It’s inevitable – things change. Doesn’t really matter what you’re talking about, or who you are, or whether or not you actually intended for change to take place. The fact of the matter is that in this life, things simply don’t stay the same. This applies to work, school, family, friends, hopes, dreams, abilities, desires, needs, beliefs, and many more aspects of life. To be human is to constantly experience change.
Sometimes the changes are drastic. A new baby, a new job, the loss of a family member or an important dream, devastation from disaster (natural or otherwise), or any number of life-altering events – these changes alter the course of our lives in obvious, dramatic, and tangible ways.
But change is not always sudden or drastic. Some changes take place over a period of time, and can be so small or gradual that they are hard to notice unless you are looking for them. Children grow ever so slightly taller on a daily basis. The grass grows imperceptibly from day to day until it again needs to be trimmed. The moon waxes and wanes gradually until it either appears full or completely invisible. And people’s attitudes and opinions can and do evolve over time as well, sometimes so gradually that they don’t even notice the change themselves.
This change has been happening to me. I look at the things I’ve written over the last few years or so about feminism and pants and church and people, and I can see that my perspective, opinion, and attitude about many things has evolved. This doesn’t make any of the things I said before any less true for me at the time I said them, but it does mean that I may not feel exactly the same way now about some of the things I’ve shared in the past. Many of those things I still feel, understand, and identify with. However, my anger has subsided and my need to provoke change has certainly lessened.
Lest certain people should find false hope in what I’m suggesting, I feel that it’s important to point out that regarding my attitude and actions toward religion, things are still very much the same. I still find no great need to attend church. I still find the exclusion by the LDS church of women from the decision-making, authority-wielding, and opportunity-receiving experiences to which men are privy frustrating, demeaning, and quite frankly sexist and unfair. But I have found that where before faith in a god was nearly impossible for me to fathom, my hopes, desires, beliefs, thinking, and actions have evolved (in that order) in such a way that I am again falling on the side of “believer” in the great spiritual debate.
It is very interesting because I can look back over the last 6 months and see specific events in my life that were pivotal points for this change. At the time, I was unaware of their significance. But in hindsight, I can see that certain things have happened in my life that have shaped and molded who I am, what I think, what I feel, and how I react. In many ways, I am a much different person than I was 20 years ago, or 10 or 5 or even 1 year ago. Significant change is evident to me even so recently as from now to a month ago.
While I’m not comfortable sharing specifics right now in this blog post, I do feel a strong need to point out to the people who have interest in me and my journey that things are changing. And with that change is coming greater peace than I’ve felt in a very, very long time. I doubt I will ever be the “good” Mormon I used to be. I doubt very much that religious affiliation is ever again going to be a significant part of my life. But religion and spirituality are very distinctly different entities. I find my spirituality to be increasing on an almost daily basis, and the connection between myself and the Divine slowly becoming apparent.
I still feel very much that what works for you and what works for me may be very different. I have no problem with people who are very religious, and similarly no problem with people who are very anti-religion. There is a large spectrum of people and opinions in this world and I still very much feel that the path to happiness through this life is different for everyone. I have no desire to force change on others or shield them from the reality they will experience. But I do have a much deeper understanding of what is important to me in this life.
Live and let live. I think that is wise advice. Some of my most personally significant realizations came to me after I was able to finally let go of the need to be in control of the choices of those around me. You go your way and I will go mine. Our paths may cross from time to time, they may run parallel to one another, or they may take us far apart. But wherever your life leads you, I wish you the best this life has to offer. I hope you find the peace and joy you are seeking for. I’ve found that for me, this peace and joy has come as I’ve been willing to love, accept, and forgive myself regardless of what others may say or think about me. When I’m doing the things that feel right to me, I find myself more capable of love and acceptance of others, no matter their choices or actions.