A couple weeks ago, Elder Holland came into the restaurant where I work. It was a slow weekday. He was with his wife and another couple. I didn't recognize them, but I don't keep up on the new callings like I once did.
I posted about this in one of the groups I'm in on Facebook, but I thought it might be a good topic to blog about for a minute or two.
They were sitting at a table that was in the section next to mine. I had to walk by quite frequently. I found myself being rather caught up in strong emotion, which was surprising to me. Of course, there was absolutely no one at work who could appreciate that this was kind of a big deal.
But here's why it's a big deal: when I was active and listening to General Conference every six months, Elder Holland was probably my favorite apostle. I always looked forward to his talks. I found him to be comforting to me. I perceive him to be quite compassionate. As someone who always felt misunderstood when it came to Church and my ward especially, a little compassion from someone who represented the Church was something I greatly desired. I could feel just a little bit of that sentiment when I listened to Elder Holland speak.
And here he was, two feet away from me.
I wanted to interrupt their dinner. It felt like I had a million questions I could ask him. "Have you ever seen Jesus Christ? Would you say that you know Him? Do you think He loves me? If there is a place for me in His heart, why isn't there a place for me in His Church?" And on and on and on. I wanted to be reassured from someone that I had once trusted so implicitly. I wanted him to offer me just a shred of that compassion, to help me feel some sort of healing in regards to how hurt I've been by the Church in general and the actions of some of its members.
Could he really be as compassionate as I have always hoped he is?
Could he really look at me and offer me...something? Is there really anything he could have said that would make me feel better?
Even though I don't like to admit it, I still feel hurt. I like to act like I'm over it. I like to act like it's not important. But how could something that was such a huge part of my life for so long not be important? It's still a shadow that looms over me. It's still a thread that weaves itself through my relationships with my family. My patchwork quilt of faith still carries pieces of the doctrine I was raised on. And I really don't think it will ever go away.
Which leads me to wonder if the pain will ever completely go away.
And I'm not quite sure how I feel about that.