Everybody blogs, right? Why not me? Looking for my niche, my angle, and the one thing that seemed to make me stand out in my corner of the world. I found it: Being single. And 40. And Mormon. In a family ward. In a town where EVERYONE is under 30, sealed in the temple and constantly reproducing. The best humor is found in our painful life experiences. Read about mine and laugh with me. Or at me. Whichever
This subject can be a tricky one. Gone are the days when a woman NEEDS a man for anything. We earn our own money, buy our own homes, travel alone, and live alone, but… we don’t have the priesthood. We need men for the priesthood.
When I was married, Mr. Soldier of Fortune was a non member, so the priesthood was somewhat of a non issue. We lived close enough to my parents that on the rare occasions I was sick or otherwise needed a blessing I could go to my dad. I was young, invincible, and though the absence of priesthood crept into my consciousness every once in a while, I didn’t think about it much. Then came my nightmare of a divorce and I was in so much emotional pain, I could hardly move. My family, seeing what I had been through, were sympathetic (they love me), but they were relieved to see my marriage over. I didn’t feel like I could go to my dad for a blessing of comfort when I knew that deep inside himself he was jumping for joy that Mr Soldier of Fortune was out of my life. I had been inactive for the majority of my marriage, but the year or so prior to our break up, I had started going back. No one really knew me. I usually just stayed for sacrament, but a few had introduced themselves and I was assigned home teachers.
All that have been through an ugly divorce know that the pain can come in waves. Some you can stand against as the water rushes over you. Others are like a tsunami that sucks you in and spits you out in hostile and unfamiliar terrain. It was a tsunami day when I called my bishop and asked if he could come to my house and give me a blessing. I had caught him at a bad time; he was walking out the door to go somewhere with his wife. I apologized over and over and told him not to worry about it, but he came over anyway(it might have been the my unsuccessful attempts to hide the tears in my voice). I felt so embarrassed, but he gave me a lovely blessing that truly got me through a particularly dark period.
For several years after I divorced, I had no desire to date. the legal proceedings drug out(thanks to him)and I was determined not to get involved with anyone until the divorce was final. I had kind of settled into being single and I actually liked it. I worked hard, had fun with my friends, traveled, and pretty much did whatever I wanted to do. I was pretty active in a family ward that didnt treat me as some freak of nature because I wasn’t married. Life was good.Then I read an article in the Ensign about how people in the church are choosing not to marry and that it was considered a troublesome trend in our culture. It pointed out the commandments regarding marriage and encouraged single church members not disregard marriage as a worthy goal in life. For the first time in 7 years I thought those words were written for me-a revelation of sorts. Most of the men I met didn’t seem to take their priesthood too seriously. Some had arrogantly lived beneath their privilege, unashamed of the covenants they broke, not sure if they even wanted to be in good standing with the church again. There were parts of me that held the priesthood in some disregard, sometimes even mild contempt. Heavenly Father had not blessed me with a faithful husband who honored his priesthood, so maybe this was just one of the many blessings that would not be mine in this life.
In more recent years, my heart has softened on this subject. Going to the temple for the first time to receive my own endowment made me more aware of the eternal necessity of the priesthood. If you are a TBM(as I am)then you know in order to be exalted you must enter into the new and everlasting covenant of marriage. Sealed in the temple for time and all eternity. More priesthood.The first time I felt truly moved was about 3 years ago when I witnessed a baby blessing. It was a young father, a recent convert to the church, blessing his baby. He had invited quite a few men to stand in the circle and bless this tiny spirit so new to this world. They gathered and formed the circle, placing one hand under the baby and the other on the shoulder of the elder next to him. It moved me that these men were joined in such a tender act and when the blessing ended and after the baby was shown to the congregation, there were warm embraces and slaps on the shoulder. For the first time I yearned to have an eternal companion I loved to be standing in one of those circles.
Late last year all the priesthood holders in my ward sang as a choir. I dont remember the song, but to see all of those men standing behind the pulpit singing, literally moved me to tears. Then today, the youth speaker canceled and the bishop(last minute) asked the three priests in our ward to share their favorite scripture and explain what it meant to them. These young men did fantastic. You could tell they were a little nervous, but they had scriptures ready and spoke in such a way that i was impressed with their conviction. I got a little misty seeing these young men, future missionaries, husbands, and fathers grow in their faith before my eyes. It’s somewhat affirming to know there are still men in the church who take the priesthood seriously.
Can we bridge the ever growing gap that exists between strong and effective women who don’t “need” a man, but require the priesthood in order to gain the exaltation we strive for?