Grateful for My Life
I participate in a group that has gathered together to be of support to one another as each person either ponders the process of leaving or has left their religion. It’s a very specific religion… the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints or, as you may know it – the Mormon church.
It is an intense process for the vast majority of people who are leaving this religion because it becomes so interwoven with their life that, for many, it IS their life. The church is their social network, their friends, their family and, sometimes, even their business. Aside from the immense fear and guilt associated with the process of leaving this religion, there is profound sadness for many who are uncovering just how far off track they have been led.
Many people, when they leave the church it is because they can find no satisfying answers for their questions so they start researching. I’ve discovered that the majority of people start searching the church-approved documentation first and it is there that the real questioning begins because there are huge inconsistencies and contradictions contained within those books. It is after more questions arise from approved sources that they may begin to search outside the church and then their world crashes down around them with the sound a 12 million voices yelling at them.
In this day and age with the internet so readily available to every man, woman, child and dog, there is no hiding the information that these people are seeking. And the information is jaw-gapingly shocking and, even, shameful. When I left the church – you can read about my process in my book, Above the Clouds (shameless plug) 🙂 – I didn’t have the common desire to dismantle the church through researching horrifying literature that tore apart everything from Joseph Smith to the current-day prophets. I left because I no longer fit within the confines of the church and I left gently. I was blessed with an easeful departure from the church – any of the distress was on my part, me battling with liberating myself from the binds of the programing.
Because of my gentle process through leaving the church, I sometimes find myself breathless with the agony that others experience as they leave. I’ve come to understand that the “higher up” – meaning their calling in the church, the duties they perform – in the church a person is, especially if they are a man, then the more aggressive the leaving process is. I lucked out, then, I guess because I’m a woman and I had, literally, no standing within the church, so I’m willing to admit that my leaving process was really nothing because I was a nothing in the eyes of whomever oversees the process. Then again, I’m also willing to look at the possibility that it was because I left without having an axe to grind. I was simply… done.
There is so much turmoil in the hearts of many of these beautiful people with whom I am privileged to associate. Many of them have lost all their self-worth as their value as a human being has been systematically stripped from them by church leaders, family members, husbands, wives, parents. Several of them hover on the brink of destruction, seeing death as the only way to end their misery.
And each time one of them shares that they want to end their lives, my breath catches in my throat and I cry quietly. I feel such sadness to know that this human is suffering to such great depths that they want out. Each time one of them cries out for help and bares their soul in such a way, I feel torn between immediately leaping to help them and standing back and allowing them their choice. It is a painful battle for me because I know that THAT is why we are here on earth… to choose what we are going to do with the gift of the life we have been given, even when – or, maybe, especially when – that gift feels more like a burden and a heavy, lagging curse. Because each person has the right to choose to end their life, I find myself stepping back, with my hands up, into a space of love and allowing.
At first, that was so hard for me to do because I really wanted to rescue that person. But the resolve came in an instant with one mind-shattering thought: you can only rescue someone who really wants to be rescued.
“They” say that anyone who preempts a suicide with a dramatic “good bye” is really not wanting to die but is, rather, looking for something or someone to save them from themselves and to remind them of why they are alive. The only thing I’ve ever been able to come up with in light of that is gratitude. Gratitude is the most healing vibrational energy there is, second only to love. And it can start with the smallest thing…
I’m grateful I sat up in bed this morning.
I’m grateful I have a bed to sit up in this morning.
I’m grateful I can see.
I’m grateful I can walk.
Finding gratitude in the simplest things of life can be life affirming. So, if you’re reading this and you’re contemplating saying good-bye for good, for any reason, then I invite you to ask yourself, “Is there one simple thing I can be grateful for? And, now, is there another?”
For me, I am so very grateful to BE alive.
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