going through this life alone, without the Savior holding your hand. We all get that one. But sometimes you want to SEE someone. Hear a voice. Feel a touch. You want comfort and affection. It is NOT all about sex. Sex is the only word acceptable to use to describe the yearnings we feel. Sex is easy and acceptable as a need. But affection is not. It shows you are vulnerable and people pounce on weaknesses and exploit them. We are not safe exposing our most inner thoughts and deepest feelings. We are not safe because they must be honored and respected if we do so, and they are not.

I have little hope in my own life at this time. I can only look at the past and see how I was led and guided through the tough times and hope, well, sort of hope, that things will work out in the end. I worry that I will abandon the church. I worry that the pressure will become too great. I know if people who knew me knew just how badly I feared this, and why, they would panic themselves. They would jump into action and DO something. But my heart is too tender and full of anger and fear. You see, I am not sure I can be saved. Not in the Kingdom. Not in the church. Not in this life. Not even to find happiness or satisfaction in anything I do.

Many might say I am depressed. So what. Many people are. We medicate it and then let it go as if it is taken care of. As if that is all that is needed: pop a pill and all is well. I will not medicate the reality of the situation away. I will not deny the truth, no matter how ugly it is. I will not deny the hardships I struggle with and the suffering I feel. Anything else would be a lie.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

How's That Working Out For You?

As a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints for all of my life, I have been privy to the “plan.” When you are born, you need to be born in a good home, with loving parents who nurture you and cherish you, and siblings who are kind and helpful. You are given a name and a blessing right away to get you on the right track and protect you. Your family has family home evening on Monday nights and as a family you do scripture and prayer in the mornings and prayer again in the evening. Then you have your personal prayers before you slip safely between the sheets.

You attend Primary every week and learn the wonderful songs and are taught meaningful lessons which strengthen and add to your family home evenings. You are loved and adored as you are introduced to the basics of the gospel and told how much the Lord loves you and Heavenly Father too. You sing about how you are His child and just how special you are to Him. You pay your pennies to the bishop as you learn to pay your tithing and you bare your testimony on Fast Sunday and state how you know the church is true.

At 8 years of age you are excited and prepare to get baptized. You have your interview with the bishop and he finds you are worthy and have a testimony. Your whole family comes to see you washed clean of your sins and bestowed with the gift of the Holy Ghost. It is a joyous occasion and you are welcomed with open arms into your ward as it's newest member.

You soon enter the Young Men/Young Women program and there you find leaders who nurture you further in the gospel. The other members who attend with you understand the unique situation a teenager finds themselves in, trying to withstand peer pressure and temptations in this wicked world, and they help you along the way, through the hardest time of a young persons life.

After 6 years of this beautiful experience, you are finally prepared to go on a mission and serve the Lord. You want to pass along the blessings you have been given. If you are a girl, you enter college and check out the newly returned missionaries for a potential eternal companion, (if you do not already have one you are writing.) In a few years you are sure you have found your mate. The wedding is beautiful and the in-laws adore you and say they could have found no one better for their son or daughter had they spent their whole lives looking.

Nothing less than a temple marriage will do and all the family comes as they are all active members with recommends except the little ones who wait outside dressed in their wedding finery for the pictures to be taken later. It is the beginning of living happily ever after.
College degrees are next in line for the faithful members, both man and woman need them because he must provide and she must prepare for any eventuality. Besides, she is to be the primary teacher to the kids that will be coming soon, so she must be smart and beautiful to pass on the blessings she was raised with. He works hard and gets his degree and soon finds a job and begins to work his way up in his lucrative career, providing a lovely house for his family and the requisite van for all the kids to ride safely. Traveling is important to, to round out the experience of the family, and also sports for the boys and ballet for the girls.

As each new child comes, it too is loved as the parents once were. Cherished and adored and welcomed into the family. Spoiled by the grandparents, who do not live too far away, and are more than helpful when needed. They offer support and helpful advice to the young parents who find it is more than adequate in helping them enter this new and frightening challenge called “parenting.”

The children grow, receiving the same blessing at birth, entering Primary, getting baptized and receiving the Holy Ghost, entering Young Men/Young Women and then going on missions. Coming home valiant examples and finding their mates and marrying in the temple. It is a cycle. Beautiful and full of joy and hope. The ones who were the young ones now pass on their wisdom and watch as their children continue to grow into adults, making proper decisions and being blessed.

Occasionally there were some scary moments where someone got sick or had challenges which were hard to face like job loss or people trying to hurt you. But, fasting and prayer always helped you through these trying times and they were sent to you to help your faith and testimony grow stronger, not to hurt you or make you think you are a bad person and are being punished. As you kneel with your family and plead with the Lord, you know He hears your prayers and you watch as He blesses you and answers your prayers, just like the scriptures say He does. These moments bring the whole family closer together because you are calling on the entire strength they all have and know they are putting your names in the temple on a regular basis. You bare testimony at the end of each ordeal with a lump in your throat about the tender mercies from a loving Father in Heaven.

When you are older, you are called to be bishop or Stake President. Your wisdom and knowledge of the scriptures makes your ward or stake stronger and baptisms increase, bring in new members who feel welcomed and embraced in the arms of the members. You sit back, at the fall of your life, and you know all is well. When you retire, you and your spouse ask to be temple workers because you will soon be going to heaven, but you are unwilling to wait for that beautiful feeling to enter your lives. You want to feel close to the Lord now, so you go all the time. Taking a year or two off for a senior mission with your sweetie, again, giving back because so much has been given.

When you are finally called back home, it is a bittersweet moment as you say good-bye to those you love so much. Yet, deep in your heart lies the knowledge that soon you will all be reunited and in the presence of the Lord.

For me, the “plan” stopped working right after “I was born.” How's it working out for you?

Monday, December 8, 2008

Look In The Mirror

Look in the mirror. Look carefully. For the person you see is...A Child Of God.

Sometimes I feel smart. I can talk very deeply about some subjects and feel like I have participated in something profound. Then something happens. Usually a small child speaks. And I feel stunned and stupid. In all its beauty, the gospel is very simple.

I am a child of God. Once, many years ago, He tried to show me this. He had me look in a mirror and He showed me what He saw. I could not see anything but how wrong He was about me. That image of who I am never leaves me though. It is there when I doubt who I am and what is possible. It is there, haunting me, when I feel like I am no good and unloved.

So, today, I look in the mirror and see who I really am. The image is new and unfamiliar. I have to adjust many ideas, most which are negative, about myself. But this new image adds strength and power to what is good inside of me.

I see for the first time maybe, my true potential. I have less fear, less anger, and less resentment. I am excited about who I am and where I am going. It is an adventure I look forward to. Who knows what can happen or where I will end up? I am not afraid. For I am a Child Of God.

(This post is dedicated to the memory of my parents.)

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Weeping And Wailing And Gnashing Of Teeth

Hell. Hades. Purgatory. Fire and brimstone. Lake of fire. Pain. Agony. Regret. Remorse. Endless torment. Prison. Cursed. Condemned. Punished. Damned. Whatever you call it, it's not fun.
I do not have to die to get there. I live there now.

Would it matter if I listed all the ways this is so? Not really. I am in a living hell. And sometimes I cry out in pain, “Where are You, God?”

And there is silence.

Somewhere, I know He is real.
Somewhere, I know He cares.
Somewhere, I know He is helping.

But the darkness around me is thick and I cannot see. The doubts screaming in my head are so loud I cannot hear. And tears shed in pain are not wiped away by His loving hands.

My fear is not hell. My fear is that heaven is real. I already know hell. I already know pain. But could I ever face joy and happiness without running and screaming in terror?

My fear is that it might not really matter what I do.

After I dwell in hell for awhile, I remember who rules there. And decide to check out. It is not for me. It is not always easy, but when I do, the light returns.

Monday, December 1, 2008

So, You Want To Marry A Robot....

I had a conversation the other day with someone I respect and they made an interesting comment about marriage. They were talking about their husband and how right now he is struggling with some health issues. Their husband apologized for not being a very good husband. Before I could even react she said she flatly told her husband that being sick had nothing to do with being a good or bad husband. I got to thinking on this and it stuck. I could not forget it. I thought about all the mixed messages we get about what marriage is. I have begun to think we missed the meaning of marriage and that is the whole reason why we are single. In a word, are we actually able to make and keep those sacred vows to love, honor and cherish, through sickness and health? Even if you do not speak those words or are married in the temple, are they not just as valid, if not even more so because of the covenant entered into between you two and the Lord? I think so.

I began to wonder what a marriage is. I ended up talking to my kids about the nature of “oneness” in a marriage so they can look for the right thing when it is their time. I remember I told them about how the scriptures tell us to become one and that means in mind and purpose like Christ and Heavenly Father are One in those ways. (Let's not debase it by mentioning the physical “oneness” everyone tends to snicker about here.) I asked my kids some questions and one brought up a big discussion. It involved money. YIKES! I told my kids that “oneness” included the bank account. I asked them how you could be one in all ways if you had separate funds. (I did say that some people have situations which require it, but all in all, combined funds unites people.) If you are sooooo scared to pool funds together because of “what might happen”, in my humble opinion, you are not one with your spouse. How can you be? You are keeping the one tool which tangibly unites you like nothing else on this earth. I mean money is the world score card and you are saying that you want your score kept separate from your spouses. I do not consider this a marriage made in heaven.

I also mentioned to my kids how the worlds attitude tended to be along the lines of: If you do not do everything I want you to do perfectly, I am out of here! Now, call me crazy, but that just does not sound like “oneness” to me either. It sounds more like the fair weather friend you cannot rely on when the going gets rough. And this from a spouse, the one you depend on the most? Only a real jerk would have that attitude and think it is okay. Look at the scriptures. They do not say that when it's tough you are off the hook. We only grow when we are tested. Why do we act surprised when hard times come, even in a marriage? What, did you think? They were not human? Would you rather have married a robot who actually did everything you wanted them to do? Think on that for a moment.....

If you married a robot for real, this is just some of what it would be like: At first, it would be blissful. You would get everything you wanted done to you and for you. They would serve you tirelessly. They would not complain because you would not program it into them, thinking that you would only want pleasant conversation. This would last a couple of weeks to months depending on how perceptive you are. Eventually, you would begin to hate them and abuse them. They would become what they are: a machine to you. And because they do not have any sentient thoughts or feelings, you would hate that they looked human but were denying you what you really craved: companionship. The fact that they would do anything you asked or told them to do, would no longer matter. The fact that you grew older and older, while they stayed the same, would matter greatly. If you did not take a hammer to them straight away, but continued on with the charade, you would eventually become bitter or perhaps insane.

The fact is, we thrive on the things that challenge us the most. We grow when we struggle and push and pull against things. It's called exercise. We have to serve others and allow ourselves to be served. I for one just found out that I need to do some exercising of my own in the relationship arena. I need to work out a few of those serving muscles and stretch them and make them stronger. I just found out that I actually like making a man happy by serving him. Wow! Who would have thought that I could be ecstatic seeing someone happy, when it was something I did to bring that joy, and I was not the recipient of it. I was humbled by the one who taught me and hope to do some practicing soon. Maybe this week I will make plans to see what I can do to make them happy and not think about all the things I want for myself. It's a new frontier for me, but I will go where I have never gone before. (Or so it seems.)

Friday, November 28, 2008

I Had A Plan & No One Wants To Marry Me (A 2 Part Series Together)

I Had A Plan (Part I)

I had a plan. I was young when I made it up. I was going to grow up, get married and climb the “Corporate Ladder.” I was ambitious in my naivety. I was going to have a baby, without much thought about how that happens, how long it takes, how you take care of them or how much work they were. I liked to babysit and I liked my nephews, so I wanted a baby. I was going to have a house too. I remember as a little girl, like maybe 10 years old, I would draw these elaborate pictures over and over again about my future house. It had 85 stories in it. 83 underground. It was easier to heat it and keep it cool that way, plus no one knew all the cool things you had so they did not want to go in your house and steal it all away from you. I had a tennis court, a swimming pool, a ballroom, the works. I never thought about how much it would cost, or even if it could be done. It was what I wanted.

I was also going to live next door to my sister, her house being the same with the underground world too. We planned a glass walkway between our houses so that in any kind of weather we could go to the others any time we wanted.

Our husbands were going to be best friends. And if they did not like us, (the sisters,) then they did not have a chance with us. We loved each other and would never let someone get in the way of our relationship. Our kids would go to school together, all dozen or so of them, and they would grow up best friends too.

Somewhere in there was a hope for the Lord, but a great desire to have Him around constantly came later as I grew and matured and began to understand how wonderful it was when He helped out.

I should tell you that things did not go as planned. Obviously. For starters, I rent and the one-level basement leaks. While I have children, I did not have the 12 planned. I do not speak to my sister any longer for personal reasons I will not disclose and I have never met her husband. Now, before you jump on the fact that I do not speak to my sister, let me tell you that I have good reason to stay away as she has too much influence on me for bad than I like, so I stay away out of protection for myself and my children. So, having said all that, I remember something I heard once:

If you want to make God laugh, tell Him your plans.

I think I had Him rolling on the floor.

As I grew up, life began to take on more reality for me and I began to see things more clearly. Or so I thought. I remember thinking about kissing and marrying every boy I met. No matter how far-fetched it seemed at the time. I was curious about it. Many did not make it passed the instant the idea started to form and some......lingered much longer. I saw boys as being strong and someone I needed to lean on for safety and security and many “let me down.” My life entered a whirlwind which spun to fast for me to think, let alone PLAN!!!

I began, at 16, to worry that no one would ever want to marry me. I thought I was doomed to a life of loneliness. It felt like the worst thing that could ever happen to me.

No One Wants To Marry Me (Part II)

Today, I listened to a talk in Sacrament meeting about adversity. The woman spoke of her daughter and how, while in high school and college, her daughter had those common feelings everyone seems to have that no one will want to marry her. She is now happily married, young and expecting their second child.

I wanted to throw up. Okay, not really, but something vile came up into the back of my throat. I hate how young people who just seem to have everything work out fine for them are held up as the shining examples of overcoming adversity. I hate how I am compared to someone half my age and told how they are coping and managing just fine with their problems and why can't I? I think about how that fear of someone not ever wanting to marry me has become this big dark monster that comes out in the daylight now because he is so strong. I think about how that fear has numbed me to the point that it is no longer a fear: it is a fact.

We go to activities, we try to meet people, and all we do is look ourselves in the mirror and wonder why we are a lone. I am the Lone Ranger. I am a side kick, more like the obligatory poor soul, which no one notices. I think of how many people have told me they think of me when they hear stories of singles and their struggle, but they do nothing for me. Just think of me.

So, I sit at home, feeling sad and lonely because no one wants to marry me.

I have news for you. I know someone out there wants to marry me. I just have not met him yet. I may have come close, or not even close, but SOMEONE exists who would have me as their wife!!!!! This I know in the depths of my heart. My spirit cries out of my self-worth and the wonderful things I have to share with someone. My heart carries within my breast a deep abiding love for SOMEONE!!! I just have not met them yet. I know that if we met, we would enjoy getting to know each other. I know we would have much in common, but enough differences to be interesting. We would both have too much life experience to ever share with each other completely and we would be so happy, we would never stop smiling.

But I have not met him yet.

I have not had the chance because all we ever do is dances, firesides, and temple nights. We are a very boring program.

So, my heart aches, fighting Satan's lie that no one wants to marry me. Some days he wins, some days I win. This was will only end when I finally meet the man who wants to marry me and not one day sooner. I don't know about you, but just thinking about how never ending the situation is, makes me tired.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

How To Get Married - The Right Way

Considering how much we talk about the Middle Singles Program, I wondered if we might offer up some emotional help too. Kind of give a road map or guide on fixing problems besides the Singles Program. I thought about my life. I thought about the times I “fell in love.” I thought about all the times I was disappointed in that love. I thought about how my nephew once asked me how you knew you wanted to marry someone. I thought about how I feel so alone sometimes. I thought about how wonderful it feels to imagine you mean something to someone else. Especially someone who may want to join their life with yours.

I considered that I am pretty much the opposite of an expert on the subject. I have done almost everything conceivably wrong in this matter from calling guys too often, trying to “fix” them, to playing impossible to get. I realized that one of my problems in all of this was in playing games and trying to force someone to feel an emotion I decided I wanted them to feel. I had gone at it entirely wrong.

I remember once we had a snake. It was gross. Once it got out of the cage and slithered down the couch and was stuck. It was a sectional couch and this particular piece was a recliner with many metal moving parts. Not very safe to have a snake in there and just leave it to be dealt with later. We, (when I say “we”, I really mean “they”), tried to pull the snake out. What happened to those of you not familiar with reptiles is it pulled against them and dug in deeper, so to speak. Someone had a great idea. They went to the other side and stuck their hand in at the face of the snake. Not my idea of fun or safe, but it worked because the snake did not like something coming at it directly and it pulled back on it's own. This allowed the snake to be safely removed and put back, securely this time, in it's cage.

This analogy can show something important about us. We too do not like to be pushed and pulled in directions not of our choosing. We desire to be allowed to roam freely and enjoy life. We are not happy with someone shoves something down our throat or pulls on us making demands.

Maybe not everyone acts this way. I doubt it, though. I think it is our nature to be desperate. To attract attention, kind of like little children jumping up and down when mommy is on the phone. It's annoying, and that's why we do it. We imagine that if attention is what we need, then attention is what we get. You see this behavior in many people who constantly act inappropriate in social situations. When you are rejected over and over, a sense of hopelessness overcomes you and you feel like you may as well act anyway you like because being good and proper did not work either. Do not imagine that I only speak of the “clowns” out there. Being a recluse or gigolo are other inappropriate behaviors. Being shy is a form of control, much the was silence is. We are all doing something to get seconds of attention because we are so starved for affection.

So, taking this idea to heart, I wondered what we can do about our bad behavior which would help us, the Middle Singles Program, and others around us. I have an idea.

If we go back to the basics, way back, maybe we could find help. I remember when I was really little in elementary I learned something called “The Golden Rule.” I was fascinated by this. I had to really think about the words or I would get mixed up in saying it because it was not normal English to me, at the time. “Do Unto Others, As You Would Have Others Do Unto You.” Kind of catchy I thought.

Now, taking our basic idea, let's expound upon it. First, we are doing something. Kind of implies a level of responsibility. Kind of implies also that if you are wrong, it could qualify as sin. If I hit you, I am doing something. And it's wrong. Gotta stop.

Second, the idea that I am making a choice. “As” is defined as: to such a degree or extent, similarly, or equally. That means that both have equal importance. Both have equal reasons to be considered. Both matter in this event.

Third, the idea that we want something. We want to be treated like the Children of God that we are. We know we are divine in nature but down here on earth we sometimes, actually more often than not, tend to forget that. But if we only focus on our divine nature, and forget the others, the scale is not in balance and therefore, we are doing it wrong.

The best way to do it is to keep both parties equal in the equation. So, when you disagree, no one has more power, influence, or importance than the other. When you choose something together, no one gets to overrule the other because they do something they think sets them apart or above the other. When you are bound as one, you are equal in the partnership and that is an important key to remember in your relationships. When someone sets themselves above or below the other, there is no more equality and therefore, no more relationship.

But, I am getting ahead of myself. I only wanted to discuss getting to that point really. Consider that a bonus if you like.

So, let's assume you have met someone. They like you, you like them. Things are going okay in the beginning. If you get to this point, do not faint. It is not a lark. If this is someone you want to really be with for eternities to come, the foundation you set in the beginning is the stability you will have in the future. We all know this, but I want to spell things out in a bit different manner.

First off, we all have baggage. Mine is black. Wait. That's my luggage. Same thing, actually. A persons baggage does not matter when it comes to love. Stop. Do not argue with me. Let me explain first. If you like being judged for everything in your past, then you are right. But, if you would like to be forgiven for past mistakes, mishaps, and terrible things done, then listen. We came to this earth to be tried, tested, and pretty much put through the wringer. Do you really think people will not get hurt in the process? Do you really think there is someone over the age of 8 who has never done something that embarrasses them? Do you really think that you are going to find a 40 year old with the body and stamina of an 18 year old? Think again. Get real in your expectations. Stop looking in their baggage and passing judgment and maybe they will leave yours alone. My philosophy is that I am really not interested in someones past relationships for two reasons. One, I am not looking for reasons to end it, so finding out all their complaints is not going to help me, two, well, that's just it. There is only room for two in my relationships, not 25. Keep the past behind you. Let it go. All it does is make you insecure because if they are talking about someone else, bringing up the past, you realize they are thinking about SOMEONE ELSE, NOT YOU, and then you wonder why they start comparing. You started it. So stop it. Before you open your mouth. Let it go.

So, letting go of our insecurities and need to sift through their baggage, we can then move on to something only mature adults can handle. It's called love. You see, only when you stop being selfish in a relationship can you ever really love someone. Only when you put aside your fears can trust grow. Only when you let go of your doubts can security settle over you. Only when you put the past behind you can you move into the future.

And I know how to do this. Well, hypothetically, anyway. I have noticed that everyone seems to have what I call a minefield around them. Things kind of blow up if you get too close. If you start to make someone feel something real and unfamiliar, like love, they kind of panic and retreat. (All sorts of “red flag” items could be listed here.) If you look for this behavior and notice how much it looks like someone dumping you, you might see how many mistakes you have made in the past. When you tell someone you love them and they get up and leave, it's not because they do not love you, it's because they are terrified and are running away. If they really did not like you, they would lie to you and say “ditto” or something trite. Now, the problem here is if they say they love you too. Are they lying or are they sincere? Eek. How to tell? How to tell? Well, first mistake you do not want to make is to tell them they do not. (Learned that one the hard way.) Second, do not ask them if they are sure. (Ditto.) Third, do not ask them why. (I confess: guilty.) What you really do is just let it be. Believe. Soak up the love they offer and stop trying to pick it apart. If you do, you will unravel it and lose it. (Sad, but I learned that one the hard way too.)

Afterwards, you go home and you pray about it. You tell the Lord you need personal revelation on the matter. He can tell you if it is a lie. He can tell you if it is safe. He can tell you if this is something you should pursue. He will listen to your hopes and dreams, your fears and worries, and He, and only He, knows the truth in all things. Many men told me they loved me and they did at the time. But then things happened to change that. This is the next thing I want to address.

Once you are “going” together, boyfriend/girlfriend, you have entered a very vulnerable stage. You are now open to interpretation by your friends who give much unsolicited advice. Many might secretly want you to fail because everyone knows “Two's company, three's a crowd.” Let your friend go if you must. Push them away in the same manner Christ did Peter when he said he did not want Him to die. Satan in there, in your midst always and seeks to keep you alone and miserable. I am very serious about this. What good is a friend who only points out the bad and encourages you to mistrust a love freely given? You do not have to end it altogether, but protect yourself and give them nothing to talk about. Make them wait until you have made up your mind, then tell them what you have decided. You are unsure enough without someone throwing a brick at this tender relationship.

Okay, now to the hard stuff. I have found that this is when things hurt the most. You see, you are now revealing things about yourself “as they really are.” Not because you were lying before, but because now you are letting someone in a bit deeper and that makes you vulnerable. You are open to interpretation and criticism. They can look at you “naked” emotionally and hurt you more now. It is fragile. This is when charity and The Golden Rule are needed most, not least. This is when you turn the other cheek and bite your tongue. Not when you meet someone and hardly know them. That's when you tell someone the truth, but keep it to a minimum. This is when you hold someone's heart in your hands and are responsible for your behavior.

This is when you are in the minefield. This is when you scare them the most. But the good news is, they want you to succeed. They want you to make it through the minefield, to gain all their trust and devotion. We all want to give it. While you are wandering their minefield, they are wandering yours. As their scary bombs are going off, so are yours. People get hurt in minefields.

Never forget that point. Love hurts. At first anyway. You have to tear apart that protective wall they built to get to their heart and it causes both people pain. So, there you are, hurting each other, loving it, right? Well, no. But, enduring to the end is our motto. And think of the honor that is to come if you persevere. Think of the gift of their life if you succeed. Think of how beautiful love is in the end and fight for it. Put down the sword you use to hurt people with like the mean words you say and the selfish attitudes and the pride you carry on your shoulder, and humble yourself and submit to the beating required of you to gain the reward. It is not so uncommon an idea, just maybe never imagined you would have to do it for some guy or girl. Right? Well, if you can do it for Christ, are not His Children good enough then, too?

Remember, I said you had to let go of the pride. This minefield is not really all that hard. All you have to do is put the others needs consciously above your own. All you have to do is commit to them and love them wholly and completely. All you have to do is live the gospel in it's purity and the rewards are there for the taking. I for one blame my stupid mistakes for the ending of many relationships. I never said what was on my mind, then blamed them for not knowing it. They needed to be mind readers. I looked for flaws and found countless ones. Eventually, they felt they could never measure up, and left. I argued and I was silent. I never said what I wanted to do, then I complained about what we did. Okay, guys, I am reformed. These things are in the past. But, there are plenty of things they did which did not help. They did not call often enough. They forgot to tend to the emotional side of things. They forgot to be cute and sweet. They forgot to be respectful after the first few minutes. They forgot to tell me it was over and I had to stew and fuss for weeks before I figured it out.

Both sides are guilty of bad behavior. That's why you are single. I want firesides which point out all the mistakes we make so we can correct them. Not some fire and brimstone, beat up one side then the other. I want a real solution and honesty about the problem. I want to understand why people do what they do. I want to understand what I can do to make myself better in a relationship. Apparently I do not know. Apparently, neither do you. Or you would be married and so would I. I want workshops where I safely practice my skills. I want game nights where I can feel safe and explore new ideas and look for clues and get smarter about dating. I am tired of dance after dance where all we do is grope in the dark and have a pseudo sexual experience, then go home empty and alone.

Yes, I said sexual experience. What do you think dancing is? It is provocative and inviting. It is showing how your body moves to rhythm. You are giving clues and hints as to how suitable you would be as a mate. Granted, some do this “dance” better than others, that's why it is so unfair to make it the only way we are allowed as member of the Church to meet and mingle and pick our future companion.

Much is needed by way of a reformation in the Middle Singles Program. And, it will not happen unless you make it happen. Until that time, probably not until the latter half of the millennium perhaps, you are on your own. So, study up on human nature. Find out why guys and girls behave the way they do. Before you go grabbing books off the rack and surf the Internet, may I suggest a better avenue in finding your answers. It's called prayer. And scripture study. Only through the Spirit are you going to be able to know what one person is thinking. Yes, you can find generalities everywhere. We call them stereotypes. They are prejudicial and judgmental. I would steer clear of them. I would go right to the source. I would go to the head Man and ask Him what He thinks, then act accordingly. If you do this, you will have fewer mistakes and less grief in your life. To each his own they say, so also, leave everyone else's relationships alone and do not comment so much. You see, you probably do not know as much as you think you do. And if you are right, prayer is good then too. The Spirit gives all sorts of direction and when we come from a place of love, we are heard more often because we are not attacking or forcing our will on someone else. I pray that each of us will find someone who we can be willing to go through the fiery furnace for. Then actually do it.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

I Need To Be Needed

Service is a good thing to do in our lives. It uplifts those who are down, plus we get an added boost ourselves as we see others smile or feel relief. We can even find we are greatful seeing what others must go through and how much we are often spared in our lives. Service helps us look at things in a less selfish manner as we put others needs ahead of our own. I like being around people and serving them because I all ways seem to feel like I come out ahead, rather than the other way around. I like to call someone to cheer them up and leave feeling cheered up. I like to go help someone and leave feeling helped. It is truly amazing to see how time and time again, no matter how many times I check it out, it just seems to all ways work this way. I seem to gain more than I give. It does not make sense. It's magical. I know it could be explained and there is some logical sense to it that only the Lord fully understands, and I will just have to wait until I get that knowledge. But I still like playing around with it and seeing the miracle happen.

Lately, I have been thinking about how we need to be loved. It is as important as being fed or sheltered. Without it we die. Putting this with service, I began to think that maybe we have missed out on something important in regards to serving others. Let me try to explain this new and seemingly complicated idea I am having.

It comes down to this: I need someone to need me. Specifically, to need to serve me, to need to love me, to need to help me. I need someone who thinks about ways they can help me and make things better for me. Traditionally, when I would imagine someone needing me, I thought of various chores I could perform for them and called it service. You know, take dinner over to them, move clothes through, vaccum, wash dishes. Even visiting someone is something I can do for them. But then I realized this could be seen as ME needing to serve THEM, not them needing to be served. In other words, being needed could actually mean that someone needs to love and serve me, and I need to be there for them to do that.

Bare with me as I try to go farther with this. In a relationship, we know that we need to love and care for each other and that if we do not value the other person, the relationship will fail. So, with this new way of looking at needing someone, I need someone to need to love me, to care for me and to watch me grow into the daughter of God I was meant to be. I need someone who puts me first in their life, because it makes them feel better to do so, and they get a little boost doing it. I need someone who takes a scary step in the relationship because they need me to do the same and they are willing to do it first, rather than sit back with fear and pride and blame me for not knowing their needs. I need someone who needs to live the gospel so they use me as the means of doing it. I need someone who needs to serve another of God's children and I get to be the lucky one they do it with.

I need someone to call me on the phone and say they just needed to hear my voice. I need someone to come visit me because they needed to see me. I need someone to do something for me because they needed to show their love for me. I need someone to look at service in a new way and need to need me. Because that way, the spirit can enter in and work miracles.