The Better Part?

Sometimes I wish I wasn’t a Mormon. In important ways, I have experienced my chosen faith as Christ is recorded saying in Luke- “Suppose ye that I am come to give peace on earth? I tell you, nay… The father shall be divided against the son; the mother against the daughter…” (Luke 12:51, 53) I wonder at what cost I’ve made the choices I’ve made. Then I remember- despite all of our talk about agency and choice, once you’ve had your eyes opened, you cannot doubt any longer. But don’t think for a minute I don’t entertain the idea now and then…

No, I haven’t seen an angel, and I claim nothing divine, other than my own soul. But this is what my family has never understood: joining this faith wasn’t a choice. Not really. I would have had to deny what I knew as the truth of life and walk away from all integrity and honestly in my heart. Were I to have chosen my family the day I was told to either “be a Mormon or be a daughter, but you cannot be both”, I would have denied Christ. And for me, that was, and continues to be, simply not a choice.

This time of year in particular, I miss my family. It’s always been hard to be without family in a church where the nuclear family is so central, and here is not the post to debate how much of that is doctrine or culture. I navigated those choppy waters as a new convert, raw from being cast out, and now as a divorced woman raising three kids. We are keenly aware of how misshapen our little boat is, yet because of what I know, deep in my heart, abandoning ship is not an option. But don’t think for a minute I don’t entertain the idea now and then…

There are many ways to find Christ, and I honor the paths of others who found their answers elsewhere- I wish I could too, honestly. I’d love to have a steaming hot cup of organic free-trade $4 cup of coffee, sip a Patron margarita with my dad and brothers in the hot tub on Christmas eve, and wear a beautiful red sleeveless dress again. I’d love to be able to rest my head on my mom’s shoulder and have a good cry, followed by a great laugh. But I made my choice.

We talk about our congregations being our ward-families. I hang onto this, out of necessity. It’s mostly true. Sort of. But family isn’t supposed to all disappear when some lines are redrawn on a map- and when your ward is your only family, that’s exactly what happens. Then again, family isn’t all supposed to disappear when one person finds faith, either. Imperfections, it seems, are the norm both inside and outside the church. And those Sundays when a lesson is particularly painful or difficult or handled ham-fistedly by a hopefully well-meaning person and hurts me or my children in our leaky boat, I wonder which imperfections are harder, and if I chose the better part.

Then I remember. I remember where the light comes from, and why I can even make it over these rocks in my imperfect boat. Here is where I found my long-sought answers, and there is no reasoning or rationale or hurt feelings that will change that fact. But don’t think for a minute I don’t entertain the idea now and then…

(painting “Journey” by Rael Al-Rawi, raedalrawi.com)

Comments

  1. it's a series of tubes says:

    Tracy, this is fantastic. Thank you so much for sharing, and for your great example. Yes, I mean it.

  2. You have taken the words right out of my heart. Many times I have thought how much easier life would be if I went back to my old ways but as long as I know this is where the Lord wants me to be, then there is no other choice I can make.

  3. “Here is where I found my long-sought answers, and there is no reasoning or rationale or hurt feelings that will change that fact.” Thanks Tracy. I take hope from yours.

  4. A beautiful post. Thank you.

  5. Where’s the LIKE button for this post?

    That was awesome!

  6. Wow! I have no words. Thank you. You are in my prayers.

  7. Here is where I found my long-sought answers, and there is no reasoning or rationale or hurt feelings that will change that fact.

    Beautiful and true, Tracy. By birth, by inheritance, by conversion, by choice–one way or another we’ve made Mormonism our community, or it has made us, or both simultaneously, and the truth we can see and feel is right here. All respect to those whom God speaks to otherwise, but this is where he speaks to me. Could I hear Him in a different church, in a different life? Perhaps. But I have no real way of knowing that, and in any case, in such a situation it wouldn’t really be me, Russell-the-Mormon, hearing Him; it would be someone else. I am who I am, I am here, here is where I feel truths and see acts of love, here is my part. The better or worse part? I don’t know. But it’s mine. And I’m delighted and blessed that it’s yours too. God bless you, especially during this hopeful season, Tracy.

  8. I loved this Tracy. Painful and Beautiful. There’s often no difference between the two.

  9. Steve Evans says:

    Cheers, Tracy, and my Christmas wish for you: peace.

  10. Sharee Hughes says:

    What beautiful testimony, Tracy. Thank you.

  11. Tracy, this is really lovely. Thanks so much for this gift. And what Steve said.

  12. Mostimportantly says:

    Thank you, Tracy. I think we all entertain the idea now and then.

  13. Beautiful.

  14. Thanks, Tracy. Your beautiful words give so much to us. At least your Bloggernacle family cannot leave by a change of ward boundaries. We are always here for you!

  15. Beautiful. Thanks Tracy. This made my morning.

  16. What meems said. This was a beautiful post, and I’m glad you can’t be “redistricted” online.

  17. This is beautiful. I think facebook has helped a little with the ward boundary issue for us, but I can resonate with all the hopes and fears here with family. And I can resonate with the feeling of having nowhere else to go. This is where God wants me to be, and there have been days where being here is very hard. One thing that makes it easier being here is that I can read words from you.

  18. Very poignant, Tracy. Thank you.

  19. Tracy – I am always inspired reading your posts. Thanks for this.

  20. Thanks for posting this. God bless.

  21. Tracy, thank you for being real! It’s the greatest compliment I can give anyone, but especially a Mormon woman. Your ‘realness’ allows others to be as well, complete with our own imperfections & doubts. But above it all, your testimony shines through. Like Peter said, “Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life.” Sometimes I echo Peter and sometimes I echo your opening sentence and list my own reasons why. Thanks for the reminder to “remember where the light comes from..” It can often be difficult here in the darkness…

  22. Karen Harding says:

    I too cannot deny what i know in my heart & soul to be true. My family don’t agree or approve, they tolerate. I am who I am because of my faith & the ward ‘family’ that keeps me going through the good times & the bad. I love my biological family & would give almost anything to have them join me in the faith. I fast & pray often that the light of Christ that is given to all on this earth, would awaken in them. That they would know where that feeling came from & not deny it. I long to share what I love with them. Maybe not in this life though, hoepfully in the next, with hevaenly Father’s blessing. Thank you for your openess & for sharing.

  23. Love you, friend. This was beautiful and extremely moving.

    I also am glad I found this online congregation, largely because it brought you to Michelle and me.

  24. Thank you, Tracy. Meaningful to all of us whose children have chosen different paths than we had planned for them, and for us whose parents wish we were more like them. Beautifully done.

  25. Beautiful and raw, Tracy. I love it.

  26. Tracy, of all your many gifts, I think the greatest is your ability and determination to be true to yourself no matter what the cost.

  27. “God bless you, every one.” Wishing all a happy Christmas.

  28. Wow! what a great post. I too have stuggled with my belief insomuch that I wonder if it wouldn’t be easier to be a Catholic, or a Methodist. But, I cannot deny what I know to be true. I could farsake parts of the Gospel but I cannot forsake the whole of it. I could not Join any other Church because no other church has the Blessings one recieves in the temple, or the knowlege of Christ that we have.

    Thanks for your inspirational post and God bless.

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