Friday, June 20, 2014

Home Sick

My family and I recently went back to the Midwest, where we are from, to visit.  I was out there for a just over a couple of weeks and my family a bit longer.

I found myself recalling what it was like to be surrounded by people that are not LDS.  In many ways people there is not a common experience or a common understanding of things.  I remembered how much as a youth and young adult I had longed to have more members of the Church around me.

I would constantly have the same criticisms of the Church come up and got tired of constantly defend doctrines or try to get recognition that I did believe in Christ.  These were among friends, coworkers, and girls's I dated.  There was often a something they had been taught in their church or something they had read about the Church or my beliefs that we couldn't agree on.  One could say, just don't talk about that stuff together, but it is so much about who I am that it always there and in reality it always should be.

When I started high school I was the only LDS person in the school and all through high school generally the only LDS person in any of my classes.  As I got older and younger members of the Church entered high school we would often find each other at lunch.

When I entered the workforce I was generally always the only LDS person where I worked.  Once when I moved to a bigger city I worked with another LDS person.  There were certain things we understood about each other before even talking much.

When we moved to Utah it wasn't exactly how I thought it would be, since there were many more inactive members of the Church or people who we not members of the Church than I had imagined.  Even members of the Church had quirks I did not enjoy.

After going home I realized even though there are a lot of members who are not active or have left the Church and there are still some nonmembers, I didn't feel like I was the one on the outside.  There were enough members that when something needed to be explained there was generally someone else who understood to help me explain, even among members who were not attending church.  I didn't feel compelled to have to justify my beliefs.

Even though there are quirks among the members in Utah, we still had a common center.  Although I still wish members would be on time and finalize plans for activities more than one day or several hours before the activity is to start, so that my family can plan our days.

I have never been home sick for the Midwest since living in Utah, but after a few days in the Midwest I was home sick for Utah.  Even just driving to the Midwest, on the way when we would stop it was different.

People at church here in Utah talk about what it is like in "the mission field" as if there is no missionary work to do here and there is some distance down I-80 that you get and you enter "the mission field".  I think that is a shortsighted saying, since Utah is below fifty percent active member as compared to people who are not members and members who are not active in the Church.  Nonetheless, there is a different feel, perhaps even a loneliness out there as our numbers become thinner out away from Utah and other parts of the West.

It kind of got me thinking about times that I am homesick for the gospel even though it is all around me in Utah.  I spend a lot of time at work and engaged in things that are not part of the gospel.  This is not by choice, but a necessity of life.  But, how many things to do we surround ourselves with voluntarily that make us home sick for the gospel and are there ways at work we could make ourselves less home sick for the gospel?

As much as I felt drained being alone away from members of the Church, I spend a lot of time making myself alone when I fill my day with only small amounts of the gospel and replace it with other things.

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