I went to church and asked God if he loved me. “Of course I do! I need you,” he said. And then he took my hand and led me to a house. “Here is a house where you will find out just how much I love you. No greater happiness can exist than in a home.” Thrilled and excited and dreamy, I get to work. I marry, organize, weed, plant, clean, harvest, laugh, play, learn, eat, love, cook, wonder, and dream again.
This is a guest post in response to the excommunication of Kate Kelly, and the possible excommunication of several members of the LDS Church, including John Dehlin.
How Can I Be Selfish?
What will I be when I’m done? An architect? A curator? A professor? I sit down to catch my breath and saw God again, “Don’t be idle. Look at these beautiful spirits. They need to come to earth.” I love babies. So I had 4. And my body loved carrying them and felt too heavy at the same time. And when I told God that a part of me became too open and vanished every time I pushed one out my body, he said, “Mortality is for testing. Children bring joy. Have faith. Don’t give up. They need you.”
And the days went by and years came and went, me too busy to think straight, pushing out the scary thought that this isn’t making me happy like He promised. But his promises are sure so I must be wrong. And one day I looked in the mirror and couldn’t see me anymore. I don't know who was looking back. She was tired. And alone. And doubting. And too afraid to say anything. “If you’re unhappy, it’s because you’re not serving others. Get to work. You are so blessed. Look at all the people who have it worse than you.” Embarrassed, I went to work. I soothed children, kept them safe, cooked, cleaned, worked miracles with the budget, loved my husband, gave him my heart and my body, moved, laundered, drove, watched and taught.
But the emptiness grew. And grew. And festered. And one day I broke. Finally not caring how it would look, I opened my mouth in agony, “I can’t do this anymore. I keep going and I keep going but I have nothing left in me. I gave it all away to everyone around me and they want more. And I’m so hungry but every time I eat someone is more hungry. And I have so much to say and every time I speak someone reminds me I’m not listening. And I wonder so much and when I ask I'm told to be more obedient. And I’m so tired but every time I lie down someone had a bad dream. I want to cry but my child is crying. I’m so angry but I don’t want to be unforgiving. I’m empty but don’t want to be ungrateful. I need answers but I’m told to have patience. If this is life, then I’m not sure I want it anymore. I’m confused. I’m hurting. Do you see me?” And I hear God say, “I need you. There are people to save and meals to cook and hearts that need mending. Selfishness destroys the world.”
And I think, “How can I be selfish when I don’t even have a self?”