Monday, December 24, 2012

A simple moment...

It's been a couple of months now... feeling consumed with a sense of hopelessness with my "situation" and the loneliness, anxiety, frustration, anger and emptiness that follows - a punishing private pity party for sure! I've been an inmature boob.

I allow my feelings of inauthenticity to overwhelm me and overcome me to the point that I can't see beyond my own self. I forget or can't remember the joys and goodness and bounty and blessings and fortunes and love around me. All I can see is the terrible situation that is my life and nothing more. I can't sleep. I can't connect. I can't feel... And yet I'm overcome with feelings and emotions are very much camping out on the surface.

It has become this mode of operation for some time now. And I'm so tired... so tired... In this spirit, we took the family to Temple Square Saturday evening and downtown to enjoy the lights and spirit of the season that should be beautiful as usual. You would think with family, and kids all around me excited in the spirit of it all that I wouldn't feel so lonely and befuddled. But I was.

We shuffled to the manger scene presentation between the Tabernacle and the North Visitor's Center and stopped to listen to the scriptural rendition of the nativity. I stood there contemplating what I was doing, why I was so consumed, how lost and lonely I felt surrounded in the crowd of people.

Deep in thought I prayed for some kind of support to get through this current funk. I stopped hearing the speaker or the hustle and chatter about me and I looked up and my view caught straight onto the Christus statue through the window and I "heard" a voice penetrate me soul... saying:

"Please listen: You're okay! I love you! I love you completely as you are!"

It really was that simple. I felt the love of my Savior overcome me and envelope me to the point that I started weeping uncontrollably. My wife and kids wondered what was up with dad and I just tried to shrug it off, but I couldn't. I'm sure they didn't think much of it as I've been a bit weepy of late. I felt the spirit whisper to me that I was understood, that I was validated, that my feelings of confusion, frustration, anxiety and anger were realized. I was given at that moment a sense of peace that sustained me through the weekend (and an incredible Sabbath) to the point that I could begin to engage again with family, friends, neighbors, and myself.

I know that I am on the right path for me, as strange as that seems to some, and that I must keep keepin' on. I know that I will fall, that I am broken (as we all are "broken" in the sense of being imperfect) and that the healing and comforting and real affects of the atonement are a continuing event for me. I need this sustaining influence continuously to help me through the "pity parties" that keep me in the dark and feeling hopeless in my circumstances.

In that one brief moment on Temple Square, I felt a glimpse of blissful peace, renewing comfort, and reassurance, enough such that I can keep going, and keep doing the best with who I am, that I am loved and accepted for who I am. I know the funk will return. I will cycle again as I am known to do... But I hope for myself that writing this experience down will help me to remember.

There is always hope! I am truly blessed! I have been given much! I am surrounded with love!



Derek said...

Beck, thank you so much for sharing this. I've found myself in a similar funk lately, and have been angry at myself for not being able to just "snap out of it." Your experience has uplifted me and given me hope. I'm so glad that you got that spiritual validation that you've been needing. I want you to know that I look up to you as an example. It doesn't matter that you're not a "shiny example," because your faults and weaknesses make you so much more relatable than others. You certainly seem miserable at times, but I really respect the sacrifice you make for your wife and family. I hope that you get the appreciation and respect you deserve. Have a very Merry Christmas!!

Dean Scott said...

I am amazed at how many of us reach that point of despiration before finally receiving the assurance we need to continue forward. We are on different paths, but I feel that the Lord is watching over both of us. Thank you for sharing this. I am glad you had the experience. My wish is more for a Peaceful Christmas and New Year.

Crisco said...

I wish had that assurance. It was hard to get into the holiday this spirit. I just want to sleep and watch TV with little motivation for anything else lately. Thanks for sharing this experience.

Anonymous said...

You never know who is reading... and caring about how you feel... about your welfare. I've come here before a few times over the years, but don't remember ever commenting. Believe it or not, even though I haven't known a lot about your blog, I've been thinking about you for weeks, ever since I read one of your posts over a month ago. I don't remember which one now. But at the time my heart went out to you when you used the word "inauthentic" to describe yourself. You used it again in this most recent blog post. All I could think was, he is not being inauthentic to try and hang on to his wife and kids, and to the values he believes in.

I know it is difficult. Believe me, as a fellow traveler on this road, I've experienced the pain, the times of hopelessness. But, like you, somehow I've been able to keep on keeping on. I remember a time sitting on the stand at church, presiding in sacrament meeting, after wrestling the previous night with a familiar struggle and having not handled it all that well. I thought, "how can I be sitting here, when I struggle with the things I sometimes struggle with?" But then I felt the Spirit enter my heart and I knew that feeling from the Spirit was authentic and real. And I knew that if the Spirit was still working with me, that God had not given up on me. And if He had not given up on me, I was not going to give up on myself.

Those moments of struggle, and sometimes temporary setbacks make me appreciate the atonement as a reality in my life that has kept me alive. When I refer to setbacks, I'm not talking here about going out and being unfaithful to my wife with another guy -- I've never done that and pray I never will. But even for people in that circumstance, I know the atonement is available. That experience in sacrament meeting happened several years ago. I haven't been perfect since then, but I keep getting back up and dusting myself off when I fall flat on my face. And, with God's grace and help, I have never given up.

In his portrait on mormon dot org, Frank Mansuetto (former agnostic) says about Jesus Christ, "He's filled with second chances". I believe that more every day I live. I believe there is always hope if we won't turn away. His arms are outstretched to all of us with unconditional love. Frank's 4 minute portrait is here, if you want to watch it:

Thanks for exemplifying the truth of Christ's unconditional love in this post. I came here tonight because I was still thinking about you after a month. I came to encourage you. But you encouraged me. Because you shared your experience of His love for you.... and by extension, for us all. You're NOT unauthentic Beck. You are being more authentic that you can possibly realize. Authentic to your really true self. The part of you that is not encumbered by the limitations of mortality. I don't know you, but I care about your welfare, and feel a great hope for you. A hope that you articulated (in this post) more accurately and beautifully than I ever could. If I, an imperfect stranger can feel that hope and caring for you after just reading a few of your posts, I can only imagine how your oldest brother who loves and understands you perfectly, feels about you.

All the best,


PS -- you might also enjoy these two portraits:

Jenny Hess:

Beck said...

Derek: Thank you for your best wishes and the same back to you. I really needed that validation, as I have been feeling like going over a cliff - not necessarily the "financial cliff" the nation is on, but one very real where either I give up my marriage or give up life. It's been a hard period, but I feel sustained and supported and validated, at least for now, and that does give me hope.

I've never tried to be the "shiny example", particularly in this blog where I tend to share my deep dark secrets and thoughts. Thank you for seeing through those. You sustain and validate me in return and I appreciate your kindness so much. Happy New Year, my friend!

Beck said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Beck said...

DEAN: It is amazing how often I have to feel a sense of dispair before the assurance comes... I guess it has to do with the hungering desire to really know and receiving knowledge just enough to keep going.

Though we may be on different paths, I appreciate the sentiment that the Lord is really "watching over both of us". I really believe that. The exclusivity is not mine, nor his. His love is universal for sure as we seek to find him.

CRISCO: I'm so sorry for your current state of mind. I know the holidays are tough and sometimes that assurance is hard to feel. I pray that you can find the hope you need to sustain you and motivate you to do "anything else".

Beck said...

ADAM: Where were you before now? I am so sorry that you haven't felt the need to post a reply sooner, but yet so grateful that you felt the desire to do so now. Your comments are very appropriate and heart-felt.

Yes, I've been feeling very beside myself of late. I have hungered for something more, something that I cannot have. I have desired to be held and kissed and appreciated and really loved by another man in a way that priesthood slaps on the back just don't satisfy that craving need. I've hungered for the assurance that holding on to my beliefs, my family, my kids, my life as is, is the right thing for me despite these craving needs of mine. I felt it enough last Saturday to sustain me for a while.

I have and currently continue each week to sit in that seat of presiding at Sacrament Meeting and it eats me inside to know that my cravings are what they are and yet I portray the role of the priesthood leader who would never dream of having such cravings. That personal conflict (the internal gay-oriented person verses the external image of the straight-acting person who has it all together)drains my spirit and pulls me apart inside - this is the authenticity struggle I deal with daily of which this blog speaks.

My conviction of the atonement and "second chances" and always having that opportunity to get back up on that proverbial horse after having been bucked off and feeling so disjointed, is sound and stronger with each passing year. I used to be a "letter of the law" justice kind of guy, but now I'm much more fascinated with the concept of perfect mercy.

But I do fall off the horse. I do struggle with the facade. I strain to keep from facing hopelessness in the face. These experiences continue. Thank God the Atonement is "continuous" for these continuing experiences.

I hope progress is being made. I often lose perspective along the way.

Please keep in touch and don't be a stranger. I'd love to talk more about the "presiding in Sacrament Meeting" role verses the "struggle of not handling it all that well" role as a man whose desires that predate this world do not align - particularly with the presiding role one is called to fulfill and magnify.

PNWReader said...

Happy new year. just checking in and hoping you are doing well.