18 August 2014

Wounded at Church

I have a sweet friend who serves in the Relief Society presidency in our ward. I love and respect her immensely. Yet I walked away from her most recent presidency lesson feeling hurt and marginalized. The topic? Reminding the sisters that it was not our right or responsibility to speak to another sister about her personal sense of modesty. Now, while I do actually agree with her, I think the moment that first zinged me was when she said, "And it isn't our husbands' right either."

Boom. I was now really struggling with the fact that I feel triggered when I go to my place of worship with excommunicated Mister and disfellowshipped Son#3 and then see the attire of some of the less active sisters. Now, I absolutely respect that those sisters have their own issues, that they struggle to attend church for their own reasons, and somewhere within me I am glad they have come. But, it doesn't make their wardrobe decisions easy for me to accept while flanked by the two addicts in my household. But the sister giving the lesson wouldn't know that.

As the lesson progressed there was also the admonition that while we may not be guilty of speaking anything negative to these sisters, we still can drive them away with our thoughts and judgemental glances. Ouch. I have felt uncomfortable and even unworthy to return to the RS room since that lesson.

Today I read another blog that describes my feelings well. There is a feeling of loneliness and lack of support for my reality. (Read her post at Within the Heart of Me...)

Have I driven away a sister with a negative thought or a judgemental look as I wrestled between her right to decide what is appropriate to wear and my desire to feel safe at church? I suppose it is possible, though surely not my intention. Do I now feel like there is another wedge dividing me from the great sisterhood of Relief Society? Sadly, yes. But I am trying to find the courage to close the gap somehow. Giving words to my truth here is just part of the process.

Next up, STEP NINE: Wherever possible, make direct amends to all persons we have harmed, except when to do so would injure them or others.

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