Archive | December 27, 2009

A sort of homecoming.

I realized as I was leaving my parents house, that that is not my home anymore.   It was a little strange.  I’ve mentioned before that they still live in the same house I grew up in.  However, sometime between leaving for college and leaving after Christmas 2009, it ceased to feel like home.

They have remodeled the basement where my bedroom was, and most of my personal stuff has been boxed up and/or given to charity.  That was fine with me, I never had the attachment to my room that most teenage girls (at least the teenage girls I see on TV) have.  When I go and visit, I don’t even sleep in that room anymore.  But it’s been that way for years.

I think there were three things that prompted this change.

1) I bought my own place.  Yes, it’s a teeny-tiny condo, but it’s my teeny tiny condo.

2) Max and Lulu came to live with me.  Suddenly, I had two little souls to take care of, two little souls that are tolerated, if not welcomed in my parent’s house.

3) My roommates/renters moved out, and I wasn’t able to find someone to rent the spare bedroom in my condo.  I’ve been living alone for several months, having to worry about only myself and the dogs.  This is the first time in my life that I have lived completely alone.

I like being the head of the house.  I like being in charge.  I like being able to make decisions about when and were and what I eat.  I like not feeling like I need to turn off the TV and go to bed because I’m disturbing other people.  While I love my parents, when I return to their house, I revert from an adult woman living on her own to a child fighting her parents for autonomy.

I love my family.  I love the small town where I grew up.  However, I’m glad I don’t live there anymore.  As hard as it is for me to admit, I’ve grown up and moved on.  With a little luck, I’ll end up back in my small town, but I’m not counting on it.  For now, for me, home is my 1000 square feet of space 20 feet up in the air.

A short post full of long explinations.

It’s a little strange to go to church in my parent’s ward.  They still live in the house I grew up in, in a small Mormon town, and even though they haven’t moved, their ward boundaries have.

(In case I have any non-Mormons reading this,  a little note of explanation.  Mormon congregations are called “Wards”, and they are organized by geographical location.  The main church meeting is called Sacrament Meeting, and this is where, unsurprisingly, we take the sacrament, bread and water that represent the body and blood of Christ, similar to Catholic Eucharist.  We also don’t have a paid clergy, so speakers for Sacrament Meeting are pulled from the congregation.  After Sacrament Meeting, we divide by age group and, occasionally, by interest of study, into Sunday School classes.  After Sunday School, the men go to their Priesthood meeting, and the women go to Relief Society.    The course of study for Sunday School, Priesthood and Relief Society is all determined by church leaders in Salt Lake, so every ward, in theory, is having the same lesson every week.  The Priesthood and Relief Society lessons are also taught out of the same manual,  so men and women receive the same lesson, just not together.  There is also the Primary, Young Mens and Young Women’s programs for children and youth, which I will explain further if I ever have reason to talk about them.)

With the change in the ward boundaries, things have gotten a little strange for me.  First of all, my favorite high school teacher is in my parents ward.  Second of all, it seems like a fair number of jocks that I went to high school with have ether moved back to town or never left, and they are living in my parents ward.

All this is a very long  explanation to talk about what happened in church today.  Boo, the star of the high school football team (and yes, that’s what he chooses to call himself) and his wife were two of the speakers in Sacrament today.  Boo hadn’t been active in the church when they first met, and they weren’t married in the temple.

(Another note of explanation. While the LDS Church recognizes civil marriages, we believe that such unions will end at death.  When a couple is married in the temple, we believe that if both spouses stay worthy, that that marriage will last for eternity.  However, if a couple is not married in the temple, [and there are some states and governments that do not recognize a temple marriage as legally valid] they can go later to be sealed, which is essentially the same thing. Children who are born to a couple who were married or sealed in the temple are also sealed to their parents and can be a part of their family forever.  If a child was born before the sealing took place, or if a child is adopted into a family, they can also be sealed to their parents in the temple.

We also perform this work for our dead ancestors in the temple.)

Boo and his wife both spoke on preparing to go to the temple to be sealed.  It was a very touching experience for me.  I have two callings, (jobs in the church) Relief Society teacher, and Temple Committee co-chair.  One of my duties in the temple committee is to teach the temple prep class, to help the members of my ward prepare to enter the temple.

(What, more explanation?  I know there are a lot of people who don’t understand why we don’t let just anyone into our temples.  I hope I can clear it up a bit.  We believe that the temples are the most sacred spots on the earth.  Inside, we are taught sacred truths.  Even members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are not allowed inside the temple unless they are approved by their ward and stake [a stake is a collection of wards] leaders, and issued a recommend.  My temple prep class is to help those members who are worthy to receive a temple recommend to be ready to receive those sacred truths.)

My temple prep class has had me discouraged lately.  The members of my class are brought in by invitation, and tend to be 19-20-21 year old girls and their recently returned missionary fiancées. (a missionary, male or female, goes through the temple before departing on their mission)  The girls, the ones who the class is for, seem to treat it as a joke, or are too shy to comment, so much of the discussion takes place among the fiancées,  who have already been through the temple.  While this is understandable to a certain extent–we are not supposed to talk about much of what happens in the temple outside of its sacred walls, so trying to prepare someone to enter requires a lot of talk about seemingly random topics that can be difficult to understand unless you have been through the temple, it’s still frustrating.  I don’t know how much these girls are taking away, or if they are treating this topic of eternal importance with the gravity it deserves.

Which brings me back to Boo.  He said in his talk today that the only reason he went to the temple prep classes was because they served refreshments afterwards.  He didn’t really take much away, but, when he got to the temple, he realized how much they helped.

Granted, I was already emotional because I was feeling overwhelmed by being around so many people, and the past few days have been on the down side of things. (um, not a church explanation, but rather a personal one.  “Down day” is my own personal code for a day when I’ve been noticeably more depressed for much of the day)  So when Boo made that statement, I started to cry.  I needed to hear that just because I don’t think the girls are taking anything out of the class doesn’t mean that they aren’t, and they probably won’t realize how much they needed the classes until they go through the temple, get married and move out of my ward.

I’m so glad to have had that reminder.  I just would have never expected it to come from that source.

The Photographer Chronicles

I spent Christmas afternoon geocaching with my dad.  This is an activity that we both enjoy, but, for me, anyway, it’s not so much about the search as it is about spending time with my father, seeing country that I wouldn’t necessarily stop to look at, and enjoying nature.  I had much more fun taking pictures than I did caching.  Here are some of my favorites:

I’m still figuring this blog thing out, but if you can click on the picture to get a bigger version.

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