This morning, as I was talking to a friend I had a deep realization, the buddy system works. The Buddy System, something many of us were taught as children to keep us safe from would be kidnappers, in adulthood has much broader uses.
In fitness having a work out buddy can make you much more committed to working out on a regular basis. In weight training or gymnastics, having someone to spot you can help you not to injure yourself. As I found out this morning, the buddy system can also help encourage you to make important doctors appointments that you’ve been putting off out of fear and deep loathing of going to the doctor.
In my life as a member of the LDS church, the buddy system played an integral part to many key moments of my life. Mission companions, roommates, visiting and home teachers all play a key role in physical, spiritual, and emotional well being.
As an L/B/Q (sometimes its just so hard to pick a letter of that LGBT alphabet) member of the church, it was vital to my staying alive to have support and friends. Though organizations like Affirmation and North Star both played key support rolls in my life at varying times, the most important thing I gained from either one was a buddy to talk to on the days that were particularly hard or low times. The buddy system can defenatly help a person stay alive, and give them the courage to seek medical and mental help when needed.
As a now former member of the LDS church, one of the hardest parts of transitioning away from the church has been the loss of a pre-structured, often times mandated, support system. No one has to check in on me now. No one is going to get a phone call saying,’hey did you check on sister McAwesome this month?’ I’m not going to get a phone call either, which was an opportunity to say ‘Hey, I didn’t get a visit this month but I need help.’
I spoke with another friend this week who had similar feelings. He also is in the process of leaving the church. The policy was it for both of us. But as we talked, and shared the many emotions we are feeling in taking this step, the dificulties, the joys, the balancing acts that we are facing in this process, once again having someone to talk to was very helpful.
A new discovered element of this buddy system, this completely voluntary, true friendship was that we both had a common goal, a very tricky goal. To leave the church and express our anger and our hurt in emotionally healthy and helpful ways without crossing over into the bitter and hateful side of that. Alone, that is very difficult to maintain. So many emotions, and changes in ones life at one time can easily throw ones equilibrium, but with a buddy, going through the same thing, with the same goal and purpose we can check each other, and help each other to do just that.
Post policy Mormondom has a great many of us who are not the stereotypical former LDS. Trying to find a balanced approach to our morals, to our friendships and society can be a very real challenge. There are a lot of helps a long the way, Facebook groups, book clubs, and organizations.
One of the most important things I have found is a buddy, with common goals in their approach to this stage of life, Who is willing to be honest with you and keep you in check. Who is also someone you are willing to be honest and accountable to for your own moral, emotional,and spiritual journey.
The buddy system is something to remember in all stages and walks of your life. In the church or out of the church it can help keep you safe, healthy, and motivated in life’s journey.
We all need somebody to lean on!