Tuesday, August 12, 2008


I often read, and sometimes comment, on other blogs. In one recent discussion I expressed my troubles with attending church meetings due to MCS and the loss I felt. Another person commented that perhaps I was expecting church meetings (and the people at church) to fulfill too many of my needs. Perhaps my expectations were setting me up for disappointment.

I have thought about this over the past couple of weeks and have come to the conclusion that, indeed, I have expected way too much of my church community.

Before we moved to Montana, I was very involved in volunteer activities at the schools and in the community at large. I also worked part time at a retail book store and had many friends and acquaintances outside of the church setting. I went to church on Sunday and felt that my physical and spiritual needs were met, but I didn't rely on the church community to fulfill all of my needs, particularly my social and intellectual needs.

When we moved here seven years ago, our children were all adults and we worked out of our home, so I really had no place but church to meet and interact with other people. At first, as I was making new friends, this was quite sufficient. But, as time went on, I felt starved for a stirring literary discussion or someone with whom to share my political views. When I couldn't get these needs fulfilled at church, I became frustrated. Then, on top of that, I started having serious problems with chemical sensitivities at church. When people weren't willing to change their habits to accommodate my needs, I felt rejected and unloved.

The truth is not that people don't care, but that they don't really know how to meet my needs, and they can't possibly meet all my expectations. Truly, my expectations were just too great for the available resources.

This past Sunday, I was able to go to church in one of the other buildings in our area. I went expecting nothing, except to enjoy being with some of my family. There were no great stimulating conversations, and I couldn't tell you what the talks were about (I was holding a one-year-old on my lap through the service). I didn't make any new friends or have any great new spiritual experiences. However, I did enjoy being around other people and it felt good to do something on Sunday other than sit at home and read a book (my usual Sabbath activity). It isn't easy to lower one's expectations, but it does result in less frustration and anger.


Becca said...

Sadly, I think you're probably right. You can't expect too much from one social environment, although it would be really nice if you could! It's like somehow you need to widen your social arena, although I imagine that's hard to do in Helena and given your MCS. I'm sure you've thought of this, but is there anywhere you can volunteer, like in the schools or the library or would it be too difficult?

celia said...

this is sounding very familiar, for what it's worth--

I'm not sure that's helpful!!!


I think that . . .

it almost becomes a situation of post traumatic stress disorder.

I have TS (tourette syndrome)--

people with TS have a VERY high incident of MCS--

people with MCS have a VERY high incident of fibromyalgia (which I appear to have also--sounding like a walking medical dictionary here or an acute hypochrondriac--I know people who have been diagnosed with FM whose symptoms are less severe than mine, but I don't talk about it as much, so I have a pretty good chance of being accurate; we have lived without insurance since our big downsize in 2001, and my symptoms have gotten worse without the benefit of medical assistance)--

anyway . . .

people with fibromyalgia are VERY at risk for PTSD--and other anxiety disorders--

this all from a medical book which I think is really highly rated--

can't remember the exact title right now, and the computer is on the second floor--the book is on the first floor, and I'm 56--


anyway, be that as it may, it becomes difficult to want to TRY new things when you've had so many trying experiences, especially as you age.

You learn as you get older what results you can get from specific actions, and you either disregard or you . . . act accordingly.

I realize that doesn't leave much room for serendipity or miracles, but . . .

I like being healthy--

I have come to expect a lot from my family, and I'm grateful to have two daughters still at home and a husband who spends quite a bit of time with me when he's not working--

and a garden . . .

and a dog--

I am reading and appreciating; this is all VERY real to me.

I know people who feel socially isolated who do NOT have MCS or other chronic/invisible illnesses, so . . . though it may be helpful to have someone say "you're expecting too much", if they do NOT have those problems, they really can't understand.

Though we, as LDS, seek for and desire and usually have powerful spiritual connections with Deity--

sometimes we need "people"--

and our organizations ARE set up to be a social support system--

when it doesn't work for a particular reason, it's not unreasonable to be disappointed.

*I* believe we need to be careful not to react in such a way that we throw the baby out with the bath, such as "I'm lonely at church, so Father in Heaven doesn't accept me anymore either"--

That would be silly, of course, but it still HURTS to be alone--

if ours were not a social organization to some extent, what would be the point?

The challenge is for those of us who experience this to let it help us attain a higher degree of spiritual refinement and become more sensitive to others who, for one reason or another, feel excluded--

Anyway, I've tried doing that--

for what it is worth, and I hope I'm making sense--

*I* think that my children are more sensitive people (and surely my husband) because they've had to deal with me--

I know my daughter in law is certainly a gem; she makes my son wear natural stuff when I am in their home, and I felt so wonderfully safe there; she is just SO incredible--

When I feel alone at church I think of my daughter in law and how she pulls out the Burt's baby shampoo when I am there--or how she DID; this time when I visited she made no fuss about telling me that she has decided her babies aren't having "regular" stuff anymore--

bless her!!!

Thanks for letting me be grateful while acknowledging the difficulties--


c. (the middle letter in MCS)

celia said...

that's "incidence"--



celia said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
celia said...

yes, grandchildren are a wonderful compensation for those of us who often feel excluded--

they don't require perfume, deoderant, etc.

They don't mind it when grandma shampoos their little bald heads with natural stuff . . .

grandbabies ARE a blessing!!!

without any reservation--

celia said...

Catherine, I hope I didn't mess things up (I've been WAY too gabby on this entry); I tried to delete a comment with typos--

hope it all makes sense--