I know I touched on my stresses with the safety of my kids on Sunday in a previous post and some of you emailed me about it.
I want to keep details out of it because... well I do. My blog, my rules.
But, I decided to share some of it because I have learned so much from this experience.
The gist (For this segment I shall use caveman speech because it amuses me):
Kids not safe at church. This bad. Me worry. Me argue. Me frustrated. 2 years. Me get bad sick from stress. Me want to quit. Me not quit. Nice person help me. Church safe enough (yes I know that word is big for a caveman... he is a clever caveman) now. This good.
(*Now that I've tried that, I may caveman speak more often*)
The lessons (I will speak prettier):
1. Don't give up.
I wanted to so badly, especially when I was at the point where I was getting physically ill every Sunday. That was rough. Although... that weekly extreme stress DID help me figure out the Raynaud's disease thing, so silver lining...
Seriously though, there were so many moments I wanted to walk out the church doors and never return. In those moments the faces of past friends kept me going back.
My old beloved seminary teacher who was so good at yelling at me, my sister missionaries (I love them so much) and my dear friends from NoteWorthy who have always loved me in spite of me. None of them are close to me physically, but all are always close in my heart.
Also, my trusted advisors who gave me so much advice over this issue. You know who you are.
Had those friends not been a part of my life, had they not been reminding me that I could do it and that I could not just quit, well I would have given up. I hate quitting (says the girl who married a guy who called off their wedding way too many times... another day people, another day), and I truly would have done just that.
2. Make sure you are right and then stay right.
That was hard. I would get so mad and start just ripping on the personal flaws of those who were not helping me. That was a huge stumbling block for me. I think that is probably part of why this was such a drawn out ordeal. I could not just humble myself enough to see past my frustration at times and look at the real problem consistently. When I finally sat down, looked at my problem, threw out what was honestly my personal dislikes or petty issues and trimmed down the fat to the true problem, things finally worked. Not that I wasn't right the whole time. I was about the core issues, but I wasn't about all the personal issues etc. Shame on me.
3. Be unafraid.
I think people have a misperception of me that I'm not scared of much.
The truth is I am constantly terrified, but I am more stubborn that terrified and so I do things to overcome the fear.
Like when I was performing in musicals. I mega loathed getting in front of an audience. When they had the lame meet and greet afterwards I was always hiding in the dressing room or sneaking out the back door. I really and truly do not enjoy being in front of others. But, I loved learning the skills, learning how to be a better singer and dancer, memorizing, thinking through the problems live theater can bring... and so I had to take the part I liked with the part that terrified me.
I was afraid so much through this process.
Afraid everyone at church hated me.
Afraid people would be mean to my kids because they didn't like me.
Afraid I would give up and something bad would happen to a child and that would be on me.
Afraid I would never suceed.
The first two did happen to varying degrees, but again, I was so afraid, but it happened and I am still standing. I survived what I was afraid of (and that I could bear). What I could not bear, didn't happen.
4. Accept that no one gets away clean.
What I mean is that there are always consequences to our choices and even when we choose good, something bad can happen.
I am quite confident that I have lost a few friends over this and killed other friendships before they began.
If you know me, you know this is a very hard thing for me because I am always afraid (that pesky fear again) of offending and losing a friend, but I also have to be true to myself and there is always collateral damage.
Sambo tells me I just choose the occasional rotten apple of a friend (but none of you, right? kidding!) and that I need to not be as hard on myself, but this is the part that is always hard for me.
I hate the moment when I look at a situation and realize I will be losing a friend over something but I can't find a better solution. (And be honest, we all face that exact situation every so often).
This is hard for me also because if you are my friend, the truth is that I love you dearly and would do nearly anything to help you and the thought of losing someone I consider a friend is like losing a piece of myself. Which is why I keep most people at an arms length. Poor Buddy has this trait. He is slow to love you, but when he does, he will love you forever and will be entirely loyal to you until you hurt him horribly. He got that from me, poor boy.
My current solution is to go back to my resolutions and lessons of 2009, and do everything in my power to not offend others whenever possible, to forgive and try to understand their perspective and to accept the consequence for what it is. Those things will sort themselves out eventually (says the girl who looks at 80% of her facebook friends and can remember a HUGE blow out with that person, but she still loves them and they hopefully still love her).
I don't love this lesson, but I think it is necessary for me.
5. Be patient.
This took SO LONG. I thought it would never end. But every time I could not take another step down this road, one of my friends, or my Sambo or those special people in my head would pop in and poke me with a pointy stick again until I started walking again. I needed the time to think, evaluate and grow up a bit. I needed to endure this, to wait it out and see that solutions don't come on my time, but they come IN TIME.
Overall, I have learned a lot. And I believe I am still learning. While there was some negative, I mostly feel good. I stood up. I overcame. I was afraid and I still did it. I want to remember this experience for the next time I have a big problem, a hard problem and I am scared. It is amazing how our past experiences prepare us for harder life tests. I don't know if I am passing, but I hope I am.
And, I still believe in my church. This matters. A lot. This made me believe more because I was there in spite of the situation.
I guess the moral of the story is that we can do it. We won't always be the most popular and it won't always happen quickly, but it will happen they way it is supposed to happen. Also, we are in control of our destiny if we decide to be.
On to the next, right? (Maybe I can squeeze in a nap first.) I'm grateful this is over. So grateful.