So I went to LDS Sunday School today. For those who are wondering, it wasn’t because I am contemplating a ‘return to the fold.’ (Please don’t be confused here. Really.)
I’m currently grappling with ideas of where my alliances lie–with respect to friends, to community, and to institutions (like the Church).* After thinking long and hard about this yesterday, I’ve decided that my greatest loyalty of these, by far, is to my friends. Hands down. As I’ve said before, I do have the bestest friends.
So one of these friends was teaching today. And as he’s someone who’ll be moving on soon, I wanted very much to support him and to savor this opportunity to learn from him and the ways that he views the world. What a pleasant surprise to arrive at the meeting and discover that his lesson was on Matthew 11:28-30. These are, perhaps, the three verses of the Bible that have seen me though more dark nights than any other. They’ve been a balm to my raw wounds, especially those that festered so painfully after my father died. Such beautiful sentiments and promises, therein. Despite my current unbelief in LDS doctrine, these memories are still precious to me.
Sitting there, it was difficult, at first, to concentrate on the lesson. I’m so used to quiet, to letting Spirit wash over me in that silence of Quaker worship, that the words were disruptive. I had a hard time moving from thought to thought through the lesson. I wanted time to pause, to let it sink in. But of course it doesn’t work that way in LDS practice. So when the words and ideas were moving too quickly I let my gaze rest on my brothers and sisters in the room. I was surprised to see so many familiar faces given the gianormous size of the ward. That was joy. I sent my love to each of them and I hope they felt it. I hope that my presence there didn’t make it difficult for anyone else to feel uplifted. I hope that the example of the love of Christ (for, from, and like Christ–as JW so eloquently articulated in his lesson) is a lingua franca that can overcome any barriers or frustrations that others may feel for me. And I for them.
*Notes: 1) The wings reference is from this poem. 2) My loyalties to myself, to John, and to my children trump those to friends, but those aren’t what I’ve been fretting about lately…
“Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart; and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”