Not going to church for a few weeks I guess

So, I developed some health issue during my pregnancy that got even worse after Anne was born.
It turned out it is multiple sclerosis.

It is like a big, ugly and scary name for something that is not so bad in my case. One of the doctor I have to see for that has me on some drugs that works pretty well but I have to try some others to see what fits me the best. Until what kind of medicationI should take is set and clear I don’t feel like going to church.
Sorry to say but each time I go to church my symptoms worsen. I know it is partly my fault because I am so stressed out that I get tired more easily and fatigue is one of the thing I have to watch out to have a better daily life.
I get stressed out because I worry for Pascal and Anne. I hate going to church without them BUT in the mean time I really don’t want Pascal to join the church.
Then I get to church and I have to gather all my strength to deal the members.
The only time I like and the reason I put myself under this is because I want to take the sacrament.

Therefore I like the new changes in the church in France.

Now the whole country has to do sacrament meeting first before all the other meetings in order to bring more spirituality in our teachings and how we deal with each other. I love it.

It does not change the situation it only helps me in finding the spiritual help I am craving for. Considering that it makes things a tiny bit (only a tiny bit) harder not to miss the sacrament I think I am going to wait until my friend Dany can take me to church or until I have this dang driving licence to be able to go to church without a part of the pressure. I was going to write “without all this pressure” but not having it is impossible.

Love, love, love and love

I went to an extra aïkido training over the past two days. I have been doing this for three years now and it is the first time I hurt so much. Specially my legs hurt. As usually I felt dumb and inadequate and this year was even worse as I slept only 3 hours during the night between Friday and Saturday. Then I ran early in the morning to go to this training which included much Iaïdo. Basically I went home and almost cried out of being tired and hurting. I had tears in my eyes at least twice on the tatami.
So today was RS free and I went to sacrament meeting. There I had the greatest surprise to find Natacha my nursery girl friend and the stake president’s wife. We had a great time chating after church and it was just what I needed.

I told her that I went to see this therapist who happens to be LDS and I explained to her that I chose not to tell her that I am LDS at first. what she told me helped me a lot to understand that this therapist will understand that I did not tell her right away about our “connections”.
Her story is roughly this: her father died when she was very young. Her mother did not have a job or any kind of education but she was enough blessed that she found a position as a janitor in an apartment building which in these times in France meant free housing and a paycheck. As low as the money may have been they were safe.
I guess her mother was extremely busy because it seems that she is an amazing woman nevertheless her oldest daughter had to take care care of her younger siblings.
Once they were off on their own she started living her own life.  Went to university where she studied psychology and is now a very respected therapist. She has her own practice also works in a hospital as well as at the university (we’re talking about a major city here, not some kind of little university) where she gives lectures or classes (I don’t really know). Anyway her opinion is very much respected.
Yet from what I have been told about how she is I understand that she would absolutely NOT be recommended by the LDS social services from what I understand. For example, if she is too tired to come to church well she’ll try to come to church but not beyond what she feels she can do/take. She is also very “unpleased” with many things she sees or hears in the church and the stake president knows her very well. He sent me to her anyway.

What I am trying to tell her through much unimportant things is that if there is ONE thing that I have learned from my excommunication is that I am not supposed to do it all on my own because no matter how strong I am (and God made me very strong) I’ll never be stronger than with the proper help when I need it. And if this help should fail for one reason or another then God will send His angels or His power or however you like to call it to help me.
I have been in a state of anger for the past….7 months maybe? The same kind of anger that initially lead me to excommunication. The difference is that now I can identify it, I can identify God’s love, I can see that this anger is not the end, just a phase I am going through which will bring me eventually more joy and more knowledge which is what I am the more after. Or maybe I ought to say that the both are connected. I was so hungry for what I am experiencing now before I was excommunicated but I was never taught how to feel it. I mean I knew where I was, what state of mind I was in and I knew what I needed to help me go through but I did not know the path.
Now this is the time when I was supposed to tell that the path is christ or the atonement or anything of the kind but these has been used so often that it sounds void of meaning. They are just words. The atonement is the path but what it leads to is not to God’s love because His love is everywhere, it is there for us no matter who we are. It is a path for us to know we are loved. It is like being in a dark room with no door or window or light of any kind and we get lost and start crying for food and water when it is actually in abundance everywhere. The atonement is not the food or the water, it is someone turning on the light.

It works

We came here to grow, progress, develop, whatever word that can be used in this way this is what we came here for.

If you are following my blog since the beginning you I have had questions and doubts and worries since I came back. Not about the gospel but about my own growth and abilities. I knew I had learned how we can use the tools we have been taught we had, I knew I had understood the power of those tools despite their pointless look when in a hard situation. Yet I was wondering if I was right and if I knew really how to use those tools.

Those are: the prayer, talking to your leader, reading your scriptures, a blessing from the priesthood and one tool I did not use yet but that I may which is fasting. I have been heavily under Satan attack since I came back from the temple and it reached its climax this week end. I knew I could pull it by myself but I also knew the cost of it and what was the result of it. this was the time to try what I was hoping was true.

I prayed harder than ever specially walking to church just so that I would not yield to the feelings of self depreciation that I know is my utmost weak point. I am not talking about feeling low I am talking about feeling so bad that I am ready to take my life. My experience in the temple has taught me that this is in me and it has nothing to directly do with Satan but the fact maybe that those feelings are the aftermath of his work in my family. I expected those feelings to come back after I would get my blessings restored but it did not except maybe for the feeling of danger that may have been in my or the Spirit helping me to get ready. I don’t know.

What I know is that it came back as bad as it was before I was excommunicated after my temple trip but this time I can make the difference between what is right and true and what is Satan’s lie. So I called on what I thought I was entitled and I found out I was right and it works. Or I should say our leaders are right and it works. Let’s try to show some humility. What I think has not been emphasized enough in the teaching I have received as I grew up is how when you need this help from above it is not just about praying and forgetting about it expecting since you just handed your problem over it will be taken care of but it is really about exercising faith.
You are given the power you need to take apart yourself your obstacle. But if you expect that praying is like casting a magic spell and your stumbling rock will be taken away it is not how it works. As I just said you are given knowledge, enlightenment, strength to take apart and learn from this obstacle that Satan puts on your way. This is his strength and his weakness because if we are careful not to forget that he is always on watch and will use any opportunity to make us fall, if we don’t forget that he may be real and here but God is real too and here and has endowed us with much more than Satan has then we can learn from his attempt and understand and grow in so many ways. I know I am passing this test (not done yet) and I know it is only one and I know Satan needs us to fail to prove his point and I don’t think I ever agreed with him so why would I help him?

I am writing this for myself because I know this lesson I am learning is light in weight still and I know I will have to learn it again and again, I just never want to forget that I will have once passed it and if I did it once I can do it twice. I also understand that someday I will need much more strength than today and/or that I will need to look for more tools than what I already know and have but I know my Heavenly Father will never let me look for those in vain. Sometimes it will only take more strength more faith than others and I really hope I can grow without failing. Yet I know that if I should stumble the price has already been paid for me so I can rise and move on in my progression. I have experienced the atonement and I know that I am only asked sincerity and faith.

Rough times and blessings

I had never experience this cruel situation: when you’re doing so great that you want to shout it and you can’t because people around you are going through some horrible times. I have been blessed beyond measure and this is no joke.

My IR pictures made me get an 11 000 worth contract which will bring even more because a politician has asked me to document his next campaign. This means that I will go anywhere he goes and since he is a conservative AND a man with great influence and good reputation I am going to be around quiet influent people for about 8 months. When eventually a movie of my life is made because I will have become this big and influent photographer (jooooooooke) this event will definitely part of the legend because it really happened like in a movie.

I am also going to have an exhibition thanks to the same man and I am going to work on it this week end AND next week.

Next week? Oh yes, next week I am going to the temple for the first time since I came back to the church. I plan on going to a session in the morning and then taking pics the afternoon.

You must be going “WOW”. And yes I am to as I am typing those words even if it is already old news.

So what is so sad about it?

About two weeks ago I took this test to pass a level in Aïkido. after the class we found out that one of the participant had just lost his father of a very fast growing cancer that killed him in a week. He was to be buried two days after he told us the news. Then I called my former bishop about car pooling to Lyon for a stake activity when he told me that a member of our church had lost her husband the day before my budy’s father was buried. He had committed suicide.

I felt bad enough that this guy had lost his father so quickly and I was so sad for him and then, this member who has been one of the first person I have known in the ward lost her husband this way. It was just horrible. I could not stop crying for several days. I had never realized how much this sister was important to me. She is not that great sister in the ward that everybody loves because she is so special. It is just that we love her because she exists. I never thought I would cry that much for her. It was really for her because I have seen her husband at best twice in 16 years. I really did not know him but I know her. She is not my friend but she is important to me. She did not come at church the following sunday and I am glad she did not because she gave us a time to cry for her together. We did not have to act brave. She came to sunday after and this just killed me. I know I would not have been able to do that. And I did not know she mattered that much to me.

Change of mood

Last week I wrote about Natacha.

I saw her yesterday at a stake primary activity. I went there because it was taking place in a park which means much “green” which means great opportunity for IR picture (the pics I have posted lately are IR pics that I took). I wanted so much to be with her that it was violent. I was very confused by this feeling. Fortunately I HAD to take pics so I was away from the group for about half an hour or maybe a full hour. I don’t know. Time flies when I take pics.

Anyway when I came back to the group she came to me. I would not have come to her cause I was really scared that my “despair” would show. She came to me for another photography lesson and since I had a spare camera I was able to lend to her something to practice what I had taught her.

I came back home FREAKING late and I was miserable today at church (and still actually).

I realized where the violence of the emotion I feel when I see her comes from and why I am happy and in a good mood which is NOT normale when I am tired. AND NO I AM NOT IN LOVE WITH HER! Which sounds like it when reading what I wrote.

The thing is that she gives me something that I did not realize I needed:

HOPE

I am realizing right now as I am typing this that I have faith but I just don’t have hope.

I fall into my old trap again: I trust and believe very hard anything as long as it is not for me. Like I trust anything good can happened to anyone. I will pray hard and put all my faith into fasting for someone else but I just can’t put as much strength when it is FOR ME. I realize that this the most difficult lesson I have to learn in this life no matter what miracle God brings in it: this kind of hope that makes things happen for real. I thought I had learned it but nope. I wonder if I will ever. I see now what I need. I don’t need what she has (a wonderful husband, a beautiful house in a  gorgeous environment, three healthy kids) but what she brings me and I suspect her to bring it to a lot of people because I know she is loved in the stake.

I realize that what people “hit” like a wall when they meet me is not the fact that I am hard but the fact that I just don’t have “hope”. And how are “hope” and “faith” so similar that they can pretty much been used as synonyms? Well they are destroyed by the same thing: fear.

I know

I used an allegory last week with a friend and I think I am right on.

She asked me what I thought of this or this commandment. Are they Telestial or Terrestrial commandments?

I went “uh?”

I am not saying that I did not understand what she meant because I have been raised on this kind of discussion but to me they lead to nowhere so I don’t think with this kind of consideration anymore.

I feel that we are like athletes training for something big. So big that we have little understanding of what it is really. If you look at runners they don’t just train and develop  the lower part of their body that is supposed to carry them every muscle is trained for the race even muscles we don’t see such as the heart. Who would think that back muscles could help win a race?

I feel that everything we are commanded is to help develop a spiritual ability that we don’t understand the meaning of until it is better developed and we can feel the change.

I am sadden by my friends outside the church because I see their potential and how they just won’t trained. I am sadden by the members I see who have so much more than my friends outside the church and who just won’t trained their neck muscles because they don’t see the correlation with winning a race and because there a so little mentions of it in modern day advises, or so they think. I am scared when I see how much I understand to even imagine how much I don’t.

I am grateful for the gospel and for the hope it brings me that no matter how much I hurt in this life it is in the end going to turn out not just ok but beautifully for those who will want and accept the atonement.

Two days ago I was at my Stake President’s home. His wife and I are nursery friends. This is SO crazy to think that we were nursery friends. I mean that in France when I was a child nobody could claim to have been nursery friend with anyone. But here we are. There is a second, third and even fourth generation of members of the church rising in France. I remember her when we were babies and our mother were feeding us in the kitchen of the church. What her mother gave her was way too hot and incidentally I guess it was the same for me. Her mother had taught her to breath in and out really fast with an open mouth to help the food to cool down faster in case it was too hot. So she did and I think my mother pointed it out to me and I thought it was clever (clever babies!). I caught it on and did it after for years.

I am proud to tell you now that now I know better than to eat burning food unless I am way too hungry I guess.

We saw each other twice again when we were teenagers and then we lost track of each other until I came back to the church. I accepted to be dragged to a stake activity where I saw “this” woman and I asked someone if her name was not “Natacha” to which I was answered “of course it is Natacha B the wife of the recently called stake president”. I was really in shock to see someone that was linked to such a tender period when I expected to see only strangers. Of course I told the person not to tell her about me which she immediately ignored and ran to her to tell Natacha about me. I felt so horrible. What I hated in the church just happened: your most simple desire is being ignored for someone’s selfish pupose of being linked to “maybe” a good news that one will be able to brag about because it involves the stake president’s wife.

She glanced at me and did not talk to me.

Months later the stake president told me that he had read the letter I did not want anybody to read but the first presidency. Thanks president. You make me feel even worse. I don’t know you. I did not want someone geographically close to read it and you just told me that you read it. I am so glad (sarcasm)! He told me that he wanted me to talk to his wife because  what he had read was very close to his wife’s story.

Me: “uh?” (again)

I knew her life had been rock’n roll but I had no idea we had so much in common.

She invited me over several times because we never had the time to speak and share about. It is just crazy how much our pains are the same. She can understand everything I say. It feels so good also to have someone close I can share with about spirituality without fearing of what I say being labeled as blasphemous. Basically having someone like Ray (yes, you Ray) but closer AND female AND with memories in common because we were born the same year and spent our first years in the same ward.

Concerning the church activities where I felt so bad because I did not want her to know that I was here and did not feel comfortable enough in the church yet, it was just all so awkward and inappropriate, she told me that she had quickly understood I wanted to be alone and not bothered. I did not really want to be alone and just did not know what I wanted but I definitely felt this was way too much for me and did not want to have to look happy to see again someone that I did not know if she remembered me, if she even cared about me. I did not want her to fake caring when it would have been obviously an effort to her. I am not saying that in the church in France everybody is hypocrite because everybody is sincere. I promise they are sincere it is just that they force themselves to love instead of working toward love. I had hated the church because of that. I saw much neurosis coming from this and I just did not want to be part of it again (I still don’t want).

Natacha understands it more than I would have expected anyone in France to be able to understand.

I have been able to tell her about a spiritual experience when I was excommunicated that I have not written here not told to any leaders of the church (her husband included) because I don’t think that anyone could understand it properly. It felt Heavenly good. It made me catch a glimps of what it is going to be like after. Ou stories may have differences but all what we will say as a response will be “I know” and we will be able to finish each other’s sentance. we will feel emotionnal but won’t cry because the positive feeling will sooth any pain that will come up in our heart and the spirit of God will really bind us.

On a side note: I guess the missionaries back then must have had something very appealing to crazy-nuts-insane young mothers. Just kidding. I have to joke about it I am sorry.