This post was originally posted on Relationship Refinery. Below is an excerpt.
Since I’ve at times been grumpy, tired, the bad kind of opinionated, and wrong about things, I haven’t felt like I’m the right person, in the right moment, with the right amount of faithfulness to be the giver of the things I’ll discuss below.
I’m not a theologian or doctrine ninja. I’m not extremely well-versed in scripture and I haven’t always been on the straight and narrow path.
But I belong to one of the world’s most misunderstood religions, and I know what it takes to be in good standing as a Mormon.
I also know the difference in my life when I’m lukewarm versus all in. I like to tell myself that I feel the same when I’m half-way, that I can stop following a few laws in order to make room for some new ways of thinking that might spice things up a bit.
Then, it happens every time: I start doing a little less. I begin to see the shine taken from my eyes. I feel as if an ever-so-slight layer of mud is packed over my heart that grows a little thicker each day.
I feel more easily incensed by the atrocities in the world, but not in a way that makes me seek to improve them, only to condemn those at fault. I have a little volcano bubbling underneath my outwardly calm surface.
I seek for new things to make me feel excited about life, to feel like maybe there’s some other way to fulfill the growing emptiness. In return, I feel dull in spirit, unsure of why I’m doing anything I’m doing if it’s only leading to feeling more like this.
Then, worst of all, I feel alone. Alone while surrounded by more love and hope than perhaps ever in my life.
Then, through some mix of sheer mercy and desperation, I am shown a way.
I go back to the beginning, back to the simplest of truths, those I have known in the deepest reaches of my heart that have saved me more times than I can count. The crusted mud on my heart crumbles away. The smallest act of kindness, toward me or from me, brings happiness and hope.
I find purpose, a path, and an alertness of mind I don’t know how I ever do without. I feel bright again.
No one hesitates to share how they lost five pounds, how they got their kids to stop hitting their siblings (actually, no one has helped me with this. Speak up!), or how much everyone should care about this cause or that.
But when someone asks me about depression or relationships or parenting or inner peace, I have been keeping my answers specific instead of holistic.
Breaking news: Religion isn’t cool. Shocker.
Aleah is a graduate of Southern Virginia University, where she studied English, Creative Writing, and Dance. She now works full time as a marketing and product manager, writer, and editor. Aleah served a mission in California and loves baking, Lang Leav poetry, Gaynor Minden pointe shoes, and Bollywood movies.