Once upon a time, a friend of mine (it’s always a friend, right?) related this story to me. I will tell it in her words as if, you know, as if they were my own, but of course they aren't. Maybe this sister lives in your ward. . .
When Church Hurts
On Sunday, I went to Relief Society. Something I do tentatively because it is often painful for me. I went because I wanted to feel like a “part of things”. Part of a larger group, you know? During the lesson they talked about the scripture, “mourning with those who mourn, and comforting those who stand in need of comfort.” They shared stories of how they had helped and been helped.
I sat in the back all alone and thought, “Wow, that sounds amazing. You are all so lucky to belong to a church like that. I wish I did.”
The odd thing is, we belong to the same church. The last few years have been the most difficult of my life. I have mourned. I have hurt. And I have never felt more alone.
I tried to tell myself that it is just that they didn’t know…surely if they knew, things would change. So I told them. I told people personally and I wrote on my blog a few times about how to help when you don’t know what to say.
And yet nothing changed. I still feel utterly alone. In Relief Society, they still shared the same stories. They talked about how sometimes it is hard to know what to say or do…but also talked about a situation where they had overcome that and done—something.
People tell me, “we do care about you [Leslie’s anonymous friend], we just don’t know what to say.”
Well I don’t know what to say either except--I don’t believe you. For a couple years, I have said, “I just need to know that someone cares. I want people to look me in the eye and say, ‘How are you?’ as if they were really willing to listen.” I have said this over and over…and yet nothing changes. So…yeah, sorry, I don’t believe you.
My friend is looking for a new church to attend….somewhere that won’t be so painful because living outside the bubble hurts.
Photo attribution...this photo like many I share on my blog is from George Hodan. You can see more of his work here: George Hodan