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A Million Shattered Pieces

To say the the last five months have been “hard” in my life is an understatement. I’ve had to shovel my way through a lot of guilt, anger, bitterness, sadness, and the constant feeling that I am just letting everyone down.

To wake up today and realize that I can’t stop smiling is an amazing, beautiful gift.

There is a big window made up of thick square prisms of glass in my shower. If I time it just right in the morning, I hit the shower just as the sun is shining through. Amazingly this casts thousands of tiny, incandescent, little rainbows all over my body and makes me sing praises of joy. It gives me time to meditate and feel grateful for my body, for this life and soul within me, for the beauty of a simple day in a simple town lived by a simple girl.

As many of you know, my religious foundation and I have had a rocky few years, and I finally took this foundation and broke it into a million pieces. I saw my testimony of Christianity as a solid rock for a long time, then after I served an LDS mission I realized it was a delicate glass globe that I needed to treat VERY carefully, as it was on the verge of breaking. Mostly, I packed it away, did what was expected, and tried to ignore what may be wanting to escape the confines of that globe. Finally, in March, I took the step of taking that globe, which really had become more like a HUGE weight around my neck ready to sink me, and I smashed it into a million little pieces.

What has come from that?

A soul that didn’t just dissipate into thin air and leave me cold and alone…but a soul that was yearning to get free…to GROW…to FILL space and time unlimited!!! A soul that has surprised even myself.

For the past few months I have kept a lot of what I have been thinking and feeling to myself. I have made lots of apologies to my friends “I’ll come back to church.” “I know I shouldn’t feel this way.” “I know I am a doubter.” “I am going through a phase.” “I need to take a break from things.” “Hopefully, I will feel like being in the LDS religion again.” “Don’t be sad for me.”

Let me just say, those were all attempts to smooth things over, to hope that you would still love me, to pray that you wouldn’t judge me or condemn me, or feel sorry for me, or look at me with eyes that say “you are on your way to hell.” To those of you who may still think this, I am saying now openly that I am making NO more apologies or excuses for the way I am living my life. I am not going to hide things anymore, so if you want to get to know the real me, then I rejoice in that. If you want to pity me and inwardly think that I have made the wrong decisions and that I am ruining my life, then I respectfully say that I don’t want you in my life anymore. If you call me to talk and to get me to progress to an idea that you think is truth, I say you better be ready for me to tell you how I really feel. If you pray for me to come back to church and be the good mormon girl I used to be, I respectfully ask you to pray that your heart will be opened to the many different ways people can connect with this amazing God who loves us all. If you can’t handle that I drink coffee and wine and do other things that we have been raised to see as sin, then please…don’t feel like I need saving. I’ve come to learn for myself that belief is personal. Faith is personal. There is something within us that seeks faith. Faith is not a religion. Beliefs come from faith and I respect each of you, your path, your beliefs, the humble and happy way in which you live your lives. Whatever works for you, whatever makes you happy, that is my greatest wish for each of you. I am on the path to discovering what works for me.

So, here I am, sitting on a big stone floor with a million little pieces of the testimony of God and Christ and religion all scattered about me. I have tried to pick at a few pieces and put them in different places. I thought this rebuilding would take me a few months and then I would have it all figured out again. I have felt pressure to replace my old solid beliefs with new solid beliefs. I had a friend ask me “So, you don’t keep this “commandment” yet you decided to go to church on Sunday, how does that work?” I immediately went into defense mode (a mode I have been in for 5 months and I am so, so, so tired of it…can you tell?) I came up with a great answer and left it at that. But I didn’t really believe my answer. I always thought that to just be, to be uncertain, to be scared, to be happy, to realize that you are finding joy where you didn’t think you could, to be all these things was scary…I’d rather be “right” and have the “truth”.

Not anymore. I am so grateful for this experience in my life. I am grateful for growth. I am grateful that I am sitting here not being weighted down by a big rock, not tiptoeing around life hoping that I won’t drop the glass globe, but instead, surrounded by a million little pieces that are casting glorious rainbows of light over my entire being. I am grateful to let these pieces sit here. I am grateful that one day I will feel like moving them and rebuilding something new. I am grateful that I will probably get cut in the process and have scars to tell my children about.

And most of all, I am grateful that no matter what anyone else wants to believe or think or say about my life…that I feel close to a God who has only ever believed in me. A God who doesn’t doubt me. A God who loves me unconditionally. A God that has seen my potential from the very moment of my creation. A God who continues to shower me with love and happiness and joy. A God who knows how strong I am. A God who is a big, big God…bigger than many of us might realize. A God that isn’t confined to the religions of today. A God who is there for ALL of his children. Now, I may not know what religion this God wants me to be. I may not know what heaven this God wants me to go to. I may not know a lot of things. But that’s ok. That doesn’t scare me anymore.

I used to have everything about my life figured out. To the last detail.

I don’t anymore…in fact, I’ve never been so uncertain of my path than I am now.

But I have also never been happier.

Thank you God.

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  1. sarah says:

    Brava. In every sense. To be content, and even satisfied with uncertainty requires a sort of inner peace that I have not yet found. This post describes what I hope to achieve, and I both admire you and envy you for it. I wish you peace in your path.

  2. Caroline says:

    Beautiful, D’Arcy. I love the image of the shattered glass casting glorious rainbows over you.

    I think it’s great that you’re willing to embrace your uncertainty and find peace with yourself and your connection with God. While I tend to like the Mormon emphasis on progression, change, improvement, etc., I also like the more Buddhist approach of finding peace with who we are and accepting ourselves. I’m working on that right now too.

    What an exciting journey you are about to embark on. Best wishes.

  3. Mel S says:

    I love the description of uncertainty. I had been praying to trust God for a while, and finally came to this view of uncertainty. The initial fear takes your breath away it is so intense, it’s the only way I found to trust God.

    I am curious about how you get to this point though:

    “To those of you who may still think this, I am saying now openly that I am making NO more apologies or excuses for the way I am living my life. I am not going to hide things anymore, so if you want to get to know the real me, then I rejoice in that. If you want to pity me and inwardly think that I have made the wrong decisions and that I am ruining my life, then I respectfully say that I don’t want you in my life anymore.”

    Is it getting past the fear again? How do you move past “smoothing things over”

  4. DavidH says:

    I too believe in a God who loves all of creation, and who does not play favorites (regardless of the “chosenness” portion of the Abrahamic religions). For what it is worth, it is the personal portion of Joseph Smith’s earlier narratives of the First Vision that are the most meaningful to me–that we have a God who loves us, and who will show us the path we should take, albeit at times it may be “through a glass darkly.” May the Lord bless you and yours as you allow God conitnue to lead you fearlessly on the path to peace and happiness–some times in fits and starts and some times slowly but surely.

  5. Jen G. says:

    Thank you Jessawhy…that meant the world to me. So beautiful, exactly how I feel right now. I can’t help but get emotional. Thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you…..
    Jen G.

  6. mraynes says:

    D’Arcy, this was beautiful. I have a sister who is going through something similar and I hope that she can find the peace that you have.

  7. Joe says:

    I find myself in the same place. Much like you, I’m finding that I can’t hold things together anymore and just go through the motions. D’Arcy, so how did you manage to retain a belief in God and not move towards the agnositc side of the spectrum?

  8. FHL says:

    Very nice blog. I wish you well in your journey.

    I saw a comment elsewhere that really resonated with me in my own struggles, and seems to mirror your own thoughts. It was something like “I’m a pretty crappy Mormon; I hope I can be a decent Christian.”

  9. Alisa says:

    D’Arcy, I admire your sincere self-examination. Thank you for sharing your bravery with us.

  10. elaine says:

    A cliche that has been ramming itself into my own thoughts is, “sometimes you have to destroy something first in order to build something new in its place”. Maybe out of the million pieces, only a few crucial ones were out of place, who knows…but whatever the case, kudos for having the integrity to acknowledge, then start over.

  11. KiriClose says:

    with u all the way!

  12. Lindsay says:

    Wow. I’ve been going through something similar for five years now. I feel the same way, confidence in myself, wonderment at this path I’m on though the apologies and excuses I feel so compelled to offer well-meaning friends are wearing me thin. Explaining myself to others is an untimely distraction from the work and energy I need to commit to myself.

    Thank you for this post. I would love to hear more of the work you’re doing. This position doesn’t come with a tidy handbook.

  13. amyb says:

    D’arcy, this is beautiful. I’ve been in the exact same place. For me, trying to fit the mold and hide how I felt was crushing my soul, and when I decided to be open with my family and friends about the place I had come to, a huge weight was lifted. I wish you peace on your journey.

  14. Deborah says:

    A poem for you (via e e cummings)

    i thank You God for most this amazing
    day:for the leaping greenly spirits of trees
    and a blue true dream of sky;and for everything
    which is natural which is infinite which is yes

    (i who have died am alive again today,
    and this is the sun’s birthday;this is the birth
    day of life and love and wings:and of the gay
    great happening illimitably earth)

    how should tasting touching hearing seeing
    breathing any-lifted from the no
    of all nothing-human merely being
    doubt unimaginably You?

    (now the ears of my ears awake and
    now the eyes of my eyes are opened)

  15. EmilyCC says:

    Thank you for sharing this, D’Arcy. So much of the time, I think the people who stay with the Church think that the people who left must be miserable and sad. I’m so happy to see that you’re finding peace and a God who gives you that.

  16. D'Arcy says:

    Sarah, thank you so much for the well wishes. I just got back into town and saw that my post was here! I wish you luck in your journey.

  17. D'Arcy says:

    Caroline, thank you.

    I’ve had that idea of progression ingrained in me. It will always be a part of me and I am thankful for it. But the stress to constantly figure out who you are, what you believe, and defend it gets tiresome. I’ve realized it’s ok to take a break too.

  18. D'Arcy says:

    Mel S. This has been a hard, hard struggle for me. I have so many friends who have expressed concern, disbelief, disappointment, and sorrow at my current life choices. I tried to appease them for so long and then i thought, Why? How much do I really need someone in my life that is constantly not having faith in my own ability to make decisions. Does that make sense? I mean, I don’t go and tell then that I think they are crazy to follow such and such a doctrine because I never thought it was my place to tell others how to live their lives. So now, even though I have fewer friends and fewer conversations and fewer people to spend a Friday night with, I still feel better about myself as a person.

  19. D'Arcy says:

    Joe, no matter how the church has scared me, and yes, it has left wounds, no matter how the people have treated me, no matter how many times I am judged…I have tried to realize that this is not the God I believe in. I don’t believe in a God who would send an honest seeker of truth to hell for not following “the straight and narrow” as defined by the church. I have had to really redefine God, because from the first decisions to make a break with the church, I started to feel anger towards God. I started to wonder where ten years of solid faith and prayers and trying and teaching and temple attending and church going had gotten me…to a very unhappy place. So, once I could start to see what kind of a God I believed in, it made it easier….but this has been a journey to say the least.

  20. D'Arcy says:

    Thank you to everyone else, for the poem, the well wishes and the blessing. I give them each in return to you.

  21. Vian says:

    One of the most meaningfull things I have read in a long time.


  22. Kate says:

    what happens when this happens to one spouse and not the other? I heard a girl (young married) say she’d rather her husband die than have leave the church, which shocks me to the core…

  23. D'Arcy says:

    Kate, I think that is the hardest question of all. Especially getting married in the temple. I think it happens more than we realize. But, many spouses choose to stay the course for the other’s sake instead of being able to really explore their truth.

    I guess just make sure you don’t marry someone who says something like that, first of all! Goodness. But, this is it, this is life. This is how we grow. This is how we see the tests of God and get through them. She surely wouldn’t rather death, not if her eyes and heart can be opened to the human condition and the struggle we each face, individually.

    Truth is an individual thing, you can’t make someone else believe your truth.

    The question comes, do you trust the people you love enough to trust them to make their own life decisions? If not, then reevaluate just what that relationship is based on.

  24. Tacy says:

    i know this is from august, and im a month late, but i long to weigh in, so i shall.

    some mormon doctrine, but more mormon culture supports a concept generally annoys me, but suits my purposes here, so away we go. the concept basically says in the last days before the coming of Christ, the strongest spirits will be sent to the earth to fight Gods battle, and they will overcome.

    i cant definitively agree or disagree with this notion, i can only suspect that if it is a fact that the strongest most valiant most tenacious people are here today, certainly those going through a “million shatter pieces” experience are them.

    losing friends, family, support structure, internal values, and orientation of which side is up from down is not something for the weak of mind or spirit.

    among the comments and authors of this blog are some of the bravest strongest most challenging conclusions an individual can come to, and bravo to the strength and beauty of these people.

    you inspire me with your affinity for and dedication to truth and light. i am happy to find i am not the only one standing naked of my prefabricated beliefs lit only “by a million little pieces [of glass]that are casting glorious rainbows of light over my entire being”

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