Early 1998 -- The Worst Zone Conference Ever

This is not a post from my journal or letters, but from memory. I will remember this day for as long as I live. I am sorry if this comes off as hurtful or insulting to my mom or dad, it is really not meant in that regard, I love them both and have come to terms with the substance of this post. I think it is good for me to get this into a medium that can be preserved. So here goes.

We had driven into Edmonton for zone conference the week and a half after Christmas. I don't remember the conference, but after President O finished his talk and we had the closing prayer, my district leader came rushing for me and and said that the mission president wanted to talk with me. I was a little nervous, wondered if he was going to finally bust me for sleeping in (I wish that's all it was! More about sleeping in later, I guess, I always hated the fact that I did it...).

He took me to a room and sat me down and told me that my mother had gotten onto a plane, flown to Alaska to visit another man and that that man had proposed to her. Even as I relive it now I'm not sure how to respond. I think I just put my head down on the table and started to cry. He let me go on for a while. Maybe I asked a few questions. I'm sure I did out of disbelief.

I remember clearly that he told me my mom and my dad both wanted me to stay in the mission field, that this wasn't something worth coming home over. They both wanted me to serve my mission like I had committed I would do. He told me that I should go home and call each of them, I think he may have given me the phone number in Alaska. Then he gave me a long blessing and sent me on my way. I don't remember what the blessing said at all. I remember believing and trying to convince myself that I felt the ministering of angels while I was in there to strengthen me. I can't really say for sure any more, my emotions were so haywire, it's impossible to tell.

I remember getting into the car with Elder R and two other elders we had carpooled down with from a town about an hour north. I sat in the back seat just writhing and loathing. After an episode of anger, I decided to tell them all what President O had told me. My parents were getting divorced. We talked about it all the way home, I think.

Elder R and I talked about it that night. I would never wish anyone in his shoes. He tried and tried to find ways to comfort me and yet be honest at the same time. "Maybe my mom will marry him and he'll be baptised," I really hoped. Elder R said "No chance he's getting baptized, dude. Not with the current situation the way it is." I got mad and swore at him I think.

I remember going out on a teaching appointment with him the next day to visit a sister who was preparing for baptism. Elder R did all the talking that day. He looked me at one point so I could bear testimony and I remember trying to get words to come out of my mouth, but I just couldn't, I didn't feel it, couldn't feel it.

I think I called my dad first when we got home that evening. We talked about it. I don't remember much of that conversation. I called my mom next and tried to talk her out of it; I remember trying to tell doctrine and she just wouldn't budge. As if she didn't make this decision with a little bit of forethought! I was just trying to wrap my head around everything. I remember thinking over and over that the saddest part was that I wouldn't have the opportunity to be together in heaven with them all, that the sealing promises upon my family were broken and that my mother wouldn't be able to join with us in heaven any more.

I remember sitting in the chapel for long stretches of time in Edson playing Families Can Be Together Forever, just hoping that something would twitch and go back the way it was, put all the worms back into the can, take the pain and numbness away.

One day I remember having a fight with my companion and looking for answers. I found a passage of scripture that talked about Captain Moroni and the king men in Alma in the Book of Mormon. It talked about how the King Men defected in the home province/city when Cpn Moroni was out fighting a war. It made the fight for the war impossible to wage because everything in the center of the country was set at variance with itself. He couldn't get troops, he couldn't get supplies, because everyone at home was fighting. I felt like maybe I was like this country and this imminent divorce was like the king men causing disturbances and strife. I realized that this divorce would affect me in ways that I didn't understand or realize and if I wasn't careful it would destroy my relationship with my companion. I vowed to not let it eat me up inside to the point of self destruction.

I remember kneeling down at the bed and determining within myself that I would forgive my mom for causing all this pain. I really think I was able to let go of the anger I felt, and I think it helped me come to terms with the situation.

I later realized that my entire family had known that the divorce was going to happen on Christmas Day when I called home, but they had all been told to not tell me and not tip me off. It was agreed that I should hear this face to face instead, so President O told me at the next face to face chance he could, our zone conference. That is why everyone kept saying "it's so good to hear how happy you are!" I was the only one who didn't know that the next several years would be dark ones, so I was still happy.

The divorce and overcoming it are really the reasons I have come to believe in the atonement of Jesus Christ and that it's effects are real. Isaiah calls him a counselor and I really do believe that He took my pain away at times so it wouldn't crush me or overwhelm me. I think that I did eventually digest all the deep and dark feelings I had about it even though they regurgitate at the strangest of times still , but I think He helped me cope and spoon fed it to me while I grew to accept and move on.

I always considered Edson the furnace of my affliction. I still don't remember it that fondly. A dirty little town with a few saints who somehow kept it together despite the worst odds. A bunch of drugs. A really lousy Christmas memory (now it's lousy, anyway...). How horrible. It is so horrible I am actually chuckiling about it right now. But life goes on! I survived this drastic news some how and continued to function. Thank goodness for poor Elder R. He really kept me going. My next group of companions had to deal with my emotional mess, too. The poor guys. That heavens for them all.


[I'm sure the rest of the 18 months of blog posts will invariably cite back to this incident at one time or another. I'm not trying to be preachy or scolding. My family doesn't all ascribe to the same faith, but we all grew up in the church, I don't have any desire to 'preach' to them, so please, don't take it that way, guys. I guess I'm just trying to create an accurate depiction of how I felt about the divorce and how I feel about it now.]


1 comment:

Justin and Emily said...

This post was way to close to home for me. i think its a good thing to write down and have recorded, because I think it helped shape you in many ways. However, I don't know if I ever want to read it again :). I think although, many of us have different thoughts and feelings in regards to religion and God I think we can all respect and appreciate the feeling and emotions that were exerpienced during that period of our lives. Hopefully, we can learn and grow from one another and become closer.

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