Some of you will have seen the two PBS documentaries on the LDS church in May. I am an adult convert to the church, so I've seen it [somewhat hazily] from the outside for the first 23 years of my life, and I've lived its principles with varying degrees of success for the past 32 years.
I am grateful for parents who raised me to be a thinker and to be respectful of others’ beliefs. I know that there are folks who believe that you cannot have intelligence and faith coexisting in the same brainpan. I try to live my life in a manner that they will question that premise.
Every so often I sit down at the computer and weed out my inbox. Yesterday I went through my daily digests from the Knit Night group and the regional church singles group. Today I’ve gone through my computerized reminders for birthdays and anniversaries (all of which I managed to miss this month, reminders notwithstanding) and my eBay saved searches, and now I am going through my daily digests from Meridian Magazine, an unofficial publication for Latter-Day Saints like me.
This is another woman’s response to the documentaries, written to a friend of hers who is a pastor for another Christian denomination. I thought that what she wrote captures very well what it feels like to me to be LDS.
I share this with you today because I went to a funeral yesterday, for a lovely and lively woman. I probably did not have two dozen conversations with her in the years we spent in the same ward [like a parish], but I am better for having known her. One of her sons and one of my daughters had mad crushes on each other, years before either of them was old enough to date. And when I limped into the after-hours clinic back in January, just before the broken leg was diagnosed, I ran into her husband. Good people, both of them, with the kind of kids you want your own kids to hang around.
It was the best funeral I have ever attended. It was a celebration of her life and a stunning witness of how many lives she has touched. One of the speakers asked for a show of hands, of those who were in the health care profession, and at least a quarter of those present raised a hand. Like me, she was a convert to the church, so most of the extended family were members of other faiths.
Three of my girls were able to attend the funeral, and one son-in-law, who quietly went to work with some of the other brethren, setting up additional seating in the overflow area and the cultural hall [gym]. One of our dear friends flew in from Tennessee. I hope that everyone who attended went home with the same feeling of peace and comfort that I did. There is great strength in singing hymns of faith and worship in the company of family and friends. Words cannot convey how it felt to sit with my daughters and sing “I Believe in Christ” and to feel that sweet healing balm of the Spirit descend upon my heart.
I hope that this day, no matter how you envision God or whether you feel on speaking terms with Him, you feel how precious and beloved you are.
- Five years into widowhood, after one year of incredible happiness and nearly 14 years of single blessedness. Have given up perfect manicures and pretty hands in order to resume playing the soprano recorder and to see if I can figure out how to play bluegrass banjo. Singing in the shower. Still really, *really* love to knit!