Warning: This may be more than you want to know.
Every Sunday I write in my journal during sacrament meeting at church (if you aren’t Mormon sacrament meeting is basically mass, or your normal Sunday meeting- we just go for three hours on Sunday, sacrament meeting is one hour of the three). So every Sunday I take the time to reflect on my week while I listen the talks (a short sermon given by a member of the congregation) and I write about what I am listening to but I also write about whatever comes to mind. When you write about your week or religious topics, without censoring your feelings, some deep reflection occurs. Therefore I believe that on Sunday’s I will blog about things that may indeed relate to my trip or to travels, but they will be deeper, emotional and personal insights. So if you don’t care about that – feel free to tune out on Sundays.
So let’s be honest today. Not something I really feel like doing…. but I believe that it is important.
Today was hard.
And tonight was even harder.
Not for any stupendous or even obvious reason but I struggled. Here is my theory on my emotional wackiness and it’s a multi-pronged theory. First and foremost- meeting new people is a lonely business. It seems counter intuitive but meeting people, all new people, and lots of them, really makes you realize that you are alone. There is no one around you who knows you. Every time you introduce yourself you have to repeat the same old things. ‘Why are you here? How long are you here for? What brings you here? What’s your name? What do you do for a living? Where are you from?’ Pretty much that is the list. And after repeating it for the 10th or 20th time you realize that no one has any clue what makes you tick or who you are and though they are being kind trying to get to know you, that takes work, effort, and a mutual goal of learning about each other. Normally I enjoy this. I tend to think of myself as an outgoing extrovert who feeds off other people’s energy (though like most people I need down time). I am not shy. I don’t lack confidence in most social situations. But no matter who you are extending yourself can be draining. I love my church, I have faith in the doctrine taught and I love when the people try to embrace me and help me feel comfortable; however, all those good intentions meant that every time I turned around today I had to answer the aforementioned questions and every time I felt energy seeping out of me. It’s one thing to meet one or two people and then to turn to the friends that you know and trust but to meet lots of people, and to try to put yourself out there in the hopes of making friends, then realizing you aren’t there for long enough to really form a strong bond…. well I am tired. Everyone exuded kindness as it tends to be the Christian way, and I am sure that helped, but you have to wonder how many people truly care or are just expressing polite curiosity? So I drained myself for a lot of polite curiosity mixed I’m sure with some genuine feelings.
I felt the spirit of the Lord today through a beautiful rendition of How Great Thou Art. I listened to a very good, and very funny talk and the lessons came right from the manual. But once again I sat in church meetings where the teachers sugar coat the lessons, avoiding some of the harder truths, and as always, I spoke up. Let me explain. In the lesson about continuing revelation the lesson headed towards the idea that all you have to do is ask and the Lord will direct you and everything you do should involve revelation from the Lord before you go about your life. This is a good theory, but it fails to address what you do when the Lord answers you with, “You decide, I gave you a brain and knowledge so make the best choice you can.” Or “Not yet.” Or when you have to struggle for years before the Lord sees that you are ready for what you asking for, or the Lord expecting you to act… then He will help. The Lord will answer, I’m not denying that, but it helps me to remember that it is not always a smooth process. These are the types of things I want people to talk about because they are the things I need to remember. I had many people today thank me for my comments, because I believe, like me, these thoughts help them. However, to not go with the flow of the lesson also takes energy.
I slept badly last night. I woke up early and couldn’t fall back asleep. I really hoped to find someone to hang out with this week, and indeed I did, but being tired to start does not help when you are in new territory, meeting new people, with new everything. I also was tired at the start of this trip. I came with a cold. It has not fully left me yet and I am fighting to try to make the best of this while battling illness.
These are all reasons for why I struggled and why on the way home I felt wiped out (it takes about an hour or more depending on train and bus schedules to get to church) So when I was walking from the train station to the bus stop and started running while looking behind me at the approaching bus I was going to miss, and rammed right into a metal pole, head first, hard, well… yep I cried. I gave myself a goose egg, a broken lip and a tooth hurt in case you were wondering how hard I hit…. yep! Well I missed the bus and walked myself home instead of waiting for the next bus. I proceeded to indulge in a good cry and talked to the Lord (which I did out loud… this resulted in some very curious expressions from the passing Brits).
So before you going planning a six month trip- remember as awesome as it is- or the idea is- it’s not all St. Paul’s cathedral and lights on the Thames… and today was not all bad or even bad at all, simply exhausting. The sun will shine tomorrow. I promised pictures and tomorrow I shall provide and I’m sure it will be a light happy post, as there are juicy fun details from today as well, but for tonight I end my reflections with- Thank God. I thank God that I know He is there. I thank Him for listening to me. I thank Him for helping me calm down and letting me know that tomorrow is another day and I can take it at my own pace, and I thank Him for the growth that I know will occur on this trip.