Today while I was at work (the local frozen yogurt shop), I got my usual cup of espresso frozen yogurt. I have always loved the smell (and now taste) of coffee.
A coworker of mine likes to give me a hard time about that because he knows I'm Mormon, and he knows we aren't supposed to drink coffee. Most friends of mine know that I generally don't drink coffee, but that it's not a big deal to me. For me, there can be exceptions– and unfortunately, it's just become insignificant when compared with any decision of morality I must make on a daily basis.
I have been raised in a family that values the "why" over the "how." On occasion my parents have let me watch rated-R movies because they know that plenty of R movies can actually be quality movies, and plenty of PG-13 ones are trash. In fact, several weeks ago my dad took me to see The Revenant (R), and it was undoubtedly one of our all-time favorites. Yet my dad and I are still "believing" Mormons, devout Christians.
I pay tithing, I attend church every Sunday, I often bear my testimony, and I hope to leave for a mission later this year. But my Seminary attendance is suffering, I'm not sure I see homosexual relationships as an inherent sin, and every now and then I have coffee. Some would condemn this way of thinking; some, with stones ready in hand, would tell me these are mistakes more grievous than their own. And sometimes I believe them, but then I remember love.
I know love is the center of it all. If I serve often, if I'm consistently a loyal friend, if I keep my stones to myself instead of casting them at other people– isn't that a lifestyle infinitely more desirable than one centered on things like coffee abstinence? If I live this lifestyle of love, wouldn't that be better than to live the lifestyle of a religious robot– albeit one who can effortlessly identify the moral wrongness of same-sex actions?
I would hope so. Time and time again my belief in this is strengthened, but I still often doubt myself.
Clearly, coffee has come to mean more to me than just that rich flavor I crave. Now, it encompasses the wide range of changes that have been made within me over the past year to two years. Prior to this rollercoaster of piety and sin, I loved the smell of coffee but my automatic response was "Word of Wisdom!" It just was never a desire for me to break that; nor was it a desire for me to pursue a homosexual relationship. Back then, I had no craving, no aching, for what is unaccepted. Now I have that in many more ways than one. I often prove weak enough to let the craving body or aching heart take control, and I am afraid of what that mean in my future.
But the past couple years have not been full of falling... Somehow I have also risen to new heights of spiritual awareness. I have grown to greater appreciate my place in the church, while still recognizing its frequent cultural separation from the core of the gospel. Because although the Word of Wisdom and the Proclamation to the Family and Joseph Smith and missions are all vital aspects of God's plan, they are not and never will be the core. Through homosexuality, coffee, and compromises, I have felt firsthand that Christ is the only core. I have seen that His love is everything.
So thank you, coffee and homosexuality, for cursing me with conflicts I never anticipated.
And thank you, coffee and homosexuality, for blessing me with new eyes I always needed.