I’m popping on here to say that this post says nothing interesting about the coronavirus pandemic, nor social isolation, nor the weirdness of life right now. Feel free to go read literally any other source anywhere if you prefer! I know it’s happening to all of us and it’s big and pervasive and bizarre.
Anyway, I did a thing.
I listen to podcasts when I do my workout, drive, and fold laundry. At least that’s when I listened when life was normal. Now I listen all the time, anywhere, because life is strange right now. One of my favorite podcasts is Listen, Learn, & Love by Richard Ostler. He began the podcast after being a YSA bishop who felt called to better understand LGBTQ people in his ward and elsewhere. He interviews lots of LGBTQ guests in the service of seeking understanding and improving our ability to love and serve people whose life experiences may be markedly different than our own.
But he also addresses a number of other topics relating to better knowing people in their unique life situations, especially as these factors relate to being members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The central goal of these interviews is to humanize people and amplify their voices so we can better know them and help them feel seen and loved.
Since last summer, every time I’ve listened to Richard and his guests, I’ve had this little voice telling me, “do it.” Like, to reach out and be on the podcast, which I consistently ignored, because people, I did not want to do it.
And then, I went through months of building anxiety (and some depression) relating to the parenting of a certain kid, during which time, I definitely wasn’t in the right head space to talk about anything with anyone. My last post outlined the process I undertook to heal, and you guys, it worked. When the pandemic hit, I literally was like, “Meh. It will be okay.” And not in a “I’m fine because I will be okay” kind of way. I know it may be really bad. Life may never really be the same again thanks to Covid-19, but I am consumed with peace. Anxiety = Gone. I am kind of floating along in the assurance that Jesus remains our Savior, and our Heavenly Parents have never left us. They won’t. It isn’t in their nature.
The final piece of my healing puzzle came in the form of an answer I got in the temple last month. I was pondering how I could move on from the anxiety and turmoil, when I clearly heard this: If you want to move forward, you must first act on what has already been given to you. And I knew we were both thinking about the same uncomfortable podcasty thing.
So I did the next right thing and messaged Richard Ostler on Twitter. He graciously invited me on the podcast, and we recorded it shortly thereafter.
As soon as I scheduled the interview with him, my anxiety about kids and life and spirituality left. I’d been in the healing process for months, with some improvement at times, but also with an inevitable return to that default anxiousness.
Well I am here to say that doing what the Spirit told me to do brought completeness to my healing.
Mind you, I still go to therapy, and anxiety meds are a ubiquitous part of life in my house. I am in no way saying that prayers and temple visits cure our emotional health. Best-practice emotional health treatments worked in tandem with my devotional/spiritual methods to ultimately form my solution.
It’s a long episode–a thorough discussion, and Richard is his typical amazingly generous and kind self. Feel free to take a gander.