Sunday, August 30, 2009

Selfless Service

Today I visited another ward. The Relief Society Lesson was on Service. I think, Selfless Service. Her lesson was a fine lesson. It moved along well, there were some good things talked about.

However, every time service is brought up so is missionary work. This is also fine because really missionary work is service and lots of the time (we hope) is selfless service. I usually dread this topic because (story here) I have a very different outlook than others do concerning it. So, especially when I'm visiting, I don't usually comment on missionary service because my comment with proper explanation would take ALL lesson. Instead, I tell you.

The teacher was comparing missionary work and motherhood as being selfless service. (I agree) And a girl in the back commented that these two circumstances are the same because it's through both of these situations that we find great joy, love, and understanding.

I wish I could agree with the girls comment, but I just don't. I will admit I don't have any children yet so I don't know the sleepless nights of feedings, changings, burping, sickness that come with the little ones. (although the time is nearing quickly) I do, however, know that I don't find great joy, love or understanding in the missionary work that I did.

I know many do, but I don't. When I take time to remember the things that I did and went through these are the opposite feelings of the ones I experience. I remember sadness, sickness, loneliness because of no opportunity of understanding, and frustration.

The feelings that I feel about my mission are probably not unique to me, which makes me think that (no matter how much mormon women are supposed to feel) the feelings concerning motherhood or anything else are not always positive ones. There have to be women that do not find joy in motherhood. I have a really hard time putting a Selfless Service label to any type of action because we are all so different and will therefore experience service very differently.

I hope, positive or not, that you recognize your experiences as yours. Don't let you feelings be thrown into a category that would make you feel as though there was something wrong with you. There is not. Your feelings are yours. Your experiences are yours. It may not be an Ensign story that you get, but it's specifically your story. You will get out of them what God wants you to get out of them.


Mrs. B. Roth said...

It comes back to the idea of pretense, that bothers me. We all have to pretend to be thrilled and excited about serving each other, all have to force out of us good and positive feelings. We've always been taught when we are doing what is right, we will be happy. Then, along comes the time you are engaged in what you know is the very Rightest right and you just aren't happy.

Cognitive dissonance. I think a lot of women are pretending and forcing because otherwise they'd have to face that something somewhere isn't adding up.

I'm ready to move past the pretense and identify my disillusionment. I don't want the pills so many of my sisters have been prescribed to maintain the illusions. Something is wrong and I'd rather admit my lacking than make happy.

Phannie said...

Me too. There is no point in pretending. Eternal Silent internal torment is worse than Screaming "there is something wrong here."

I feel better. And when I feel better I think through things better. So, everyone else benefits from my honesty in the end.

Tali said...

Oh you are SO right. The feelings concerning motherhood are not always positive. I do feel good about the fact that i know I am doing what I feel is right for me (Being a mother). but I am not always happy about the doing part. I really hate some things and I am never happy to do them. like giving up sleep. I hate it. I will not pretend to like it, or say "its all worth it when they tell you they love you." no it is not, for me. I have a ton more I want to say but I am having a hard time getting it out in a way it makes sense. lets chat some times about this. I like to hear your thoughts.


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