My poor brothers were somewhat aghast by my somewhat passionate stance against blindly obeying a stake presidents counsel about foot wear. I guess I just don't see what foot wear has to do with spirituality. Please don't try to explain it to me either because I've heard it all before, and I even slightly understand it, yet it still gets my knickers in a knot. See I'm one who sees our church and the Gospel as two different ball games being played against each other sometimes even though they're on the same team.
On the night I told my brother and several other family members I thought it was a misuse of authority for a stake president to set forth a proclamation calling all women to wear nylons to church I encountered an awkward silence. And then with wide eyes, one brother told me that he was worried about me. Worried that I might leave the church.
I was extremely surprised. I had never had anyone worry about me leaving the church before (except my husband when I almost left the church during my mid-life crisis 10 years ago.)
As I thought about it I realized that after living away from my siblings for nearly 20 years they really don't know me that well or what makes me tick. My brother wasn't insulting me, he was simply reacting to what he was seeing and hearing at that moment.
He has no idea how much I love the gospel principals, despite my irritations with the way it's imposed and implemented sometimes by members fumbling along trying to understand all the deep mysteries. Or worse yet, not trying to understand all the deep mysteries.
I think this is true of you, my readers, as well. You don't know me very well. When I poke fun at things--my husband, my mother-in-law, my friends, my kids, stake conference, relief society, Mormon mommies--some of you may not be sure how to take it or where it's coming from. When I tease you and then tell you I'm a liar, some of you may not know whether to believe me or not.
I thought it might be helpful if I cleared a few things up on this backstage blog. For those of you who are interested anyway. My hope is that it doesn't confuse you more.
I'm actually a truth stalker. I've been addicted to the search for truth and pinning down a definition of truth for several years now.
My class themes revolve around simple truths and complex ethics. We talk about morality and ethical dilemmas and layers of truth--relative truth, emotional truth, moral truth, happening truth, story truth. We often discuss things like whether it's ever okay to lie.
It's an extremely complex search. But one thing I've discovered is the way you tell the truth is almost as important as the truth itself. Form/style is as important as substance. I think of truth as a gift, and half the fun and excitement of receiving a gift is the pretty wrapping and the curly ribbons.
For instance, in the letter to my husband from jail a few of you noted, correctly, that I started off serious and then retreated back to my funny playful Crash self. But notice I got humorous, but I didn't get silly. Crash's diary is my silly place, where I can tease the truth. But here I will only humor the truth, humorously maybe, but only because sometimes the truth is funny.
But mostly it's not.
Often humor can reveal truth more quickly than coming directly to the point. Plus, I like to make my readers think. I hate to be handed anything on a silver platter and I want readers who hate it too.
Two reasons I used humor when writing that love letter:
1.) Love letters can sound trite. Love is so deep and complex and double sided. It's exhilarating, yet disappointing and disillusioning. It's never ending. In love it's hard to tell where emotional needs and ego are getting in the way of real intimacy. Love goes on and on and on, ever changing, yet ever persisting. Love never dies. It's like an idea. You can't kill an idea. You can kill love, but it's never fully dead. Love is a constant process of small and simple realizations.
I wanted to express that side of love because that is the truth (for me). But it's hard to avoid generalizing with cliched phrases or passionate exclamations.
2.) Love is private. And deeply personal. It touches so deep that even if it were possible to come up with the precise words to describe it, it may not be appropriate to share in public. I wasn't really writing a love letter as much as I was making a point about the nature of love/marriage. Love is beautiful. But love is a lot of hard work. Love is serious business. But love is funny too.
There's nothing more pleasantly painful than love. Or truth. But we just can't handle all that pleasant pain at once.
So why not soften it up a bit with some pretty paper and a nice curly bow?
It mattereth not, as long as the truth is inside, the gift is always worth opening.