Since leaving Utah yesterday, I have been dogged by this deep sense of longing. It's like there's this big hole ripped open in my gut that just won't heal.
I guess it's just that I felt so charged being around Latter-day Saints who are so passionately committed to my inclusion in the Church, and to fighting for my equality and my dignity in the larger society. And there were so many people there who hugged me, put their arms around me, and laughed and cried with me. There was just this emotional richness. And my soul just soared... I was so happy.
At first, I figured, yes, the sadness will go away eventually, once I get back into my day-to-day routines. I was expecting it to be gone this morning once I had to go back to work. But it hasn't. It just lingers on.
I called my husband at work and talked to him about it, and he tried to comfort me. And I've prayed about it. I didn't ask God to take away my sadness, as much as to learn from it. What is this sadness trying to teach me?
Shouldn't Church be for everyone every day like Sunstone was for me for one week? Am I really that starved for unconditional love and support and a deep, deep sense of community?
Or maybe it's an illustration of that basic spiritual principle that Nephi taught, that there must needs be opposition in all things. We will savor the sweet and the good all the more, we will understand how precious it is, because we have wandered in the desert, because we've tasted the bitterness of loneliness.
No one should have to sit in Church alone, feeling like there's no one to share their burdens with them. So often I've felt so strong -- because I felt the Spirit of the Lord filling me up and comforting me and making it possible for me to go on alone with a sense of hope and joy, with a vision of the ultimate communion we would all share. I knew we would get there. I still know it. But now I realize, the vision of communion is no substitute for actual communion. Yes, the Lord has promised me -- and I believe his promise! -- that we'll get there. And that keeps me working for it. But in the meantime, I have to do without it. So I'm grieving deeply, more deeply than I have in a long, long time.
And maybe this bittersweet happiness/sadness that I feel, it's to remind me how important it is for me to reach out to others. If there's a brother or a sister who needs comfort, who needs words of cheer, who needs a hug, who needs to be reminded how valuable they are, I need to be the one who gives it. The thought of that gives me real comfort. And it makes me less afraid to reach out. (Why are we so often afraid to comfort?)
I hope I won't feel this ache in my gut too long. Eventually, the pain will fade, I hope. And I'll go on and continue my day-to-day routines, somewhat anesthetized to the anguish of a broken world that might otherwise distract me from the work I need to do to make it better.
No choice but to keep walking.