Today’s guest post is by friend of the blog, mom3.
The events of the past week have rattled me like the unexpected death of a loved one. At times I barely breathe. Even when I try to go about life, it is sitting there on my chest like the proverbial elephant, only I am the room.
I was fortunate enough to have planned a trip long before the policy came into being. This travel allowed me to attend church in a family member’s ward. Because I was a guest, I could hide a bit. No one expected me to have an opinion. That particular ward holds their Sacrament Meeting at the end of the block. During the previous two hours I spent a great deal of the time reading our hymns, aching over words such as, “As I Have Loved You, Love One Another.” Or “Because I Have Been Given Much I Too Must Give.” The hardest of all, “I Know That My Redeemer Lives.” The second line stabbed at my pulverized heart, “What comfort this sweet sentence gives.” These are our words, our hopes, our doctrines.
At the end of the second hour, I robotically followed the pack to the chapel. My grief was choking me. I wanted to run, to scream, to shake my fist at God. Before I knew it the Sacrament hymn was playing. As the notes began, a distant memory raced across my mind. Somewhere in the myriad of my reading I had read about LDS Historian and United Methodist Member Jan Shipps, taking her communion vicariously for her dear friend, Lavina Anderson, an excommunicated member of the LDS faith. Sister Shipps explained how our religion believes in vicarious work for others. She determined that if we can baptize for the dead, then certainly she could take a Sacramental Offering for her friend.
A small sense of relief overcame me. While the white tray made its way down the pew, passed along hand over hand, I racked my brain to think who I could substitute my Sacrament for, and the first picture that came to my mind was Wendy Williams Montgomery. I don’t know much about her family’s story but it was her face. With my eyes firmly closed I took the morsel of bread on behalf of her and every mother aching from the policy.
When the water came, I let my mind imagine all the families, the children, the teens who might be exiled from our faith and our community. None of them had names, only faces and hearts. Yet as I drank the few water drops, I felt that I had contributed something good.
It is now a week later, I see a new Sabbath ahead. I don’t know what the future holds. For now I intend to partake of the emblems of our Savior on behalf of those we will lose in the wake of this policy. I pledge to continue this practice until I feel that an at-one-ment has occurred.
You are welcome to join me.