Monday, April 7, 2014

Thoughts after Conference Weekend

Favorite quote from conference:

Normally, conference is insanely low key and a chance to just lounge around and be together.
Adding a puppy to the equation, made things a little bit crazier.
With 6 people, all home the entire time, in the house, the puppy got a little bit too much attention and I think it was a bit of a confusing weekend for Badger. 

There were accidents of all sorts. Potty accidents and Matt twisted his ankle when he tripped over Badger coming into the family room. 
This week, Puppy and I will be sticking to a routine and I think it will be easier on all of us, including the dog. 

He is a very good dog.
He sleeps all night in his crate and only barks when he needs to go potty and then he goes right back in and quietly settles down until morning.
It was still a bit chaotic for conference weekend.

We started off on Saturday with a bang, I have a child who isn't so much trying to find himself, but who is trying to prove who he is not. 
This is just where he is right now. I have been there myself.

I see his struggles and I ache for him, but I also see them through the eyes of one who has traveled down that road and knows where it leads. I am a person who tried it the world's way and it didn't work. I chose the church, I choose this lifestyle because it is the only thing that brought peace, stability and a belief that everything was going to work out, that I could be happy and I deserved happiness.
I am thankful for agency, where I can choose that.
I still make plenty of wrong choices, that those who are in a different place than I am see the same way I see the struggles my kids have. 
They cringe and wish I would learn from their mistakes.
They also know, like I do, that it doesn't work that way and just as we cannot live on borrowed light, we cannot learn from borrowed darkness.

I skipped the second session to go on a walk with my son and talk to him, encourage him to figure out who he is, not who he is not. To treat others with the respect all humans deserve and to stop seeing assassins in the trees everywhere he goes. 
I am so glad he is home, so glad he is safe, but this is not easy.

He can choose whatever he wants, I do not need my kids to be Mormons in order to love and accept them. I will always love and accept them, always support and be there for them. I do need them to make choices and to grow. If they do not, my love for them stays the same, but there are obstacles that put life in a constant holding pattern. It doesn't progress and go anywhere until a direction is chosen. You can change directions, but you must DO.
It is hard for all of us, including my child who is stuck. 

I am never going to be a parent who issues ultimatums or who uses tough love, but I am struggling with patience and need to change my focus from trying to hep so much, to moving forward with my own journey and trusting that he will choose something eventually and he will see that it will be okay. 

Conference had some talks that hit on a lot of things I have been thinking about lately, and I know I have things I need to re-evaluate and choose as well.
I have always been more of a liberal in my thinking. I usually vote democrat and I did not support Prop 8 and I think churches need to get out of the marriage business completely.  One can make covenants and promises in church, but the legal contract of marriage should be handled by the state.  These are just things that make sense to me and I am still a worthy, active and prophet sustaining member of the church- even if I did vote for Bill Clinton and Obama (well, the first time.)
I saw myself in comparison to many other members of the church and I was pretty far to the left.
As I look at the world around me now, at the always changing landscape of choice and morality, I see that the line has moved. Where I stand, having not changed my opinions and beliefs is now to the right of the line and it makes me think about how important I always felt it was that I defined myself by where I stood, based on measurements that the world created and I accepted. 
I don't have this figured out yet, but conference had many talks that made me feel like I need to really think about where I stand and what that will mean as the line keeps moving and I am no longer seen as a liberal thinker and I am 'lumped in' with those I have always felt lacked the ability to support free agency at all costs.

I believe that there was a great war in heaven, and we lost 1/3 of our brothers and sisters over the issue of agency and that it is the most important right we have as children of Earth. We must support and protect every one's ability to choose, and one of the worst things you can do is to try and take away the agency of another and control them. Matt says I'm a bit of an anarchist, and that's why everything goes back to free agency for me. I do not want to take another's agency, even if I hate what they use it for and disagree with them. I get pretty aggressive when a person tries to take away my agency and tell me what I "must' do. I have offended a few people with the simple response of "I don't answer to you, do not tell me what to do. Ask me and allow me to say yes or no, but do not presume you are the boss of me." 
So, back to the things that are poking my brain and soul-I have to figure out more of who I am and why I believe what I believe. I have to have the confidence and ability to stand by those beliefs, even if someone thinks I only have them because I'm part of some herd of brainless sheep.
I have never been a lamb who stays where she should, but I am proud that I am still and always will be one of Christ's lambs. He just has to rescue me and call me more often because I insist on learning things the hard way, in my own time and place.

And this leaves me now, wondering who I am, what place am I at right now and where will I go as the terrain I travel on continues to change so quickly and so drastically. 
I don't know the answer.
What I do know is that the answers will come and where the answers will come from. There are many paths that lead to happiness, the one that works best for me is the path the Lord and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints has laid out. Even within that, there are many paths to take. 

Somewhere between making choices, choosing to move forward and trusting that the Lord loves and knows each of us, no matter what- I will figure some things out. 
It's spring, and little seeds that have been sleeping underneath the surface are starting to come through within me. It is time to stop looking at the external to tell me where I stand and to look within and know who I am. 
This was not our typical relaxing, easy conference weekend, but rain make flowers grow and storms make trees grow strong. 
They clear out all of the crap that lingered in the air before and allow us to see things differently. 
If the storms and the hardships are the price I must pay in order to see the rays of sunshine- I will pay it. 
And I will try not to complain too much, but I reserve the right to whine here and there.


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  3. ** There were too many typos for me to leave this up. So I deleted the originals and am re-posting. Thanks!

    This is a great post. One thing I've always heard is that there is room in the Gospel for both conservative and liberal political thinking. The doctrines of the church sustain ideals from both sides of the political spectrum. There are may black and whites in the doctrine: don't murder eat other, leave your neighbor's property alone, be faithful to your spouse. Love God and love others, and you should be okay. Seems simple, but people disagree on what "love others" means. For some, it means that you live they way you think God wants you to and leave other people alone to do that as well. For others, it means that although you don't force someone else to do what is right, you can tell them why you don't agree with what they are doing. And for some (and they are minority, thank heavens) it does mean doing what you can to force everyone to live by your idea of what God's laws are. Sometimes, they are correct in interpreting God's laws; sometimes they aren't. But the fact is that God will not force any of us into heaven. You're right in stating that's why the war in heaven was fought: agency is the second greatest gift we have received from Heavenly Father. Interestingly, it is completely and wholly intertwined with the first. Without agency, we would have had no need for the Atonement. Without the Atonement, no choice we make will get us home. To me that's a rather simple and beautiful concept. But where are we when it comes to other people? How to we help without forcing? I think that the "every member a missionary" calling has be handled on a person-by-person basis. Literally. We have to look at each relationship we have to decide how much "force" we put behind our treatment of that person. I have friends I talk about church stuff with all the time (most of them are members of the Church, and so that makes most of these discussions pretty simple, though at times heated); I have friends who love to talk to me about what they do religiously and spiritually, but don't want to hear anything about my spiritual journey. It can feel like "If I talk to Nancy enough about how right what I believe is, she will realize how wrong what she believes is." These friendships both tickle and frustrate me, because these are people who would completely shut you down if you told them they weren't Christians (because to them, their relationship with Christ is very personal), but have no qualms telling someone else that they aren't Christians (because to them, your relationship with Christ should be exactly the same as their, and therefore not personal). And I have friends who I don't talk religion with at all. With these people, I just live the way I believe is correct, and hope that some of the light of Christ will impact them in a positive way. When they have questions, I answer them. When they don't want to talk about religion, we discuss other things.

    Sorry this got so long, but I fully understand where you are coming from. I've been on both sides of that ever-moving political line. I've had people tell me I'm not a good member of the church if I don't vote straight Republican. I've had people tell me that I'm trying to force my religion on others if I vote my conscience. But what else can we do? As members of the LDS church, does voting our conscience mean that we will vote exactly the same on everything? Of course not. We are all at differing points on our journey home. The best we can do is pray and follow the promptings we receive. Not the promptings others receive.