Saturday, March 12, 2011

Relief Society

It's not like I don't want to go to Relief Society. I really enjoy Relief Society. I like interacting with women and sharing Gospel experiences, thoughts, and ideas. I like leaving church feeling spiritually fed rather than spiritually drained. I even like sitting in a room and not having any responsibilities over agendas, lessons, and people. It is nice having no responsibilities in church. (I need to knock on wood because clearly this is not going to last very long.)

My problem is that I don't feel comfortable in Relief Society. The problem is mine. It is no one else's. I just truly feel like I am intruding on a secret club. Part of it is because I have been removed from RS for so long. (In the last 9 years, I have only been able to attend RS for around 10 months, and that was during the ward transitions and a brief stint in the RS Presidency before a new ward was created.) Part of it is that the very women who spent a good chunk of the last year gossiping about me are in RS. I see these women and I have one of three reactions: 1. I want to smack them and tell them to grow up. This reaction is mainly because I have seen first hand how their gossiping affects their daughters. Daughters tend to act like their mothers. 2. I want to be sweet and kind to them because I bear them no ill will. This is the reaction I pray for.  3. I want to pretend they don't exist. The problem is that I never know which reaction is going to surface at any given moment. I am sure you all know these reactions, have felt these reactions in your own life.

I want to only feel the second one, and some days I truly feel no ill will towards these women. Some days the Spirit whispers to me to be like my Savior and turn the other cheek. To truly forgive these women. This is actually the feeling most days, but every once in a while when I see them, the first and third reactions take hold. It is not their problem. It is mine because I know that somewhere deep in my heart I have not truly forgiven these women. But, because I know this, I am trying. I have tried serving these women to keep that second feeling in my heart. I have prayed for these women. I have prayed for myself. I know this is just another small challenge in my life. I know that I have to put one foot in front of the other and walk into RS with a prayer in my heart. I know I can do this. My comfort in RS lies within me and no one else.

So here is to hoping for a #2 reaction tomorrow. Wish me luck!

3 comments:

Wendy Williams said...

I'm so sorry that you are not comfortable in your Relief Society. I hope you get the opportunity to stay there a while so that you can show these sisters that they are not going to affect in any way your experience or testimony of this wonderful Women's organization. Some of the sisters in our branch have openly criticized, humiliated, and mocked me many, many times. It is sometimes very difficult to know the things I know about their true selves and still try to feel The Savior's love for them (and not broadcast their shortcomings from the rooftops). However, when I ask for Heavenly help with this, I always receive it. Stay the course. Do not let the shortcomings of these sisters rob you of your RS privileges. There is a sister there you will connect with, I'm sure of it!! Hang in there, baby!!

JourneyBeyondSurvival said...

Yes. I too know the feeling. I have been the object of either gossip or pity at my current ward. I was intimidated when I was called as a teacher. It's hard to teach a class when some of the people bring up strong emotions of fear, resentment, and withdrawal.

Like Wendy though, I focused on the women that were kind to me. I treated the class as though those kind people were the only ones there. I was so surprised that the 'mean girls' responded in kind.

I am still working on my feelings, but it does help that they are sometimes nice to me. And I've also realized that I've truly been reticent around them because I've been holding back. They don't know that I know that they talked about me. They probably don't even think it was gossip.

I'm getting to forgiveness, but I'm not beating myself up about how long it takes. Meanwhile, I'm trying to make those kind ladies closer friends.

Kage said...

It is nice to know that I am not alone in this experience. I keep reminding myself that forgiveness is a process and sometimes it takes time. Sunday went okay...I am definitely focusing on the kindness that I see around me.