At times, my cynicism has been a guest that overstays its welcome. For the past few years, my spiritual life has been examined through two lenses: one magnifies the magnificent and leaves me speechlessly in love with my children, my husband, the forests, the ocean, the people in my ward who speak and do with sincerity and patience, my students, my neighbors, the belief that I can do good and important things using the gospel of Jesus Christ as my compass. The other lens, which has been equally useful and vital in my adult spiritual upbringing, is a lens of serious questioning, pulling apart, recontextualizing, opening doors to sometimes find anger, resentment, confusion, or hurt standing guard over my spirituality.
I am most at peace when I look through both of these lenses simultaneously to examine my spiritual life. It is and will continue to be difficult to reconcile the fact that my spiritual life will likely never again be the simple magic of certainty that I was lucky enough to experience for a long season in my younger years. At the same time, I am not equipped to move forward carrying solely the questions, however bravely I shoulder them. Pretending the questions are not a part of my spiritual life clouds my vision.
The questions are important, but they are not everything. Hurt, anger, and resentment are real and not created of demons, but of a human heart—the same heart that longs for hope and belief, and on many occasions has been met with their miraculous delivery. Looking through both the lens of hope and the lens of questioning requires active examination of my experiences. Looking through both lenses requires me not simply to see, but to ask why and how and to be humbled and grateful when I find the answer is always “because We love you.”