Sing Your Own Contemplative Part

It has been about a year since I posted on my blog. I lost interest in posting. Of course I should write no matter what but my own confusion as to my relationship to the LDS church and to contemplative life has me on a personal journey that this blog captures.

April 2017 General Conference featured wonderful talks. I especially enjoyed Elder Holland’s talk about expressing your unique voice in God’s choir. Each person has his/her own voice that God, the creator, fashioned to fully harmonize with all his other children.   Maybe my voice is indeed to be a contemplative. A voice of silence and solemnity amid the raucous of the world. See, I feel immensely drawn to the life of a hermit, a monk, a contemplative a opposed to the typical daily emptiness or superficiality I see in other LDS wrapped up in the world of their families. But, you know, God probably has just as much need for quiet as for bustle. However, last night challenged my hope for reconciliation.

Time Out for Women is a Deseret Book sponsored event featuring inspirational speakers and singers part of a feel good gathering.   There were about 800 sisters in attendance. Deseret Books had set up tables with books and trinkets for sale. Other LDS oriented clothing and food storage vendors also participated. I look for any familiar faces but recognized no one. I sat half way back on the aisle by myself. I was still raw from having to euthanize our 13-year-old Labrador on Monday. The speakers introduced themselves—cheerful and upbeat as the screen flashed with photos of their families with the resultant crowd responding with “awws”.

After an hour I became bored by the event.   With no living children to brag about, I felt so out of place.   I think the event should have been called Time Out for Mothers rather than for Women. At the break I sat on the couch taking in the buzz of moms calling home. How many of these perky moms had to hold their daughter for a lethal injection? How many experienced the deep sobriety of motherhood?   Very poignant for upcoming Holy Week.

I was feeling very alone so I walked towards the adjacent mall figuring where to spend at least another hour while my husband attended a baseball game across the street.  Emerging from the restroom, I looked across the street through large glass windows that faced a catholic church with double spires. Between the spires was a pale full moon. THAT is where I wanted to be. Surely the church would be closed at 8pm on a Friday night but to my astonishment the thick wooden double doors were open.   Like a moth to a flame I walked deliberately towards the church.   Entering, I found I was absolutely alone.   I found a side chapel with a few pews, an alter and covered statue and burning votive candles. The statue later I learned was the Pieta had been covered entirely by a violet cloth in preparation for Holy Week.   In the peace and quiet I poured out my heart to God, to Mary, to Christ, to anyone who may listen. In the stillness I felt that THIS is where I belonged.

I cried over Lucy’s death. Mother Mary of the Pieta knew about death as her dead son draped across her lap. She understood the sorrow I was experiencing.   Forty minutes passed in a spiritual communion when a tall young man named Brian, came through and explained regretfully that he needed to lock up as he proceeded to escort me out through a side door.

My happiness had been there in prayer and quiet and not in a room of sisters who could care less about me.   Christ knows me. Christ calls me. Calls me to a contemplative life. Yet having heard about the amazing sex slave rescues of the LDS speaker, how does a contemplative life “DO” anything? It sure sounds like a self-centered, passive life to others but like the Heavenly Choir has all sorts of sounds, perhaps this is my sound. My role seems to be a contemplative. To be a prayer specialist. Perhaps God wants me to ‘sing’ solo for him? Could this be why my physical strength has been taken from me? Why my incessant physical pain keeps me home and in bed the day after any excursions? So I have nowhere to turn but to HIM?

This is the start of Holy Week. I have kept the Lenten fast and look forward to taking each day and treat it as Holy.   Christ died for each and every one of his children so that we may be reconciled with God the Father.   Our spiritual debt has been paid by the only one who could answer the law of justice with an “an infinite and eternal sacrifice” (Alma 34: 10)