Tuesday, September 18, 2012

10. Turn The Page

I’ve mostly come to terms with all of the changes that have happened in my life the past few years. It honestly has been very enlightening and gut-wrenching at the same time. One additional change that I don’t think I have mentioned yet, is that I’ve evidently tried to purge my life of additional sources of conflict. I used to be a regular listener of talk radio. I found that I rarely consider it an option any longer and seem to have slipped into being apolitical compared to what I was. During my reinvestigation of the church, I found I was listening to podcast after podcast of all things LDS trying to determine what underlying truth there may be. On a few occasions, I listened to talk radio on my way home from work and I got myself worked up to the point where I had to turn it off. I just no longer wanted that in my life.
I also found that I didn’t have a lot in the hobby department to fall back on. The last decade was reading and debating and learning religion and other ideas. How in the world had I missed out on some of those things that I enjoy? That isn’t to say that I didn’t get things. I bought a nice TV. A nice stereo (but not nearly as loud as the one it replaced) and PS3 rounded out some of my entertainment options. I did watch a lot of movies. I became interested in Bollywood because I like the costumes and Indian culture as a whole. Still, the majority of my time seemed a bit obsessed about religion. I figure it was my striving to find order and structure amidst the chaos that I really found mentally. I spent nights staring at the walls at night trying to figure out the bigger things in life. Little did I realize that those things I was wrestling with were really just my own internal war.
I have lots of books. Even the religious ones still hold some interest to me, but it is greatly reduced. On a trip to Utah I stopped at the Krishna temple there in Spanish Fork. I picked up a few t-shirts for Tracy and some books for me. The ones I purchased were small books that combined were called “Krishna” which spoke on some of the highlights of the gods’ life. At one point in my struggles I was reading a section in the book where it spoke about Krishna having multiple incarnations along with his wife and they numbered about 15000 different households. I tossed the book away from me because of it’s pure ridiculousness. I didn’t want to believe in a ridiculous religion. I wanted a religion that was rational, that made sense, not just internally, but within the world. I learned a lot about what I was looking for that night. I’m sorry if I put it in those terms, but that is what I felt.
So I am trying to build up interest in those things that I was interested in before the internet overtook my learning. I have two volumes of Sherlock Holmes that my Mother In Law gave me as a gift, and several hundred other books I inherited when she passed on.  I have books of essays, history, railroading and military interest. I want to become a better writer so I started to read letters from the best writers, Thomas Jefferson and perhaps some Shakespeare. This world is filled with interesting things and interesting people. There is no end to what I can learn. I hope this isn’t just self directed. I want to become closer to the people that matter to me, engage them in thought and find out what they enjoy, and what makes life enjoyable. I want to travel a bit more, spend time with Tracy and do those things that I loved about her when we first wed.
It really is a wonderful life, one that doesn’t have to be filled with endless self-judging and engaged in meaningless contemplation. I want to do, dream, love and fill and be filled with happiness. It has been a rough ten years. I want it to change and I want to change myself.
As part of this introductory section on my own journey, I’ve taken lyrics, scriptures as titles. I’m not sure if I’ll continue to do that, but I do find that rather fun to do. I called this last piece, “Turn The Page” which is a recurring theme in some of Rush’s music. They actually have a song entitled “Turn The Page” and I found it very comforting while preparing to go to BYU, right off my mission. I had to move on from that pain, hurt and confusion that I felt and turn the page to the next part of my life. I feel that once again I have to do that so the song is once again appropriate, although for a different reason.
Truth is after all a moving target
Hairs to split, and pieces that don’t fit.
How can anybody be enlightened?
Truth is, after all, so poorly lit.
It’s just the age
It’s just a stage
We disengage
We turn the page

Saturday, September 8, 2012

9. Better Now

My discussions with my wife concerning my disaffection with the church are a private issue. My biggest fear was that she would not understand and demand a divorce. I love her more than anything else, more than the church, God, my own life. The feeling that she might not feel the same wasn't a comfortable one. While she was understanding, I can completely understand the difficulty that she had coming to terms with this. She looks at church differently than I do.

I did have a few moments of despair feeling that I couldn't possibly be a good parent without being a priesthood holder, etc. My views of fatherhood were all tied up in church goals and teachings. Quite frankly, I was shocked by how strong those feelings were.

I didn't have much anger. It was more frustration. The church had been kind to me in many regards. I was trained in their schools. I had found my wife there, my kids were facilitated through church programs. Many of the best times of my life were due to the church or the people there. The church was my biggest hobby. I will be eternally grateful for all that it did for me.

But it isn't "true". It has some wonderful people, many of the best friends a person could have.

Do I think the teachings of the church are harmful? To a degree. My teenage years were screwed up enough and my pursuit of perfection was somewhat damaging. I probably wouldn't have gone through the depression I had during the mission years. Those were horrible and I wish I had them back. I feel the need to teach my children, or rather, unteach them some of the things they learn in church. I'm afraid this will set them at odds, the same way it did me. I mean, do I lie to them if they ask me my opinion of something? I think many long talks with my wife are ahead of me. I don't want my daughter to feel like she needs a man to complete her or  that she needs a man at all. I think anything about submissiveness is probably bad.

I'm sure I'll have more later, but I'm through with that list for now.

I do find I am having trouble finding something to replace this. I have trouble finding much joy in the things I normally do. I don't think I'm depressed, as I know full well what that feels like. I'm just finding myself again, and I'm enjoying the trip.