I've Landed!

Saturday, October 31, 2015

The Benefactress



The Benefactress
Or
How To Tell If You Are Old


Vacation was so great and so restful that I climbed aboard the plane for home, happy and energized and without pain.   I am young again!

Upon arriving home, duties and fatigue set in.

My shoulders were aching in spite of having checked my only bag and having jettisoned my carry-on so I could be as free as a bird.
                                                            

                                                                                                                   (Gif Shortener) giphy.com
















On land again, reality set in.
The fridge was empty.  Tired or not, I needed to shop.
  
Old age did not totally reappear until I was checking out at Walmart.
I could not find my debit card, having unwittingly left it behind at the gas station.
Dang it.
.  
The line of people behind me at the check-out was getting longer and longer and noodle-like with their bland stares and limp stances.
Yet the woman right behind me in line was a happy camper.
About 35 or so, she was smiling kindly as she watched me fumble.
"I have a goal that I started this year", she said to me.

If she hadn't been so filled with light and bright and good will, I might have said acidly, "Good For You!".
Instead I, being goal oriented myself, said, "Oh."

"Yes", she said.  "My goal is to buy groceries for people."   I looked at her.
Is she rich?                          
If she is rich  what is she doing at Walmart?

"Well, good luck with that goal, " and I turned back to my own dilemma, this time accidently spilling the contents of my purse on the floor and having to bend down to retrieve everything,   
I was old.
I was pathetic.

This woman behind me said with deep respect,
"Wouldn't it be great if somebody paid for all your groceries and you never had to pay for them yourself ever again?"

I just looked up at her kind and smiling face.  I don't multi-task very well anymore but a thought of "that's heaven" flitted through my brain.
But I was busy looking for change to pay for the Arrowhead bottle of water I had half finished.


Image result for images for old woman spilling her pursedailymail.co.uk

A hasty plan was made with the surely new cashier, that my groceries would be "suspended" and held for me to return with my debit card.  
I started walking away without my cart of groceries and the bright young woman ran after me.

 "I'm paying for your groceries so you need to come back and take them."

I started to protest, even argue and she shushed me.
"This would bring so much pleasure to me, how can you deny me?"

So I was lead back to receive my cart by a smiling young woman.
"To whom do I say thank you?" I asked.
She extended her hand for me to shake. "Jen".
"Thank you, Jen."

I walked away,  a person of worth.
When I unloaded my groceries into my car and climbed in, there was my debit card on the seat.

I started to cry.
The tears clued me in that God  had visited me with an earth angel to take away my  feeling of being unequal to the most-favored-people on earth, to let me know I belong because I am His.
I felt honored and loved.
I felt upheld by God.

It was never about the groceries.

And I remembered Pastor's most recent sermon:
"There are those who give of their abundance and there are those who give of their very sustenance."
Pastor's voice became trembly as he tried to describe the feelings he experienced recently in Russia 
when Christians there gave of their very sustenance to sustain him.





There is the giving from abundance that helps make the world go round.
And that is good.

Then there is the giving that defies reason,
         that is even better because the love and honor build you up,
                                    both giver and receiver .

I would thank Jen again, but somehow you can seldom do that for earth angels.
They appear and disappear so rapidly.
So.....thank you, God, for Jen and all other earth angels flitting about our world.



Riverwatch







Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Miss and Stick


Miss and Stick Talks  ("I know this church is TRUE!")
or 
Memories & Tales of Mormon Sacrament Meetings




Trust me when I tell you that Mormon Sacrament Meetings are by and large, b o r i n g.
Most Mormons will admit that but then some go on to remind you that "Endure to the End" is as much about Sacrament Meeting as about anything.

Since once upon a time I was a Mormon, I should know.  Looking around at the bored people in Mormon Sacrament Meeting, I used to think, "If this is the true church, why are they all so unhappy?  Why do they look so unhappy?  Do they not believe this church is true?"

It is so boring that many activities take place among the audience.
Kids, of course, are eating cheerios and coloring and marking in books, playing with Daddy's car keys, sorting through Mommy's purse.




Teenage girls are playing with their own long hair,
over and over and over and over running their fingers through their own hair
and tossing their head seductively for the crowd.             








Teenage boys are eyeing the girls and snickering and tossing tiny objects at the unsuspecting.




Old folks are day dreaming or nodding off.

Mom's are writing out their grocery lists,


 or are making multiple trips to the hall way to get a break "for the sake of the babies".

Dad's are stoic.  Usually.  Rarely somebody comes unglued and somebody's kid gets marched out of the Sanctuary in a huff.
There is of course texting from adults and teenagers.

But my all-time favorite activity going on in the crowd was from a teenage girl named Lucy who was so completely bored she wrote a book in Sacrament Meeting!  
My teenage children alerted me to the book activity.  "It is a scream, Mom".

So what was the book about?  A simple log on "testimonies" given at the microphone by speakers.
Once a month there is open microphone for testimony bearing so all the audience gets a chance to be brave and go to the microphone.....
but testimony bearing is a commandment so usually even the assigned talks given by members during any Mormon Sacrament Meeting during the month contain some iota of testimony-bearing.  
           


Lucy was cataloging them all.  Her book was divided by subtitles.

She kept tract of the "testimony of self" (like a selfie) that was mostly a brag.  This was the largest section of the book.  BORING.

The next largest section of the hand written book was the section on testimony on one's own parents: "I was born of goodly parents".....and while that all sounds cool, the  proof of the goodly parents is in the pudding and guess who the pudding is?!  Yep.  another selfie.    BORING.

Lucy had a subsection on testimonies that were sang!!  Only two of those, but teenagers come alert for that kind of surprise warbling  entertainment.   NOT BORING.






There was a section on demanders and haters bearing witness against their own deviant children.  (Before judging those parents harshly, please remember if you don't bear witness against the disobedient, people may think they were actually trained that way by secret acts of parents.)  BASICALLY BORING unless it contains new raw material.

There was a section on testifying that Joseph Smith is a true prophet of God.  Lots of those. BORING, BORING, BORING, BORING, BORING, BORING, BORING, BORING.



Many testimonies by little kids, 

"I know this church is true. I love my mom and dad."   

She recorded whether the mom or dad was standing beside the kid at the microphone, bent over whispering the words to say!  CUTE, BUT MORE BORING THAN CUTE.



There was a sizable section on personal miracles, especially about a son or daughter's miraculous experiences on a "mission currently taking place".
Worth listening to.
                                       

A large section on testifying to ones own pioneer heritage and who all "in authority"or super-important one is related to .  BORING.



A section named:  Travel Logs              

BORING BEYOND BELIEF.





There was also a small section on testimonies of Christ.  NOT BORING BUT BRIEF.

What a book!
***********************










Of course some testimonies do stick to a person, for whatever reason.

I remember two.
Forty -two years of being a Mormon and I remember two testimonies, now that I have been an ex-Mormon for 9 years.

One man who had screwed up so badly he made the local newspaper news, stood up at the microphone and confessed his sins.  I remember not at all what he said, though I do remember he cried as he opened the door on skeletons in the closet and confessed everything, not just the "newsworthy" stuff.
I remember  it was so quiet during his confession you could have heard a pin drop.
That experience taught me two things:

1.  We are strengthened by the confessions of other people's weaknesses.
Thank God we are not the worst screw-ups in the world!

2.  We are all voyeurs into other people's lives because that is how we learn.
Monkey see, monkey do...monkey see, monkey don't do....is the gift of the jungle.  That is how we learn from infancy.

We are honed to look at the lives and antics of others through eons of evolution.
Trust it.  That kind of education  has served us well!









The other testimony I remember was from a woman speaking about her heritage and she cited a "good heritage" and a "bad heritage".......and the "bad heritage testimony" stuck.
Her great-great-aunt had left "the only true church on the face of the earth" and that legacy, that heritage, had affected hundreds who came after her and "they also rejected the only true church on the face of the earth."   I was a young mother when I heard that testimony and for some reason it  "stuck" with me and I wondered about that great-great aunt and how courageous she must have been and why was she being trashed on?



Who knew I would eventually be an old woman who helped others out of Mormonism just by my example!
The thought of my own future legacy was a driving factor in my summoning the courage to exit Mormonism.


Have you thought about what your legacy is going to be?



Thanks for pausing here at this blog,
Riverwatch







Thursday, October 15, 2015

Pilgrimage




"....I live my life in growing orbits
which move out over the things of the world.
Perhaps I can never achieve the last,
but that will be my attempt.

I am circling around God,
                                  around the ancient tower,

and I have been circling for a thousand years,

and I still don't know if I am a falcon,
                                                 or a storm,
                                                        or a great song....."
                              by Ranier M. Rilke





I'm having a good time, 
and I hope you are having a good time, too.

Riverwatch