Monday, October 29, 2012

My Family Must be Amish

I am a little obsessed with the Amish, for some reason. I haven't always been. This obsession started about 5 years ago. It wasn't until I was watching a show about these Amish kids that were leaving their orders that I kind of had a light bulb moment. I am obsessed with them because I can relate to them. Not the whole trudging in the snow to go to the outhouse, or the "hey, wheres my cell phone? Oh I forgot, I don't have one because I'm Amish" kind of way. But the whole shunning by your family because you make a choice that they don't agree with kind of way, the shunning I can totally relate to. I had decided that I wasn't really going to write about my family any more, but something happened on Facebook that completely changed my mind. I feel helpless when it comes to my family. I have tried to help them understand my decision and why I made it. I wanted them, not unreasonably, to make an effort because I am their daughter/sister and they "love" me. But in the end, and after years of trying, I have given up. I don't know what my Aunts, Uncles, and Cousins believe about Chad and I, and really I don't care. All I know is that they have reached out to me and tried to close the gap more then my own mother, and they really haven't done a whole lot. I have come to understand that as far as my mom is concerned, the spirit is only working when it is confirming a decision that she already thinks is right. Any other decision and the person isn't worthy to receive Revelation or confirmation of their choice. She actually told me on the way home from seeing my bishop, after he told my mom to but out and let Chad and I work on things without her interference, that she believed my bishop wasn't worthy to be a bishop. (but that is neither here or there, I just want you to understand what I have been trying to work with for the past 7 years) A couple of weeks ago, I couldn't get onto my sister Natalie's Facebook account any more. We had a little argument about something that really isn't relevant, the point is the next day, I couldn't get onto her Facebook any more. But since that is just typical of my family, I skipped it. But then here is the convo I had with my sister Brittny on Facebook yesterday, keep in mind that my family are masters at the whole passive aggressive thing: Brittny: My sweet sister Natalie is going through a rough time with her divorce. Please support my sister by praying for her or give her the love & support she needs. Our own family members r turning on her. She is a great person. I think she's a wonderful sister, daughter & mother. She doesn't deserve the mistreatment. She's the most Christ-like person I know. I love her so much! (I know that this is a wagging finger in my direction for the argument that Natalie and I had, I wasn't born yesterday) Me: that's sad that family is turning against her. I completely know how that feels. Very much so. She is Chad and my prayers. Our whole family, my husband included are praying for her and her girls. What doesn't kill us makes us stronger. (I can do passive aggressive too) Heather (a friend of the familly's): Adding my prayers Me:...and can you tell her I love her? I would do it myself, but for some reason I can't get on her fb wall anymore...? Thanks, and love you too :) Brittny:Thanks Heather! You & Mark has always been there for me, mom, Natalie & Zack! I luv u!! (notice the lack of me or my dad's names, and the pointed ignoring of my comments all together) My Mom: I love my sweet Natalie and it is so hard to watch what she is going through. She is trying so hard to do what God would have her do. I also appreciate her brother Zack, who has been a constant in her life and her sister Brittny. Thanx Britt for your prayers for your little sis! (again, no mention of me at comments, or any acknowledgment that I even exists in the family) Me: I understand why Natalie would feel the way she does, especially if her family isn't supporting her. I prayed about a decision long ago and did what the spirit told me to do, and I too lost family support because of that decision. When you do what you know is right, even when the whole world, and family is telling you otherwise, then you find the strength you need and Heavenly Father compensates for your loss. And no matter how hard we pray that things would be different, we all have our agency and you can't change other's choices. Natalie has a loving family that are rallying around her during a difficult time. I wish I had had that 7 years ago and I wish I had it now. I think Natalie is lucky that she has her family there for her, I would love to have my family rallying around me. So many times in the past years that I have wished for just that very thing. Brittny: (skipping over me again like I wasn't even commenting at all)I would do anything 4 my baby sis! I know she's doing the right thing by going through this divorce. She is the most Christlike person I know. I wish I had the spiritual strength that she has. Natalie will find a husband as wonderful & worthy as mine. I look up 2 my baby sister! I love her so much!! Me:(taking the more direct rout) She is lucky to have everyone in her corner, I'm curious, who is this person in the family who isn't supporting her? Brittny: (again, Melissa who? Do you see anyone named Melissa commenting? Nope neither do I) Ur welcome mom! I'm always glad 2 b there 4 Natalie, Karabear & Katiebug!! Drew & I love u all very much!! So at this point, I am tired of the whole 7 years of shunning going on. How can yo fix things if your family pretends you don't exists, unless it is to their benefit to cry on someones shoulder about the "daughter that doesn't talk to them" or the "sister who they never see" But when I actually try to talk to them or make them see, I get literally shunned. So, what am I to do but carry on with my life and love the family I do have? I still want to tell them how I feel though. I have this crazy idea that one day they will go "ohhh...ok. So you did pray about your decision and you got your answer. I get it now! You are happy! Well that's great, come on over for a bbq and we can meet your boys that we have never seen and we can see how big and beautiful your daughter has gotten." But that is just fantasy. It'll never happen. But I did want to let them know that I am here, I do feel, and basically..I'm here(which I know I already said but it's a big deal. It hurts to be shunned) Me: Brittny, whose not supporting Natalie, and what is this mistreatment your talking about? I would like to know since, I too know how she feels, so I am in a unique position to empathize with her. Unless, all y'alls just keep pretending like I don't exist, then how can I be there for my sister who I also love very much. 10 min later... Me again: And off the subject, but still on point, while I got y'all more or less here, even though you pretend I am not commenting..I see all of you supporting Natalie and discussing how god like everyone is. What about me? I'm still here, I still have feelings and I'm still part of this family. Why hasn't any one mentioned my name or offered me support in my hard times? Here in an open forum, reading over the comments with an outpouring of support, no one would know there is another sister. My name is Melissa and I welcome your encouragement the same as you have given Natalie. I was at the same crossroads as Natalie was, but the spirit pointed me in a different direction. Just because you don't agree with it doesn't make it less right. I am strong because I followed what I know to be right and lost all of you. At least Natalie has her family support, and she has mine if she would let me be there. What Natalie is going through brings me back 7 years, and this is the first time that I get to say anything to you guys. Why are you there for Natalie but you turned your back on me? When I said I need you, I lost you. It hurts. It hurt then, it hurts now. I am so glad that Natalie doesn't have to go through this, follow the spirit, and have to learn to live her life without her family there. Yeah, I know. It's a rant, but can you blame me? I just don't want anyone to feel all alone like I do a lot of the time. Call your mom's and your sister's. When you laugh with them, take a moment to appreciate how lucky you are. I think I am strong though. It is easy to do what you know is right when everyone is backing you up, but when you do something you know is right that other ostracized you for, then you really have to know it is right and just do it. Imagine all the things that you depend on your sisters and mothers for, now imagine that they are gone and you have no one to depend on but yourself. I don't regret my decision, I only regret the reaction of others. But they do have their agency, all I can do is live my life. I haven't given up on reconciliation a long time ago. I get met with much of the same as that Facebook conversation. So I am up a creek on that one. Chad gave me a blessing a little while ago about this and he said that it is no longer my burden to carry. I am working on dropping the load, but it is easier said then done. I love them, but I got to let them go. They let me go a long time ago. It's time I did the same.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

On Sunday, we drove up the canyon to look at all the fall colors. I love this time of year. It really is my favorite. I love the smell of the drying leaves in the air, the crispness you feel when you take a breath. I love how the tips of your ears turn as red as the leaves on the trees, but a hoodie is all you need to feel warm. I love fall evening walks, and I love to sit on the deck with a good book to read while my kids run around and enjoy the cooling weather too. I wish I could streatch fall out to cover more of the calender then just a couple of weeks.
While we were on the drive, we pulled over and took some pictures with Chad's new super cool phone that he loves and has affectionaltly named Ed-209, Eddie for short. When I got in the car and looked at the pictures, I just was so struck by how wonderful our family is. I mean, how lucky can I get? I have an amazing husband, who has seen my stains and shadows, and still loves me. And these three beautiful kids are ours, not by accident or regrete, but by love. They embody love themselves. It shines from their eyes, rings in their laughter, and melts my heart.
Of course, everytime I think of where we are now, I can't help but think back at where we have been. I stood, what felt like alone, at a very important crossroads. I was being pulled one way by my family and an other way by my heart. I am so thankful for a wise Bishop who saw our need and found the right words, spoken like thunder, driping with honey, to heal and help us. Because of one decision I had made, I stand, not alone on my road. It is full of the laughter of my children and the soft wispers of encouragement from my husband. But I lost my family, my mom, my sisters and my brother. I countiue to pray that they will one day come to an understanding, but untill that day, I am building what I lost, and eternal family. Starting with an eternal marrige.
Elder Dallin H Oaks said in the April 2007 General Confrence: Under the law of the Lord, a marriage, like a human life, is a precious, living thing. If our bodies are sick, we seek to heal them. We do not give up. While there is any prospect of life, we seek healing again and again. The same should be true of our marriages, and if we seek Him, the Lord will help us and heal us.
(Chad and I goofing around..the second picture is my laughing and Chad, trying hard not to. I love these pictures even though they are blurry because it just sums up Chad and I. We are just goofing off, laughing at and loving each other) President Spencer W. Kimball taught: “Two individuals approaching the marriage altar must realize that to attain the happy marriage which they hope for they must know that marriage … means sacrifice, sharing, and even a reduction of some personal liberties. It means long, hard economizing. It means children who bring with them financial burdens, service burdens, care and worry burdens; but also it means the deepest and sweetest emotions of all.”
(Ok, so those pictures have nothing to do with my post, but COME ON!! Look at the guy. He is hot, and he is taken..I love him) Chad and I have been through alot together and it seems like as the years pass, much faster then either of us would like, our bond that was forged in California, refined and tested in the early years of our marraige, just keeps getting stronger with age. He is my mortor. And I would hope that I am his as well.
"The kind of marriage required for exaltation—eternal in duration and godlike in quality—does not contemplate divorce. " (and, in reality, it was really my mom who was pulling for divorce for us, like a master puppeteer.. long story..very complicated) Of course, I understand that there are situations where divorce is the way to go. But for me and my house, I am so grateful that we found it in each other to say, hey..this isn't over. Even knowing about the lose of my mother and siblligs, I would go back and make the same choices. Standing in that golden light umoung the changing colors of the trees, watching my family laugh and play is all the evidence I need.
(I know I already have this picture posted, but it's worth a second look.)