And I thought to myself: physically, no. But there are women in this room, or who SHOULD be in this room, whose emotional hurdles are as daunting as 15-mile walk though mud fields with a baby strapped to their backs.
I live with one of those people.
"Mom, I hate everyone at church. It's too bright. Too loud. People talk to me and I have to be polite. I'm expected to respond. I can't stand it. Every Saturday I tell myself I'm going to do it, I'm going to go. And then Sunday comes and I'm physically sick. You know how I always say I'm sick on Sunday mornings? I AM."
It's been four weeks since she's been. Her attendance has been spotty since she was about 11. Her dad is her Sunday School teacher and I said I'd go with her to Young Women, but it's still too much. I've bribed her with privileges, threatened her with punishment. You may recall me saying that I once tried to drag her out from under the bed while she held on for dear life. It's been crazy here--I've said and done things that make me feel like a monster.
"I see these other girls and they just have their lives together. I think to myself, why can't I do that? Why can't I be a better person? And it makes me feel bad."
"Can you take those feelings and do something positive?" I ask,
"If it were that easy of course I would," she says.
I believe her.
She has a good heart. She believes in God. She teaches great Family Home Evening lessons, shares the gospel with her friends. Is that enough? She doesn't go to seminary, won't go to the temple with her youth group, hates Mutual, rejects her nice leaders. I want her to experience all of these things because I know first-hand how beneficial they are. Beneficial for ME. My eyes are being opened to the fact that others find those things painful.
I'm the stake Young Women's president and every rah-rah-rah activity I help plan is something my own daughter can't stomach.
To people who judge her absence: You have no idea what she goes through.
Crowds can be daunting. Nice people can be overwhelming. Spiritual promptings can be uncomfortable. Getting up and getting dressed is sometimes just too hard. But you know what--despite that, sometimes my strong, sweet girl does it anyway.
So do I know people who sacrifice to go to church? Yeah, I do.