Sunday, May 22, 2011

Cruel and unusual punishment

I'm not feeling very good about myself today.

Yesterday was one of those days against which one measures good days. It was the opposition against which cheerful, calm days seem sweet. In other words, it sucked. My bus was crowded most of the day with the loud, crass, disrespectful element that seems to crawl out of the woodwork on sunny weekends. Externally I was my usual serene self, but internally I was screaming most of the day. I wanted to be anywhere but there. The crowning event of the day was when a passing truck paused by my open window long enough to yell "stupid fat bitch!" at me as I was stopped to pick up some passengers. I have no idea what I did to piss the driver off. I hadn't stopped suddenly or failed to use my turn signal. I was just doing my job. I think if I had been able to respond, or had understood why he was angry, I would have been less bothered by it. And I'm fairly certain that he wouldn't have said it if he was actually on my bus, facing me in person, and would have had to deal with the consequences of his rudeness. Coward. And he was sporting a fairly sizable beer gut himself, and driving a Ford, so who is he to be questioning my intelligence? At the last conference I went to in Seattle one of the speakers said that there are multiple realities of our identity. If I catalogue my attributes according to this man's assessment: stupid, fat, bitchy - all of that is true sometimes, as well as lazy, selfish, ugly, slovenly, gluttonous, sinful, etc. The list could be endless, really. But other things are also true. I am sometimes generous, kind, beautiful, hard-working, compassionate, intelligent, diligent, faithful, etc. and it makes a difference which list we see as the truth. People are too apt to believe list A about themselves while seeing list B in others. And I am more guilty than most, I suspect...

The second source of my disquiet today is a result of lesson preparation. I read the next two lessons I have to teach in Relief Society. One is on Family Responsibilities and the other is on Eternal Marriage. Who am I to be teaching classes on these subjects?! It's ridiculous. I'm supposed to stand in front of a room full of wives and mothers and teach them about their responsibilities? I must stand there and tell them that a person can't be exalted without temple marriage, and teach them how to prepare their children for temple marriage? Because I'm such a sterling example of having learned that lesson for myself. Why would anyone put value on anything I could possibly have to say about these subjects? I have failed utterly and should be a cautionary tale. I don't relish the position I find myself in. It's enough to make me want to quit my calling, which of course I won't because that's not done. I have never wanted to be released until now. Generally I love my calling. But this seems cruel, as if I will be held up to public ridicule for my failures. The best I can do is stand there and say "do as I say, not as I do", which seems hypocritical to me. Not that I expect the sisters to be at all unkind. They are lovely and supportive, but surely it must occur to them that I have no wisdom here.

In less depressing news, a few months ago I was in Browsers book store talking with the proprietor, telling him how I was going to use the books I was purchasing. He asked me to bring one in and they would hang it, so I did:

This is the largest sculpture I have ever made and I love it. It's made from a book about Beethoven, which I read before transforming it. Speaking of marriage... Beethoven never married... There are all sorts of faithful men who have died without marrying. Perhaps one of them is for me. But if I get to pick, I choose Beethoven :) He seems like my kind of guy.


  1. firstly.. beautiful sculpture you have created...both with the book and yourself

    secondly... being the messenger isn't about living the message, it;s also about believing in the message...enough to trust he that called you on that errand.

    and... let the sisters teach you.... let them teach each other, let them talk, chat, visit about it... we dont get enough time to simply talk to one another.


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  3. First of all- EXCELLENT book art!!! Let's do a trade sometime!

    Secondly, I second Gail's opinion. I also hated giving those lessons when I taught RS. What's weird is that I now teach YW and I'm always telling them "Hey! You might NOT get married! Don't let that be the sum total of your identity!" Most of the time they look at me like "duh." Perhaps the world they live in now with its transient relationships and The Single Life is Grand mentality has already shaped their expectations of marriage... Maybe I should be telling them "at least *try* to get married."

  4. Lol Heather :) I had never thought about the rising generation and the total disconnect between what they hear at church and the indoctrination they get from the media and how that might lead to a slightly healthier outlook on singles than the guilt/stigma of our generation... Interesting.

    I would LOVE to do a trade!!