No, I’m not leaving. Not even considering it. But…
It shouldn’t be this hard. I mean really, it’s just life, happening all around- no different, when we get down to brass tacks, than the life almost all of us are trying to live. It’s laundry, and housework, and little kids underfoot and into mischief. It’s bills and clients and trying to run a business between loads of diapers and feeding the baby. It’s carpool and dentist appointments and teacher conferences and fundraisers and extended family ties- and how many balls can we keep in the air at once?
Ah, but we’re a peculiar people, and we have more: our church responsibilities. Added to everything above, there are presidency meetings, family nights, scripture study, family prayers, being good examples for our kids, storing tons of food, fuel and water, humanitarian service, Eagle scout projects, pot-lucks, mutual, primary, enrichment nights, and not drinking, smoking, swearing, tattooing, piercing, or otherwise marring our Temples.
So this afternoon, as I leaned on my kitchen counter, staring out into the late winter wasteland that is my backyard, I found myself pondering. Rolling around in my head was the idea that I could leave behind half the stress in my life if I decided not to be an active member anymore. This thought was spurred on, with certainty, by the previous post, and the questions it posed- why do people leave the church, and why can’t they leave it alone?
I’ve had thoughts like that before- it’s like when you’re crossing a bridge, and you think- it would be so easy- just veer a little to the left or right- I wonder what it would feel like? The truth is, my leaving the church is about as likely as my veering off that bridge… not gonna happen. But why?
As a new member, it is fascinating to read the comments of the people who were raised in this faith, and who chose to leave. So many of them bring up points that I myself thought about and pondered when following the white rabbit of my own Faith. We seem to be gathered around a big campfire, only we are staring at each other from opposite sides of the flames- the veil of the heat-rising slightly distorting our faces, but still visible to one another.
How is it people can ask the exact same questions, have such similar, good hearts, and end up miles apart from each other? How is it that I would prefer to have the proverbial extra balls in the air, than give it up and have a good relationship with my family again? How is it that someone else asks the exact same question, and takes the other path in the woods?
And how is it, that even though we may be opposite, different, strangers to one another, we are still gazing into the same hypnotic fire?