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The losses are piling up…


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Other than my own Father, the man I lost this time is a close second. In fact since the death of my Father in 2006, he is the man I turned to for advice and counsel. He lead a long and wonderful life, but sadly had to bury his youngest child just a few months ago. This loss is going to be difficult to bare. Also each of his remaining five children, although cousins, are my best friends in life. 
 

This past year, I have lost so many friends and family. Many were 40+ year friends in the Church, leaving me no friends to meet and greet on Sunday. I find myself surrounded by a much younger group, whom I barley know each week, due to these losses. I find that Church is no longer the center of my social life, religious life, or much else. More and more, when we attend Church, our children and grandchildren are the only interaction we have. Therefore, it is becoming very easy to fly under the radar, or to not attend Church at all. Other than my home teacher, it has become common place for me to have no interaction at all. For decades the Church needed all I could give, when we joined the Church was small and lacking in membership, here in my part of the world. Now it flourishes and thrives without me, and now what I have to give is no longer wanted or needed. Now I need the Church, it no longer needs me. 
 

It seems as of late, I have begun to measure my life by my losses, and not my gains. I could so easily slip away, and no one would ever notice. So today, I measure a great loss, a great void of losing a parent-like Father figure. This loss will bring me back home to a Church where I grew up, where my parents are buried, where my Father was ordained and preached, and where I preached. A place that knows how long I have been gone, and is always excited to see me again. These many funerals as of late, are always a big homecoming, even if only for a day, a pulpit at which I have spoken in a few funerals. It is often an odd and wonderful reconnection to my deep roots. 
 

However, I am no longer a member there, but always a warm welcome. I find myself lost and adrift, with no one to cast me a lifeline. I find that I could so easily disappear, leaving almost no one to know or care. 
 

In short, it is a time in my life where the person with whom I would usually seek advice, is no longer here. Again, the losses are piling up! 
 

 

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2 hours ago, Bill “Papa” Lee said:

.................. This loss will bring me back home to a Church where I grew up, where my parents are buried, where my Father was ordained and preached, and where I preached. A place that knows how long I have been gone, and is always excited to see me again. These many funerals as of late, are always a big homecoming, even if only for a day, a pulpit at which I have spoken in a few funerals. It is often an odd and wonderful reconnection to my deep roots. 

However, I am no longer a member there, but always a warm welcome. I find myself lost and adrift, with no one to cast me a lifeline. I find that I could so easily disappear, leaving almost no one to know or care. ..................

An interesting and strange juxtaposition:  You are no longer a member of the church where you grew up, and you feel alien in the church which you are a member of now.  In such an instance, why not simply attend where you feel most comfortable, and ignore the usual geographical boundaries?  You certainly have a personal justification.  We already have special types of wards and branches which overlap the usual boundaries for age, ethnic, or linguistic reasons -- which naturally provide greater comfort to the associated members of YSA, Samoan, or Chinese wards/branches in large metropolitan areas.  If anyone asks, simply say that you feel most at home there, and that you feel like a stranger in your "assigned" ward.  They will understand.

And, by the way, don't worry too much about the interim.  We are both at an age when it won't be too long before we will both be having a real homecoming, where all those whom we have known so well will greet us with tremendous pleasure and love, and in which all our cares will soon be forgotten.

Edited by Robert F. Smith
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3 hours ago, Bill “Papa” Lee said:

Other than my own Father, the man I lost this time is a close second. In fact since the death of my Father in 2006, he is the man I turned to for advice and counsel. He lead a long and wonderful life, but sadly had to bury his youngest child just a few months ago. This loss is going to be difficult to bare. Also each of his remaining five children, although cousins, are my best friends in life. 
 

This past year, I have lost so many friends and family. Many were 40+ year friends in the Church, leaving me no friends to meet and greet on Sunday. I find myself surrounded by a much younger group, whom I barley know each week, due to these losses. I find that Church is no longer the center of my social life, religious life, or much else. More and more, when we attend Church, our children and grandchildren are the only interaction we have. Therefore, it is becoming very easy to fly under the radar, or to not attend Church at all. Other than my home teacher, it has become common place for me to have no interaction at all. For decades the Church needed all I could give, when we joined the Church was small and lacking in membership, here in my part of the world. Now it flourishes and thrives without me, and now what I have to give is no longer wanted or needed. Now I need the Church, it no longer needs me. 
 

It seems as of late, I have begun to measure my life by my losses, and not my gains. I could so easily slip away, and no one would ever notice. So today, I measure a great loss, a great void of losing a parent-like Father figure. This loss will bring me back home to a Church where I grew up, where my parents are buried, where my Father was ordained and preached, and where I preached. A place that knows how long I have been gone, and is always excited to see me again. These many funerals as of late, are always a big homecoming, even if only for a day, a pulpit at which I have spoken in a few funerals. It is often an odd and wonderful reconnection to my deep roots. 
 

However, I am no longer a member there, but always a warm welcome. I find myself lost and adrift, with no one to cast me a lifeline. I find that I could so easily disappear, leaving almost no one to know or care. 
 

In short, it is a time in my life where the person with whom I would usually seek advice, is no longer here. Again, the losses are piling up! 
 

 

I'm sorry for your painful loss and losses. 💔

But just wanted you to remember the movie "It's a Wonderful Life". And say that I think when our children grow up and we were busy in our callings etc. we had more interactions with others, such as our children's parents, the callings and the friendships it brings. People get older and more to themselves, and I truly think, we are all in the same boat basically. IOW's you're not alone feeling like no one would miss you if you were gone, but you know what, they would and especially your family. Hugs and thoughts go out to you!

BTW, a couple of days ago my nieces ex-husband was shot while coming out of his house, a random shooting by an 18 year old, that they caught. Now that leaves his two daughters, parents and siblings, friends, etc. w/o him in their lives. All the could haves are non existent now.

Life is so short, I guess we take each day at a time. 

 

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1 hour ago, Robert F. Smith said:

An interesting and strange juxtaposition:  You are no longer a member of the church where you grew up, and you feel alien in the church which you are a member of now.  In such an instance, why not simply attend where you feel most comfortable, and ignore the usual geographical boundaries?  You certainly have a personal justification.  We already have special types of wards and branches which overlap the usual boundaries for age, ethnic, or linguistic reasons -- which naturally provide greater comfort to the associated members of YSA, Samoan, or Chinese wards/branches in large metropolitan areas.  If anyone asks, simply say that you feel most at home there, and that you feel like a stranger in your "assigned" ward.  They will understand.

And, by the way, don't worry too much about the interim.  We are both at an age when it won't be too long before we will both be having a real homecoming, where all those whom we have known so well will greet us with tremendous pleasure and love, and in which all our cares will soon be forgotten.

I think Bill means his former faith as he is a convert iirc. 

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9 hours ago, Bill “Papa” Lee said:

Other than my own Father, the man I lost this time is a close second. In fact since the death of my Father in 2006, he is the man I turned to for advice and counsel. He lead a long and wonderful life, but sadly had to bury his youngest child just a few months ago. This loss is going to be difficult to bare. Also each of his remaining five children, although cousins, are my best friends in life...

Hi Bill, I am sorry for your losses and your pain.

I have no idea whether music is something that speaks to you, but just in case it is...

 

 

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On 11/7/2021 at 5:31 PM, Tacenda said:

I'm sorry for your painful loss and losses. 💔

But just wanted you to remember the movie "It's a Wonderful Life". And say that I think when our children grow up and we were busy in our callings etc. we had more interactions with others, such as our children's parents, the callings and the friendships it brings. People get older and more to themselves, and I truly think, we are all in the same boat basically. IOW's you're not alone feeling like no one would miss you if you were gone, but you know what, they would and especially your family. Hugs and thoughts go out to you!

BTW, a couple of days ago my nieces ex-husband was shot while coming out of his house, a random shooting by an 18 year old, that they caught. Now that leaves his two daughters, parents and siblings, friends, etc. w/o him in their lives. All the could haves are non existent now.

Life is so short, I guess we take each day at a time. 

 

Thank you fr your concern, and I am so sorry for this tragic shooting. 

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1 hour ago, Bill “Papa” Lee said:

Love this version of this song. 

Me too.  I am kind of tired of the typical version of either sone, but this combo has a down to earth sweetness to it.  Great pairing.  Guy has a great voice for it.

Hadn’t realized it was that old:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Somewhere_Over_the_Rainbow/What_a_Wonderful_World

Edited by Calm
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31 minutes ago, Calm said:

Bill is a poet.  :)

It was a very moving service today, much sorrow, but fen more joy, of a life well life fed. My uncle would have been 92, had he lived 14 more days. He was a giant of a man, and a gentle soul. As the funeral went on, I wrote a poem about my Father, my Uncle J.O., whom we buried today. This gentle giant, inspired much so of this poem. 

The poem needs polishing, so once it is done, maybe I will share it. As I said before, after the passing of my Father, my Uncle J.O., was the man I turned too, for Godly advice. Today was a warm welcoming back home to the Church of my youth. To quote a line from the movie, Field of Dreams”…”the memories were so thick, I had to rush them away from my face, with my hand”, It was a day filled with song an sermon, that took me back to a wonderful childhood, while surrounded by so many who know and love me. In short, I needed this, very, very much. You would never know by their reactions, that I attended a different Church, there was just love, and requests like, “Ya’ll come back again”. Also, these we not just polite conversation, it was genuine inquiries, and invitations, buy those who have known and loved me, all of my life. 
 

I may be the member of another Faith now, a Latter-day Saint, but today all that did not matter to my friends and family, it was a return home. Even if only for a few hours, but with so many requests that I return. 
 

BTW, something I sad earlier, that few if any would miss me (speaking of my Ward), I did not mean family, as there are many in my family, and by marriage, extended family, our Ward would eventually miss me. Between my immediate family, and extended family, we comprise about 15-20% of membership in my Ward. However when I spoke of how I could easily disappear, or (if you will) “bimetallic invisible”, I was not being melodramatic, “I am already invisible”, and again, due to illness and injury, I can no longer give my body, which is needed for so much time, at least in the early days of the Church in this region. Now, the only thing I can still give, is my mind, my voice, my ability to teach, but this is both, “unwanted, and unwelcome”.
 

About 18 months ago, a member of Bishopric called me into a meeting, and “encouraged me, and discouraged me”, me from teaching in Priesthood. In fact the Sunday before this, while teaching in the Chapel. My EQP came in one door, and this member of the Board Bishopric, came in the, and then both left. The following Sunday, the above mentioned member of the Bishopric, called me into a room, and the interview went like this…

Bishopric member, Brother Lee: “You are aware that you are the Secretary of Sunday School”

Me: “Yes I am, Bother X”

Bishopric member, Brother Lee: “uh, we think you should focus your energy there, by doing so you will not have time to be the teacher in Priesthood”

Me: “But, Brother X, I am not the Priesthood teacher, I only volunteer a few times a year, in fact only volunteered about 3 times, in 8 months. Also I wait for a while, if no one does, only then do I volunteer”.

Bishopric member: “I see, but I think if you just focus on your calling, you will find it impossible! 
 

Me: “Brother X, my calling does not require me to teach, EVER. Also, since Priesthood and Sunday School are now staggered, there is never a conflict, EVER” 

Bishopric member: (As he grows inpatient) “Look, Brother”, we don’t wish you to teach anymore, if the EQP asked for volunteers, please don’t do so”!

Me: “So, in short, you are asking me to no longer teach?” 
 

Bishopric member: Yes, unless so difficult circumstances arise, if we need you, we will tell you”! 
 

A week later this Bishopric member was released, because he was moving away. About 6-8 months later, I was talking to the Bishop, and he asked if there was something wrong? (Not knowing my wife had told him in a Temple Recommend interview, some but not all) “I then relayed the meeting, he almost crying said, Oh Bill No! Why would he do such a thing”. My reply was shot, “I don’t know, but it cut a deep hole in my soul”. 
 

I miss my friends!!! 

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1 hour ago, Bill “Papa” Lee said:

A week later this Bishopric member was released, because he was moving away. About 6-8 months later, I was talking to the Bishop, and he asked if there was something wrong? (Not knowing my wife had told him in a Temple Recommend interview, some but not all) “I then relayed the meeting, he almost crying said, Oh Bill No! Why would he do such a thing”. My reply was shot, “I don’t know, but it cut a deep hole in my soul”. 

That would be hard and shocking to experience, but from your bishop’s reaction it would appear it was one person who was unwelcoming, and not the most important one in the ward.  When troubled by this, focus on the Bishop’s reaction.  The other guy is gone now, taking his issues with him.

Edited by Calm
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On 11/8/2021 at 9:56 PM, Bill “Papa” Lee said:

It was a very moving service today, much sorrow, but fen more joy, of a life well life fed. My uncle would have been 92, had he lived 14 more days. He was a giant of a man, and a gentle soul. As the funeral went on, I wrote a poem about my Father, my Uncle J.O., whom we buried today. This gentle giant, inspired much so of this poem. 

The poem needs polishing, so once it is done, maybe I will share it. As I said before, after the passing of my Father, my Uncle J.O., was the man I turned too, for Godly advice. Today was a warm welcoming back home to the Church of my youth. To quote a line from the movie, Field of Dreams”…”the memories were so thick, I had to rush them away from my face, with my hand”, It was a day filled with song an sermon, that took me back to a wonderful childhood, while surrounded by so many who know and love me. In short, I needed this, very, very much. You would never know by their reactions, that I attended a different Church, there was just love, and requests like, “Ya’ll come back again”. Also, these we not just polite conversation, it was genuine inquiries, and invitations, buy those who have known and loved me, all of my life. 
 

I may be the member of another Faith now, a Latter-day Saint, but today all that did not matter to my friends and family, it was a return home. Even if only for a few hours, but with so many requests that I return. 
 

BTW, something I sad earlier, that few if any would miss me (speaking of my Ward), I did not mean family, as there are many in my family, and by marriage, extended family, our Ward would eventually miss me. Between my immediate family, and extended family, we comprise about 15-20% of membership in my Ward. However when I spoke of how I could easily disappear, or (if you will) “bimetallic invisible”, I was not being melodramatic, “I am already invisible”, and again, due to illness and injury, I can no longer give my body, which is needed for so much time, at least in the early days of the Church in this region. Now, the only thing I can still give, is my mind, my voice, my ability to teach, but this is both, “unwanted, and unwelcome”.
 

About 18 months ago, a member of Bishopric called me into a meeting, and “encouraged me, and discouraged me”, me from teaching in Priesthood. In fact the Sunday before this, while teaching in the Chapel. My EQP came in one door, and this member of the Board Bishopric, came in the, and then both left. The following Sunday, the above mentioned member of the Bishopric, called me into a room, and the interview went like this…

Bishopric member, Brother Lee: “You are aware that you are the Secretary of Sunday School”

Me: “Yes I am, Bother X”

Bishopric member, Brother Lee: “uh, we think you should focus your energy there, by doing so you will not have time to be the teacher in Priesthood”

Me: “But, Brother X, I am not the Priesthood teacher, I only volunteer a few times a year, in fact only volunteered about 3 times, in 8 months. Also I wait for a while, if no one does, only then do I volunteer”.

Bishopric member: “I see, but I think if you just focus on your calling, you will find it impossible! 
 

Me: “Brother X, my calling does not require me to teach, EVER. Also, since Priesthood and Sunday School are now staggered, there is never a conflict, EVER” 

Bishopric member: (As he grows inpatient) “Look, Brother”, we don’t wish you to teach anymore, if the EQP asked for volunteers, please don’t do so”!

Me: “So, in short, you are asking me to no longer teach?” 
 

Bishopric member: Yes, unless so difficult circumstances arise, if we need you, we will tell you”! 
 

A week later this Bishopric member was released, because he was moving away. About 6-8 months later, I was talking to the Bishop, and he asked if there was something wrong? (Not knowing my wife had told him in a Temple Recommend interview, some but not all) “I then relayed the meeting, he almost crying said, Oh Bill No! Why would he do such a thing”. My reply was shot, “I don’t know, but it cut a deep hole in my soul”. 
 

I miss my friends!!! 

That is very sad. So sorry that happened to you. 

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On 11/9/2021 at 1:09 AM, Calm said:

That would be hard and shocking to experience, but from your bishop’s reaction it would appear it was one person who was unwelcoming, and not the most important one in the ward.  When troubled by this, focus on the Bishop’s reaction.  The other guy is gone now, taking his issues with him.

It was hard, and he (the one who did this) has moved back to our Ward. But, I matter little to in the bigger picture. It is sad that my wife is hurt for me, and it has lead to us to scarcely attending Church more than 3-4 times in the last six months to a year, if not longer. In fact our attendance has only been because family have been speaking. It is odd, this symbiotic relationship we have with the Church, as I have said before. Decades ago, there were so few members here in Georgia, the Church needed my back for service projects, my mind for many things, and my may voice for teaching, and performing various callings. Now, those few things I can still give, are no longer wanted, or needed. Now I need the Church, but it is no longer the Church I remember. No longer warm, welcoming, intuitive to one’s needs, and always loving. There seems to be no place for dinosaurs such as myself. Who knows where this road I am on, will ultimately lead. Oddly enough, the Church and Faith, I know longer believe in, received me so warmly, hugged me so tightly (at the funeral, did not care where I had been, nor how long I was gone. They only cared that I was was there, but that I was back! It was a sad day due to the funeral, but a wonderful day of feeling, both loved and welcome. 

 

 

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