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Wednesday, March 14, 2012

There is a story to tell.

On Sunday, the women of my ward discussed the Priesthood. In the LDS church, the Priesthood is held only by men. Some think this demeans women. You can argue that women get to be mothers, and that is their divine calling from God. Or, you can just accept the fact that men and women have roles to fulfil, and they are different, not sexist.

One comment in the discussion was an expression of gratitude for having the Priesthood as a constant companion in the home. There was always a righteous father to set an example of what it means to be worthy to exercise the authority of the Priesthood and to preside over that home in love. It was implied that without this father-figure, life could have been horrible, and growing up would have been too much to bear.

I can see this point of view, but I also felt compelled to offer experience from the flip side. My parents were both members of the LDS faith when they married and started a family. The difference is that my mom was always an active member, whereas my dad was a bit of a faker. He was baptised, served a mission and married my mom in the LDS temple. They attended church, raised us in the Gospel, baptised us, and my dad even served as Bishop.

I think it's important to understand that even when people do these things, it doesn't automatically make them good. In contrast, not doing these things doesn't automatically make people bad.

Far too often, we judge on outside appearances. We feel jealousy because someone had something we didn't. I'm at a point in my life where I do not feel jealous that other people had regular dads. Dads who didn't hit, dads who didn't lie, dads who didn't steal. While I did not envy the commenter whose dad was always there for her, I wanted to offer a clarification that you don't need a worthy Priesthood holder in your home in order to grow up right.

My contribution to the conversation sparked other positive reactions; other women shared where they found role models outside of their homes. Some stressed how important it is to fellowship so that we can find others who need reassurance that they are okay, even if their house is full of crazy. I was fortunate enough to have a mom who was rock-solid, and an older brother who could not have been more different (in the best way possible) from our dad.

Sometimes I want to share so much more about my life. About what my family went through and how we're all the better for it. How we're still close despite the hardships. We're very blessed. At one point, we lost all our earthly possessions, but we didn't lose each other.

There is always potential to rise above existing circumstances. It would have been so easy for me to settle into a lifestyle that didn't require much effort. I have a whole bag of excuses to throw my life away and blame someone else for my problems.

I wonder if my story could be helpful to others. I wonder if I by sharing more it would help people understand me better.

For now, the story will have to wait.

6 comments:

  1. But hopefully not too long because it sounds like a powerful story that I'm sure many of us would love to learn from. :)

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  2. I love that you felt compelled to share at least a piece of your story with the sisters. It is very hurtful that others are so quick to judge based on what they believe to be true of someone else. I have had many people say comments that could be very hurtful, but I tend to excuse them for lack of truly understanding my situation. As you most likely know my husband and I were sealed in the temple after a year and a half of marriage and that is something I wanted. My husband knew it and he really tried to give me that, however, he could not fake it. It broke my heart and it was very difficult to comprehend at first. Luckily I have a Savior who knows me and understands me and he has blessed me in so many ways with patience, understanding and unconditional love. I had to base our marriage on what we had not what we lacked. After much prayer I realized what we had was worth the effort and at times struggle. Don't get me wrong I wish that we had the priesthood in our home to be used and a husband to help out at church when the kids are too tired to sit still. Maybe one day, but for now what we have is perfect for us.

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  3. I think we often base our views of others lives on our perceptions of them and what we perceive as being the "perfect" life. I always have the opposing view of want to play devils advocate in those types of situations because you can't lump life into one right, best way. Good for you for being that reminder that different isn't always worse, but often creates a better opportunity to recognize how important things like the priesthood are. Or having a father, a home, or even a parent who loves you. I love your honesty Liv.

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  4. I very much appreciated the careful leadership of a primary president when I was serving in Sunbeams several years ago. In my small class of 6 young children, only 2 of the children came from what people view as "typical" LDS households- 2 parent homes with active families. The Primary president always did a fantastic job in framing the lessons on family, making sure that non-traditional family arrangements were acknowledged and celebrated, while still teaching that the "ideal" could be achieved by the children when they were forming their own FUTURE families, even if their family looked different than that now. It was quite well done. As a (hopefully!) functional adult who came from less that ideal circumstances myself, I appreciated the willingness to look outside the box.

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  5. i just finished reading micheal oher's book and the one by his adopted parents the touheys (spelling??) - anyways - the books - though not what i would consider literature - were very heartwarming, motivating and inspiring. (if you dont know which i probably wouldnt have off the top of my head - these books are companion books to the blind side) I think you should share yours (when you are ready!).

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  6. Love your words. I don't have any opinion to contribute, just that I loved this post.

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