Sunday, January 15, 2012

(Trying to) Mind the Gap

A couple of years ago, I attended Relief Society General Conference at the Youngstown Stake.  At the time, I was newly baptized, but frustrated.  I was tired all the time; my days lasted from 6AM until nearly midnight.  I wanted to be married in the temple, but I didn't quite know how that was going to happen.  I couldn't see my faith through my frustration, and I was upset.  The gospel was turning my life upside down, and most everyone I loved thought I was losing my mind.

That night, Sister Barbara Thompson gave a talk called "Mind the Gap" that I think of every now and then.  It was exactly what I needed to hear when I needed to hear it.  She spoke about the gaps we encounter as Saints; improvements we need to make, the difference between our actions and who we really have the potential to be as daughters and sons of our Heavenly Father.

Once again, there is a gap before me.  I know what it is that I want to be, but I'm not doing all I can to make it happen.  I want to fulfill my callings.  I want my husband to come home to wonderful dinners and polished linoleum.  I want to be a Celestial wife, and yet I find myself falling short.

There was a saying that was popular when I was in high school.  I don't know if it's still in use, but it ended up in three out of four of my yearbooks.  "Shoot for the moon.  If you miss, you'll still be among the stars."  I get it.  Really, I do, but to be honest, it's not good enough.

I don't want to have to question where I will end up.  I don't want to second-guess myself for the rest of my life, beating myself up for whatever infraction.  I know that the gap lies within me, and within my own perception, but it's there, and I'm calling myself out.

I don't do all I can to fulfill my callings.  If I did, the ward directory would be full of pictures instead of grey silhouettes.  My fellow temple workers would never have to miss me, or scramble around to fill my spot on Saturday morning.  The Relief Society president would know every month just how my visiting teachers were doing, and Primary would never want for a substitute.

My house would be presentable; my husband's size 14 clodhoppers would be off the floor where they currently threaten to trip up anyone who chances to walk into our apartment.  Mostly me.

Instead, the pictures I need to submit are chilling on my camera's HD card.   I generally miss a temple session once every three months.  In my time as a visiting teaching coordinator, I have never been able to reach one of my sisters, and the others in my care call me every now and again to update me on their last three months of visiting teaching.  I have subbed in Primary once.  My husband took over the lesson.  I sat back and felt small and said nothing.

...and my house is a mess.

I wish I could fix just one thing.  If I could excel in something, or even just feel as though I'm doing all I can, I don't think the rest of it would hurt so much.  Because it does.  It's an ache that rarely goes away, this feeling that I am so much less than what I was created to be.  I'm trying to mind the gap and reach for that woman I know I can become if I just learn to rely on my Savior... but the gap is so wide, and I feel as though I am losing focus of what really needs to be done.

It's miserable work, being an unhappy Saint.  We are not made for unhappiness, and the state of my mind these last few days feels so contrary to all I know.  This post has been difficult to write.  It's a strange thing, seeing my spiritual pain on a page for all the world to see.  I know it will get better.  What I don't know is when or how...when that is what I need most to know. 

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