Thursday, October 7, 2010

When Life Seems to Get Turned Upside Down

Prepare yourselves, it's bound to be a long one, sorry.
Around 23 years ago I was 14 years old and having a pretty hard time in life trying to figure out where I belonged and what my future held. Everyone has always told me that I think too much or analyze things too much, but it's who I am and always have been. I grew up, for the most part, in a household/family of adults. My nearest sibling either direction was 6 years younger than me. Process wise, I was always several years older than my real age. The reason I bring this up is because I'm pretty sure the thought that ran through the heads of most of you reading this was, "Why was she worrying so much about her future when she was 14?" I believe that I was being prepared for the life I was to have in the future. It was about this time that I met a boy. I really didn't like him much, as I thought he was sort of reckless. I was really good friends with a person who was also his friend. Then one night, this particular boy borrowed my sisters car and got in a car accident. I had teased and poked at him every time he returned with her car (he had taken it several times) this time was no different. The deal was
"you wreck it you buy it" I happen to answer the phone when he called to tell my sister and brother-in-law what had happen. As usual, I teased him and the answer I got was a very quiet "could you please let me talk to either Marsha or Mike, it's important." At that point I realized this was not a joking matter and got Mike on the phone. So after everything was taken care of that night, I witnessed this "boy" telling my sister and her family that he would make things right, that he gave his word that if he wrecked it he would buy it, so he would buy it. I know that this doesn't sound like a big deal, but it was to me. He showed so much honesty and dignity as a 16 year old young man that I wanted to know more. Yes, he was pretty reckless, but all of a sudden that seemed like a very judgmental thing for me to hold against him. Recklessness doesn't have anything to do with a persons worth. As far as I know, I wasn't even on his radar and was probably somewhat of an irritation to him, we, through a crazy happening on New Year's Eve that year found ourselves at a church dance together. I believe that it was not really an accident that he wrecked the car, or that our friend got sick and went home from the dance. It's how we finally got together. Over the next year and a half, we would go through some pretty crazy things. Dan joined the Navy and went through boot camp, I had some pretty major health issues. We had school and all kinds of other things to deal with, but in the end the two of us came out of it together. We got married a little over 21 years ago. Putting that wedding together with the Navy to deal with and many other things was crazy, but we did it. That year and a half when we were 15 and 16 years old was the foundation for what our life together would rely on. Over the years that we have been married we have had some pretty tough things to get through, as does everyone, but we understand that we have each other to rely on.
The reason I tell this long story today is because we have come to a time in our life when this solid foundation seems like it has been beaten with a sledgehammer. We both know that when you have something that solid and sure that everything possible is going to try to shake it up. We moved to this street 12 years ago with 3 little kids and a hope for some stability. We were led here by a higher power. We know this. After having one more child and more life experiences, it became time to take a look ahead again and again we were led, or maybe I should say others were led to us. That's when our neighbor across the street came to us out of the blue one day and offered his house to us. It came together fairly easy and we moved across the street and about a year and a half later bought our house. Finally we were living the life we had dreamed about. After years of struggling with going to church and holding jobs (on my part) we were doing pretty well. Dan was the Young Men's president, I was doing various things, but we were very involved and feeling very much at home here. Things changed with callings and stuff and we just rolled with it. In 2004 Dan had throat surgery to remove a tumor. In 2005 we were impressed to bring Dan's parents here for a while. Still not sure of the reasons why, we did that and feel that we have done what is right. In October 2006 I had what was thought to be a stroke. This has been a constant struggle for 4 years. I can no longer work, and am very limited in everything. This changed everything for our entire family. Dan all of a sudden had the entire weight of taking care of the family on him. Now is when my thoughts go back to the 16 year old reckless boy. He has taken on extra jobs, taken on many of the household duties, while still working a full time job and for most of the time holding several fairly pressing church callings. Kyler was in the hospital clinging to life during this time, Megan was assaulted, Aubree was thought to have a brain tumor. It has been A LOT to get through. Dan still gets up every morning, even when he is so sick he can't move, and goes to work. Over the past couple of years, Dan has had a very hard time in regards to happenings in the world and the way in which the church has handled things. Confusion and doubt has crept in bit by bit. There are many things that I personally have wondered how certain reactions could be right and have had my own times of feeling like falling away, but have been able to see things differently. Not necessarily more correct, just different. As of the past few months, things have gotten so intense in this regard that Dan has experienced very serious judgment and in some cases plain meanness and slander by member of the church. I as well have been "pitied" by some that really have no idea of what's really going on. I am a strong person who has gone through some very hard things in my life. My husband is and has been the rock that is always there to sure me up. Remember my earlier statement about honesty and dignity? Well, Dan is a person that does what he feels to be best for him and his family and nothing or no one will stop him. He will stand firm even if it makes him look bad. This is where there are serious problems. I heard a quote the other day that sums things up in this regard, it is..."
Things are so seldom the way they appear to be, that appearances really tell us very little about the people we meet." President Monson spoke of just this at womens conference a few days ago. This is where some of the confusion and doubt have come in. Many seem to pick and choose the doctrine they are going to follow. Many have no problem telling others what they should be doing without doing it themselves. We have been taught our entire lives that we should respect others feelings and free agency, yet it sometimes turns out that just the opposite happens. Everyone is different and has different ways of getting through life. EVERYONE! Everyone is a child of God. EVERYONE! Even if they are necessarily living the way we believe in. But most importantly, we should not make ourselves judges of how others should live, especially when we don't always know all of the facts and realities of their lives.
Dan has announced to me that he will not be returning to church. That he feels that if he does he is putting on a show to give me, our kids, and others a false sense of what he believes. He does not feel he should pretend that he is in agreement with the way some of the church leaders are doing things. That some of them are contradictory in their teachings from what the doctrine is. That many members of the church are taking these teachings to an extreme that is not good as well. This is no ones fault and no one elses problem. It is his personal feeling at this time. He believes in the doctrine of the church and has a strong testimony of it. He simply cannot be in agreement at this time with many of the ways this same doctrine is being taught. There are some leaders that have been wonderful to us and tried to help us through this time. They are wonderful friends and their love and support is very much appreciated and returned. I hope they know that this statement does not apply to them. This goes right back to the honesty and dignity I have mentioned so many times.

I love Dan, and he loves me and our children. I am still attending church with Dan's blessing. This is his decision and I will stand by him knowing that he would not do anything that would jeopardize our marriage or our family. He is still the same wonderful, compassionate, hard working, honest, good father, and all around good person he has always been. I hope that everyone will be able to understand this and not judge him for this, as no one really knows or understands his heart. I was given a blessing not long ago that I would have strength and know what was best for my good husband and my good family during this time. I know this is what is pulling me through and that I do have a GOOD HUSBAND and GOOD CHILDREN. I cannot express my appreciation for the love that was shown during that blessing. I hope that this post will prove to be something good and maybe an explanation of our feelings and that it will bring many of you closer to us and have the knowledge that we are still us and love and care for all of you the same as we always have. We need your love and support now. ~Christy