READER POST: The doorbell rang last night as I was folding laundry and my kids were absorbed in electronics. Because #singlemomlife.
It was the sister missionaries from my previous ward. They recently requested my Facebook friendship. I had accepted with a chuckle, expecting they would take one look at my feed and think me an apostate. I honestly thought to myself that I maybe I should brand myself with a scarlet letter “A” for “apostate” and that would simplify everything.
Now here they were on my doorstep. I answered the door. They smiled.
They also immediately gave me a hug because No Boundaries. They peaked into my home and dropped hints about how Pinterest-worthy they thought it was. They had hungry eyes, so I invited them in. I realize now I didn’t even offer them anything to eat. Classic Mormon fail.
I gave them a little tour of my stereotypical Pinterest home because old habits die hard. I shared some trade secrets, like the fact that I pretty much spray paint everything and that I have gotten most of my furniture in discarded piles of junk on the roadside because trash-to-treasure is real life. (Shhh, don’t tell.)
They asked me about my life even though they already seemed to know all about it. I smiled again, thinking their alleged curiosity was a ploy. And then I told them all about it.
I shared how I really felt about church trauma. I told them about #protectldschildren. I chatted about my hopes for better policies and a healthier church. I told them about the need for improved leadership training and incorporation of informed trauma care within our congregations. I got on my soapbox about how we need lessons on consent, abuse, empathy and self-empowerment. I topped it all off by saying I work to raise awareness of these issues publicly by writing and publishing my thoughts, speaking on these issues whenever possible, collecting personal stories of abuse at Unrighteous Dominion, and helping to connect survivors to resources. I went into how damaging the patriarchy is, how marginalized voices need elevation within our culture, and how women’s issues are human issues.
Surely, that will do it. I could practically see the Scarlet “A” being burned onto my forehead.
Except, wait, no.
We agree with you, they said.
We believe you are doing good.
We see the need for change.
We’ve experienced some of these same issues.
We understand, they said.
Instead of searing flesh, I felt a soaring heart.
After I picked my jaw up off the floor, they said they wanted to serve me. Could they help me with my dirty laundry? “We are here and we love you,” they said. And I knew they meant it.
The beautiful parallel of this simple visit was not lost on me. My relief was marked by gratitude for their authenticity; their gratitude was also a relief to my authentic self. When they left that night, they hugged me again. I hugged them back.
And I meant it.
READER BIO: Lesley Anne is frequent submitter to SQ and we love her voice. She is RN by trade, but is also a single mother to 4 young children and an advocate for people who are survivors of spiritual abuse; follow her efforts at Unrighteous Dominion. To find her other submissions on SQ, please search for her by name.
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