Day 18 of NaBloPoMo: Married to Amazement
Sometime around 2010 a commenter on That Wife challenged my assertion that anyone who can’t make Mormonism work just wasn’t trying hard enough. I called her a Cafeteria Mormon and told her she was a poor representation of the faith, and if she couldn’t do it “right” then she shouldn’t attend at all. Somehow I felt like she was ruining it for the rest of us.
A few years later I had a close friend tell me the exact same thing. I was going through my faith transition, sharing my evolving viewpoints in the Awakening series*, and she didn’t like the way it was portraying Mormonism to the general public. She told me to stop talking about it, and eventually she stopped reading my blog altogether. I understood where she was coming from, acknowledging that I had done the same thing to someone else, but it was a bitter pill to swallow.
These two experiences, among several others over the last five years, have dramatically affected how I view the world and the people in it. I came out of my childhood with a bootstrap mentality (as in, pull yourself up by them) and don’t think I was someone who made much effort to listen to and validate the experiences of others. The change came from being exposed to the stories of other people, and really taking the time to think through how different my life experiences were than theirs and what it would be like for me if I walked in their shoes for a bit. Yet another way blogging has made me a better person.
I haven’t always been an empathetic friend, but I’m trying to act as one now. Life is hard, for all of us in different ways. I want those close to me to know that they can come to me when they need someone with an open mind and kind heart. So many things circle back to kindness.
*If you’re new, you can read why I left Mormonism entirely here.