March 2008


Last night my family and I had the honor of attending the confirmation of a pair of sisters who have become friends with my daughters.  Our families came together when my daughter became friends with one of the girls in orchestra, and now we do a lot together.

To return to the subject of Easter, the comfirmation was held as part of a full Pascal celebration and Mass.  Please forgive me if my terminology is less than accurate.  I am a non-Catholic attempting to describe a Catholic religious service.  In fact, we were not the only non-Catholics invited to support people receiving ordinances at that service.  We were told that the man sitting in front of us was an atheist.  My family and I are LDS.  I had been to a Catholic baptism before, but not a complete worship service.

The service was beautiful, especially the music.  I often wish for more music in the church meetings that I normally attend, and I think that we are limited by some drive to try to compete with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir every time we sing, and thus we overcomplicate everything.  This Catholic congregation (I don’t know enough about others to compare or generalize) had a simple choir with piano and guitar, and the congregation followed along in places with one person leading a simple one-part melody.  It was easy enough to pick up and join in.  It was entrancing.

Apart from some small doctrinal and procedural differences, the messages, themes and the scriptures used were familiar.  The Priest spent some time explaining the meanings and encouraged the congregation to ponder and find meaning.  I was also impressed with the spirit of peace and goodwill that was there, especially at the end when people got up and hugged each other and wished each other peace.  We don’t do much of that in my church.  They accepted us, and recognized our beliefs as valid also.

I miss the similar sharing that we have lost on Psych Central.  It is rare that I have the opportunity, as I did yesterday, of visiting and learning about someone else’s beliefs that are different from mine.  We could learn so much from each other if we would listen to each other with acceptance, and without judgement.  I feel very unqualified to judge anyone, because I know that what they believe makes sense to them.  Although I do believe in the necessity of the atonement and resurrection of Christ, I believe that those gifts are or will be offered to everyone, whether in this life or the next.  According to my beliefs, we all knew the plan, that Christ would come to Earth as our brother and show us the way and pay the price for us, before we were born.  But if we are not taught in this life, all is not lost.  We will be judged according to what we have been given, and will be offered the necessary keys as we are ready for them.  I can’t judge anyone because I don’t know what they are accountable for, or the path that was chosen for them.  I don’t profess to know and understand everything, and I believe that everyone has some truth that they could share with me if I would listen.

I welcome comments here, both questions, and sharing, as long as it is kept respectful.  I can’t promise when I will have time to answer, but I will do what I can.

From time to time, I would like to share some of what I believe and value.  Today it seems fitting to share a link to a new site about The Savior, JesusChrist.lds.org . If you are interested, please take a look. I find comfort in that He cares about us so much to give everything for us, and also that He took upon Himself all of our suffering. He knows everything that we are going through, because He suffered our pains. It’s hard for me sometimes to believe that anyone could care that much about me, but He did that for all of us.

 I hope that you had a good Easter, however you celebrated it.

I have been thinking about starting another blog for some time, and I thought that I didn’t have time.  I thought that in a few months I would start to have more time, life would settle down.  It doesn’t work that way though.  So many of the things that I have wanted to say, or even have written out in my head, are not here because I didn’t take the time to write them down, or to create a space to write them down.  If not now, then when?

Many of you may already know me from the community at Psych Central.  I have shared much more of my story there already than I will ever get around to here.  I won’t backtrack a lot, except where relevant.  For some reason, it is important to me for you to know a little about where I am coming from, and this is the main theme that I have intended to write about.  I am on a journey, as we all are.  At this place in my journey, I have been moving slowly forward, personally and professionally, for about the last five years.  My memory of my life before that turning point, when my depression bottomed out and there was noplace to go but up, is pretty cloudy and confusing.  My survival depended upon picking up some lost or given up dreams, that included education and career.  Now I am nearly finished with a master’s program in Counseling.  I am doing work as a student intern.  I still have a ton of my own stuff to work through, although I have come a long way already.

Around the middle of January, I remember thinking to myself that I was getting through the winter fairly well this year, with no particularly bad lapses into depression.  Then things started to happen, and my world fell apart again.  Lots of things happened, one after another, and for a while I thought I was coping, but I wasn’t really.  I should have taken a break, but I didn’t want to admit that I couldn’t handle it.  In one week (towards the end of February, and actually the 5-year anniversary week of when I had bottomed out before), it all caught up with me at once.  My internship clients asked not to see me anymore because I wasn’t helping them, they didn’t feel a connection, and one of them said that I seemed scared, and that scared her.  Then I had an annual evaluation at my regular job that I could tell was starting to go very badly.  I broke down and cried, told my boss that I hadn’t been at my best the last several weeks, and the evaluation was put on hold.  Everything was going wrong everywhere: school, work, family, pets, hobbies, cars, and even online.  When I told my therapist that everything was falling apart, she said that it isn’t really.  She says that this is really a step in the right direction, and now that I can’t maintain the divided selves (totally competent in some areas and totally incompetent in others) that I have been struggling to maintain, I will finally have to learn to be one whole person with strengths and weaknesses.  It is scary, but I will try to trust (and hope) that it is finally coming together.

“It’s the night that makes the dawning.
“It’s the depths that make the heights.
“It’s the roots that make the branches.
“It’s the darkness that gives birth to Light.”

Joel Heathcote