It was one of those fragile, vulnerable Sundays again. I’m like that sometimes, going through church shaking like a leaf, on the edge of my composure. It’s a kind of weakness, to always be close to tears, like to be overcome at any moment.
I’m not sure why some Sundays hit me that way. Perhaps I haven’t eaten enough. Or I may be experiencing some hormonal fluctuation. Or perhaps the expectation of the day is too much for me. I need to go, to work, to be spiritually uplifted, to edify others. I need to do my paperwork, contribute thoughtful comments to class discussions, to sing in a clear voice, and take the sacrament in a meaningful manner. The day of rest is a day of a different kind of work.
I’ve spent the entire week living the gospel as best as I can. But when I meet at church with my fellow saints, the cognitive dissonance rears up. I feel my shortcomings and flaws. I see the disunity among the saints, the failure of harmony. I can’t pretend to be a Pollyanna.
Once, years ago, I asked a question in gospel doctrine. The other class member who answered mocked the question itself, smacked it down with the unquestioning authority of his surety. I felt as though I had been physically slapped and the harshness of the shock sucked the breath out of me. Quietly, I cried, tears falling unseen in my lap, and I hid away for the rest of the meetings. That was a fragile Sunday. I didn’t know how fragile I was until I was broken. God knows he meant no ill will, and I bear him none. I learned to keep quiet on some days, because some days, I can’t bear an answer.
But I keep going to church, even when I feel again that it is a vulnerable day. I don’t talk much on these Sundays. I don’t seek out friends or leaders. I just keep my head down, staying as quiet and still as possible. But I am there. It’s an offering of a broken heart, to come even when I am weak, even when I feel I am about to shatter. Because I know I am not alone. I am not the only person who as ached through church, whose eyes have been filled with tears as I struggle to reconcile myself as I live and the gospel as it is taught and the church as it is made up of other flawed, broken people struggling for Zion.
So if you notice, don’t worry about me overmuch. I’m no more broken than anyone else, and some days, being vulnerable is my cross to bear.