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Starting to just barely hang on

Posted: 13 Oct 2013, 19:16
by Thoreau
I keep trying but I seem to be going the opposite direction.

If I'm at church I attend priesthood and stay for the entire lesson no matter how painful. Today I didn't even make it to opening exercises and I left.

I've been in this ward almost two years and I still don't feel like a part of it. I live in Idaho Falls and I think most of the members of the ward are long time members in this ward. I went to a social a couple of months ago and while it was winding down I stayed awhile trying to be sociable. The two guys that were also there carried on a conversation about people I didn't know (it wasn't gossip) and totally left me out. Today while waiting for PH to start I was sitting by myself, my usual state of affairs. Two guys in front of me we talking about going hunting this week. Just hearing about it triggered my depression. I left my dream property to move to Idaho and hunting season is coming up there.

I have no friends here and I feel like I don't belong. It's getting harder and harder. I keep telling myself it's the people not the church but it doesn't make it any easier. I'm an introvert and it's hard to break in or invite myself in.

Also today, in my daughter's ward. My daughter is/was the ward chorister. A few months ago she got a tattoo on her calf. She has been wearing skirts or dresses that covered it. Today she didn't. One of the bishopric called her in and asked how long she had been the chorister then told her she was being released. Coincidence? Maybe.

I've been seeing a VA therapist for over a year for minor depression. She is not LDS but grew up here in Idaho. I asked her about patients of hers and conflict with the church. She told me a lot of her patients have conflict for many reasons.


Thanks for listening. Please excuse any typos.

Re: Starting to just barely hang on

Posted: 13 Oct 2013, 20:53
by Dax
Sorry! It is very hard to be an introvert period but can seem impossible at church. Perhaps looking for a social circle outside of church. That may be hard in idaho falls but may be your best option. Good luck! Hope tomorrow is better for you!

Re: Starting to just barely hang on

Posted: 13 Oct 2013, 21:16
by SilentDawning
I am also an introvert...but I can be extroverted when I have an objective that requires extroversion. But I generally like solitude, thinking, and it takes me a couple hours to process growing experiences after I have them...perhaps you are similar...

My advice is to find new contexts for making friends. One of my phrases that guide my life now is:

"It doesn't have to be about the church all the time".

Here are some suggestions:

1. Go to www.meetup.com and join for free. There are likely a ton of local groups of people that have interests that are common with yours. They put on events that focus on the interest. I've even seen meetup groups for introverts who want to socialize. That group sounds odd, but it exists locally. I'll bet there are hunting groups or groups that have similar interests to yours that you can join. You'll have loads of things in common with people from the first second you meet them.

2. Look for community causes about which you are passionate, and consider "going on a date" with one of them. That means doing a service project or getting involved on a small scale. Feel the culture and whether you belong. If you like it, get more involved. If not, try another one. The ones I've been involved in tend to be far more appreciative of volunteers than the church. They don't have King Benjamin's discourse to quote at you "you are always indebted to God [church] no matter how much you give"...that ideal does not work there.

3. If you are not the kind who reaches out to others, then consider marginalizing your involvement with the church. If you feel marginalized, then marginalize the church and let other things fill the void -- think about what those things might be, but consider choosing things that are spiritual or build character.

4. Go to the site volunteermatch.com (or similar) and join. See what opportunities are available to get the kind of social and "spiritual" experience for which you are looking.

Remember, the world is a lot bigger than the church. Far bigger. Use it to expand your mind and your spirit.

SD

Re: Starting to just barely hang on

Posted: 13 Oct 2013, 21:26
by hawkgrrrl
One of the things they did really well in my Singapore expat ward was treat everyone as welcome no matter how long they were going to be there. People sometimes were there for multi-year assignments, or sometimes just a few weeks or months. People changed callings frequently, and got callings quickly. Others were just visiting, passing through, even coming to church wearing shorts or whatever they had in their luggage. Nobody was treated like they were unwelcome. Now that I'm back in the states, I think there are some problems with the way we do it. It looks to me like those who are long-timers in a geographic area want people to prove themselves before getting callings, and want them to jump through hoops to show how committed they are to staying in the ward. In a lay led clergy, not having a calling makes it a self-fulfilling prophecy that people aren't part of the community. I feel your pain.

Re: Starting to just barely hang on

Posted: 13 Oct 2013, 21:30
by Harmony
I'm sorry you are having such a hard time getting to know people and feeling at home in your ward. Kudos to you for hanging in there and still trying.

Just a suggestion, but if you are feeling left out odds are someone else at church is too. If it isn't too hard for you, maybe try talking to someone else at church who seems alone. There are often many people longing to interact but, unfortunately, church like any other organization can have clicks. You might make someone else's day and help yourself in the process.

I like the other ideas about getting involved in outside organizations. Most people who volunteer tend to be great people. If you are an animal lover volunteering at an animal rescue organization could be very satisfying. And when you get tired of talking with the people the animals will always appreciate the attention.

Re: Starting to just barely hang on

Posted: 13 Oct 2013, 21:47
by Thoreau
Thank you for the responses.

My wife has managed to expand her circle of friends but since my work took me out it's been harder for me. We have both enrolled in a group called Friends for Learning and it dies look promising but things are taking time. Volunteer work is also something I'm looking into.

My wife has been very supportive which I really appreciate.

Re: Starting to just barely hang on

Posted: 14 Oct 2013, 23:06
by Ann
Thoreau wrote:
I've been in this ward almost two years and I still don't feel like a part of it. I live in Idaho Falls and I think most of the members of the ward are long time members in this ward. I went to a social a couple of months ago and while it was winding down I stayed awhile trying to be sociable. The two guys that were also there carried on a conversation about people I didn't know (it wasn't gossip) and totally left me out. Today while waiting for PH to start I was sitting by myself, my usual state of affairs. Two guys in front of me we talking about going hunting this week. Just hearing about it triggered my depression. I left my dream property to move to Idaho and hunting season is coming up there.
Hi, Thoreau - Sorry things are going so slowly. It's hard when you're out on a limb, trying to extend yourself socially, and no one picks up the signal. It can be really deflating. I don't have much advice, just empathizing because I've been there myself. And I've seen my kids in that position. It helps me to remember that I would sometimes fret to pieces over them, but they weathered whatever was happening.

(And, wow, I sure hope your daughter wasn't released for a tattoo.)

Re: Starting to just barely hang on

Posted: 15 Oct 2013, 12:05
by Heber13
If it helps you feel any better, I overheard two guys talking about going fly fishing. Man, that sounded fun to me. I wish I knew someone who could show me how to fly fish or go hunting. Never been in my life but would love it.

But oh well, I just don't know anyone. Maybe hunting isn't in the cards for me.

I do like basketball and volleyball. I went to some of those activities and when people found out what I did like, they include me in on emails and call me when they are getting groups together to play.

Are there things you do like that you can try to get involved in so people know how to include you?

Starting to just barely hang on

Posted: 15 Oct 2013, 12:19
by wayfarer
Thoreau,

I can totally relate. I have a deep, dark corner of my soul where I prefer not to go. There exists there a blackness, a despair that no words can enlighten.

I am there tonight.

Knowing the depth of your thinking, the thoughtfulness of your journey these years we have been dialoguing on these fora...I sense there is something else, something deeply human, that perturbs the waters of the deep. I don't know what it is.

I have no advice, only a listening ear along the Way.

Re: Starting to just barely hang on

Posted: 15 Oct 2013, 20:15
by Thoreau
Being a biologist and wanting more proof than a warm fuzzy doesn't help.

One thing that sometimes helps but not always is what the scriptures say about gifts of the spirit.