Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Ordain Women, April 5th Priesthood Session Action: My Story

Joining my sisters (and brothers!) in standing in line to attempt to get into the priesthood session was not an easy decision.  I have, for awhile, kept myself on the fence on this issue.  Mostly because of fear.  I’ve long since known how I *really* felt about it. But, I’ve come down from the fence and picked a side.  Authenticity is super.  

My interest in going this year, and outing myself on this issue, began last October, when Ordain Women first tried to get into the priesthood session.  You see, I was unduly optimistic about the venture.  I’m not sure why, thinking back… but I was absolutely convinced that they would be let in.  If not into the conference session where the live meeting is filmed, surely into the tabernacle or something… In my mind, it was simply the Christ-like thing to do.  But I was wrong, and it hurt.  And watching the scene unfold from afar was more painful than I expected it to be.

So when I made the decision to try to go this year, it was with the knowledge that however hard it would be, it would not be as hard as not being there.

My trip was fast, and much of it is a blur.  I was tired for most of it, feeling kind of ill because I was away from my nursing baby for too long, and generally a bundle of stress and nerves.  I arrived in Salt Lake City late Friday night, and I left very early Sunday morning.  But in the blur, there are moments that stand out.  Most of those moments are centered around the most fantastic people with whom I spent the day.  There were hugs, tears, laughter, and a whole lot of love.

There are a few other moments that stand out that I want to share.

The first I experienced because I volunteered to help keep track of the line and make sure people knew where to go, what was going on, and then if conflict arose, I was there to help dispel it (which was never necessary, for the record).  And so I found myself out ahead of the line of women (and men!) before they began the advance from City Creek Park towards Temple Square.  I stood at my corner and watched as it began.  The group, with Ordain Women leaders in the front, came across the street through a crowd of protestors who were shouting the most hateful things.  But, truth be told, I barely noticed that.  Because I was so taken back by the dignity and majesty of the women coming across the street towards me.  I mean it was raining, the wind was blowing, this was just before we got some serious hail, and these women managed to be majestic nonetheless.  The image was so striking, and it took my breath away.  And as I watched this scene unfold, D&C 84:88 popped into my head:

And whoso receiveth you, there I will be also, for I will go before your face. I will be on your right hand and on your left, and my Spirit shall be in your hearts, and mine angels round about you, to bear you up.

Another moment that stood out was when I was helping the line wrap around the tabernacle.  A group of young men passed me and started to get in the line.  Someone from security came up to them and directed them to another door, where they were just allowed to enter and find a seat.  I got the sads.  I had to take a step away and pull myself together before I could go back to helping people line up and keep organized, so that they could wait however long it took to be denied the entrance that was so easily granted to those children.  It just made my heart hurt.

The next moment, that I will never forget, is of course the moment I was able to stand at the door of the tabernacle and request entrance into the priesthood session.  The PR representative, Kim Farrah, was very kind and very gracious.  I have so much measkingfilterrespect for this woman who stood at the head of that line and met each request (there were over 500 of us!) until the line was gone.  She exemplified the baptismal covenant to mourn with those who mourn.  She cried with us, laughed with us, hugged us, showed love, thanked us for coming, and let us know that we’d been heard.

Nonetheless, the answer was still no.  While I very much appreciated her Christ-like deliverance of the rejection… the rejection still stung.  Especially because she told me that the meeting was reserved for men and boys, but I know for a fact that the building was mostly empty on the inside.  It hurts that empty pews were preferable to pews filled with women. When I came out of the line, someone—a woman who was standing by and watching the events unfold, I don’t think she was with us—asked me, “What’d she say?” I told her, “That the meeting was reserved for men and boys.”

“Even if they are nonmembers?  Even if they aren’t worthy?”

“Well, yes.  Any male 12 or older can go in, no matter who they are.”

“But not you.”

“No. Not me.”

The last moment I’ll not forget was when I discovered the church’s PR department press release.  There was actually a rumor going around that the press release was written the night before.  It could have been, for all of the accuracy it contained.  It was a poor description of facts, attitude, and tone.  Its author, this Cody Craynor, I don’t think was ven at temple square on Saturday (or if he was in the beginning, he did not hang around long), and so I’m not sure why he is the one characterizing the event.  I *was* there, and so what I can tell you is that we were respectful, patient, that we were never asked to leave, that we were never given directions that we did not follow, that they not only knew we were coming, but had already set up a special stand by line for us when we got there, and, as I mentioned before had stationed a wonderfully kind woman to greet us.  To see such a dignified display of graciousness and faith, to see upfront the response from people in and around temple square—both bystanders and employees—and to know without doubt that we were not perceived as divisive or distracting by the people who were actually there…. and then to find out that instead of portraying the event as it really happened, the church’s PR department chose to “spin” the story in an ugly way… I’m just having a hard time reconciling this corporate PR political game with the religion that I know and love.  I’m having a hard time reconciling the church that I love with the institution that would handle me so deceitfully and unjustly. I’m just not sure what to do with that.

But, I’m not ready to give up on my faith yet.  Cody Craynor cannot get rid of me so easily.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Thing 1 is 5

…and almost 3 months. But listen, when he actually turned five in December I was very busy. And then I forgot. But I don’t want to not do it at all, because these birthday posts have become kind of a thing for me. Mostly because of the pictures. So, anyway…

Thing 1 spends his time playing with Thing 2, or fighting with Thing 2.  No matter which, the two can not stand to be separated for long. Their favorite things these days are playing in the back yard, playing with Legos, and playing with trains.  And watching Netflix.

He is, as always, incredibly bright and incredibly intense.  He lives life full throttle, and doesn’t seem to have any in between or “meh” emotions. While this is often difficult and frustrating, I do so love how intensely he loves the people around him.  He is so dynamic and so full of life, I feel like he will do amazing things as he grows as long as I don’t screw him up before he gets the chance.

I present:

   
Birth Day   1 Year   2 Years
    DSCN2475
3 Year   4 Year   5 Year

Friday, March 14, 2014

Interview with Thing 3, 2014

I wasn’t going to do this, since I would just be making up the answers.  But then I remembered that is what I did for Thing 2’s first interview, and that was fun.  So, here is this:

AllForTheBoysMyInterview2014 - Wade

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Interview with Thing 2, 2014

I added commentary in parentheses.  Because he just so often needs an interpreter. 

Compare last year’s HERE

AllForTheBoysMyInterview2013 - Wesley

Monday, February 10, 2014

Interview with Thing 1, 2014

We almost forgot to do this, but then we didn’t.  Compare to last year HERE.

(Worm scientist is a thing.  I looked it up.  Wormologist.  For real.)

image

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Happy New Year (or at least 11/12 of it)

Do you like how I blogged every day in November and then haven’t since? I love that about me.

My big goal was to at least blog before January was over. Winning!

My inability to blog mostly stems from having a new born. And no sleep.  But beyond that I think I’ve just had so many thoughts tossing around my head that I can’t pin them all down into a post.  There have been a few things over the last couple of months that I think are really going to shape my outlook on life for 2014, for good or bad.  I think I’ll just try to sum those up here.

1. My sister is getting a divorce.  It is a good thing, in the long run. And overdue thing—I have been hoping for it for years now.  But it is hard and heartbreaking for both her and her daughters (understatement, because words do not do it justice).  And their broken hearts are felt by all the rest of the family. I’ve no desire to co-opt my sister’s pain, or to make her story all about me.  I just know that she is just a part of my life and heart that this disruption in her life (although one that I totally welcome) is one that has colored the way I see the world every day. In 2014 I pledge to be grateful for the good relationships in my life, and to dispense with the bad.  I will also try to hate my soon to be ex-brother-in-law a little less by the end of the year. *Try* I make no promises, as he is possibly the most despicable human being to walk the earth.

2. In December, one of my cousins committed suicide.  I am *still* processing this.  My heart stops when Candy Crush tells me I should send her a free life because she hasn’t played in awhile.  I find myself going to her Facebook page every couple of days.  To see if there is anything new? To go through all of her pictures for the 116th time?  I don’t know.  I just know that I used to interact with her daily on Facebook, and now there is a void.  And browsing through the things she posted there keeps me feeling connected.  She is a beautiful, smart, kind, colorful, talented, and loving woman. That someone I love so much felt so hopeless is not something I will ever shake off. This Thanksgiving we discussed getting together.  She couldn’t come to my house because of her husband’s work schedule, and I said no to going to her house because we were planning on running a 5K on Thanksgiving morning.  Stupid 5K. I will regret that for the rest of my life.  And not because I have some misguided notion that I could’ve made a difference or saved her or whatever.  But just because it would have been time spent.  It would have been more moments with her that I could savor and cherish in her absence.  In 2014, I want to miss fewer of those moments with the people I love.

3. I have started taking Zoloft.  And I love it. GOD BLESS ZOLOFT.  I came to a point in my post-partum depression journey that really felt like losing the battle.  All of the things I was doing to keep it at bay were helping, but I was still pretty pitiful.  I had been putting off Zoloft because I’d read reports that it can affect breast milk supply – which is something I already struggle with.  In the end, I decided it was more important to be a better mother to all three of my children than to provide more milk for one of them. And, as it turns out, the Zoloft DOES seem to have diminished my production of milk.  Not a ton, but a noticeable amount.  But I don’t regret it.  I feel so much better.  So much more functional.  And so much more at peace with the ways that having a newborn limits my functionality.  Thanks to Zoloft, my outlook for 2014 is quite positive.  I’m very much looking forward to seeing how my children learn and grow this year.  And since I spent most of 2013 in bed being sicker than I’ve been in all my life for months on end… I’ve no doubt 2014 will be an improvement. 2013 can suck it. (But thanks for the new baby.)

4. I started training for my first half marathon.  I was just about to do this when I got pregnant with Thing 3.  If all goes well, I’ll be running it in April, one year after I would have done it if there were no Thing 3. It will be all the sweeter for both the longing of it, and the fact that Thing 3’s squishy cheeks will be present.  I’m excited to get back to myself in 2014.

I don’t really make resolutions, so none of this is about that (except in jest).  I just want some positive things for me and mine this year, and am going to do my best to make it work.  May you do the same for yours.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

November 30: Gerrymandering is Destroying American Democracy

Day 30:So grateful that tomorrow is December, the month in which I will spend 2 weeks with my family. #daysofthanksgiving

*****

Do these look like an ink blot test to you?

Louisiana Congressional District 4 Georgia Congressional District 11 Illinois Congressional District 4 North Carolina Congressional District 12 Texas Congressional District 30

They are not.  They are are congressional districts (hover over them to see where).  They are gerrymandered districts, to be more precise.  Gerrymandering is the practice of drawing district lines to include a certain demographic.  This is done, by the party in control of the state, based on voting patterns.  The idea is to create districts so that the votes will be easily predictable in elections.  The goal is often to create a homogenous district.  This can be either to gain a seat for the majority party in that district, or to suppress the vote of that district by compacting the minority votes into it.  Boundaries are also sometimes drawn to split up the votes of a minority party.  Both parties are guilty of drawing ridiculous boundaries in an effort to secure a congressional seat.

This is really nothing new.  Americans having been doing it for nearly two centuries.

But, it has taken its toll.  The practice has grown more intense over time, and the benefits of our two party system are getting lost.  Long since, the best practice for a politician has been to play to the middle.  Most Americans are moderate voters, and so elections were won by appealing to the middle ground between the parties, while offending the base of those parties (especially the affiliate party) as little as possible.

For many congressional seats across the nation, that is just not where and how the battle is waged anymore.  Because gerrymandering has secured seats for the majority party—no matter who the politician is that is running for the seat—the real battle takes place in the primaries.  If you already know that a district is going to vote Republican, then you’re not worried about the Democrat you’re up against in the final election. Before you get to that point, you’re worried about convincing your party base that you are more Republican than the other option in the primaries. 

Congressional politicians have stopped playing to the middle, where most Americans are comfortable with them.  (It is where we *need* them.  The middle is where compromises happen.  The middle is how government gets done. The middle is the whole point of a two party system.) Many of them have even stopped playing to their party bases.  Who they are worried about are the voters that show up to vote in the primaries.

SPOLER ALERT: That is almost nobody. Such a small percentage of voters take that initiative, and often the ones that do hold the more extreme, party line views.  And as members of Congress worry about reelection, as they are wont to do, that is the small group of people they are most worried about.  (Well, they and the people who give them the most money…)

I’ve heard so many people wonder lately why Congress seems so dysfunctional…  Why their Congress representative doesn’t seem to represent the interests of the state they are from…  Why Congress in general doesn’t seem to have a clue what a majority of the American people want.  Gerrymandering is the answer to all of those whys.

There is something we could all do about it, though.  We could all become more politically active and show up to make decisions in early primaries and caucuses.  If all the moderates opted to pitch in at that point, politicians would have to play to middle again.

Dare to dream.

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