Monday, January 24, 2011
All of you who know me, even a little bit, know that I'm LDS. My dissertation is based on Mormon women's history. I'm super active in my church and I talk about it and the people I associate with all the time. I love it. My membership and my beliefs make up a huge part of my identity and worldview.
Well, I've only been to little bits of church four times in the past three months. Understandably. I've been really sick, either in the hospital or home in bed. Or on the couch. Every week my home teachers have brought me the sacrament. I've maintained my calling as Relief Society president with the most active and loving counselors and committees. And dear ward members and others have literally flocked to my every need.
I didn't realize how much I missed the fellowship of the Saints. Sure, I've listened to my favorite Mormon Tabernacle choir and BYU choir cds on my ipod. Their hymn arrangements are incredible. I've read some pretty great talks from the internet, and I've even watched some on DVD and listened to podcasts. And of course I've prayed and read my scriptures.
It's just not the same as actually singing hymns with the congregation, or listening to a talk from the pulpit or participating in an actual Sunday School or Relief Society lesson, or praying together with a common cause and saying amen. Together.
Yesterday I braved the cold and the germs. I armed myself with hand sanitizer and anti-nausea pills. I made arrangements for the Sampson boys to save me a seat in the front, and I slipped in right as sacrament meeting started, surrounded/blockaded by my healthy roommates. I sang, I prayed, I partook, I listened. And then I slipped out as soon as the meeting was over. I was there.
But more importantly, I felt the fellowship of my fellow Saints. I winked and waved at dear friends across the pews. I saw babies who have grown considerably over the past months. I listened to talks about sharing the yoke of Christ. I watched the sacrament passed by new 12-year-old deacons that have received the priesthood since I've been there. I noted new members of the ward and thrilled at the idea of belonging. I saw my dear bishop and felt his love and concern, not just for me, as I've certainly felt over the past months, but for every member of the Crystal City Ward.
One day I'll be more regular. I'll stay for all three hours. For now it's baby steps, depending on how I feel and what my counts are. And regardless of strict attendance, I know I belong. But I rejoice in the opportunity for actual fellowship.