Ned Flanders posts on his problems with the church are profound and though provoking, and Ann's honesty have validated my feelings. Last night as I was reading the latest post, I remembered something that happened last week.
I have chronic fatigue/epstein-barr and haven't been to church much in the last couple of months. Even before I had this latest relapse of illness, I had mixed emotions about church. My stake president doesn't like me (I bossed him and he took offense).
A former friend despises me. I also, as you would imagine, have many good and wonderful friends.
But church isn't about friendship. I have stayed active and in the church because I believe. I've said often that if I ever left the church, it would be because of the bad words who I run into fairly regularly. I told my sister, just the other day, as she was wondering if she should take the sacrament because she smokes, that she's just as good as the jerk sitting next to her who doesn't smoke. We're all sinners in the chapel during sacrament.
To my point: I had to go in on a Saturday to post the visiting teaching stats. I took my little grandson and his friend and their basketball and parked them in the gym as I walked down the silent building to the clerks office. I drank in the quiet of the surroundings and realized that I loved it there. I thought how sad it was that I don't feel that on Sundays when people are there.
The next day I attended church for the first time in a month with Bill and Maxwell for moral support. And I pondered the implication of the peaceful feeling I'd had the day before versus the onery feeling I had. I argued in my head with people who walked in and thought bad thoughts about them. Well, not all of them, many of them are good friends, like I said.
I believe that I am the problem and that no matter where I go, I will take myself. It's troubling to sit in a meeting and hear a testimony and not be able to agree. I agree with the truthfulness of the gospel, I just don't agree with the scorekeeping, the comparisons I hear, the crap. I wonder if I'll be able to stick it out and keep my mouth shut and remain faithful. I wonder if I'll get kicked out because I finally break and tell my stake president where to go.
It's a scary feeling to see the church with its flaws, to believe, and to not belong. I wonder where God stands in those equations.