Saturday, November 14, 2015

Never Forget You

Last week I went swimming with Mr M. and spent time with him in the morning. On the way back from the gym we heard the song from Zara Larsson I will never forget you.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GTyN-DB_v5M
here is the song

"Mom, I don't know why but every time I hear this song I think of dad."
"So the song reminds you of Dad"
"because I know he died but he is always with me and I know he is in heaven and always with me."

Most of the time when my kiddos bring up dad I practice a little something called reflecting. I say- so it sounds like you are thinking of dad when they say they are. Apparently many therapists make tons of money doing this. Personally if my therapist does it I get super bored and immediately want to be like- yeah I know what I just said. I want to see what the other person thinks. Most people have a fundamental need to be understood and a simple reflection can show them that you are listening. My son knows that I heard what he said.
You can pay millions of dollars to learn in therapy that your kid needs you to spend time listening to them. I got the recommendation to set aside about 10 minutes a day where I ask my kiddos how they are and repeat exactly what they say. Don't try to think- oh that sounds hard- just repeat- it sounds like you are thinking about dad.
WHY IS THIS SO DIFFICULT FOR ME.

My daughter told her friend that her dad died on the way to come visit her. Part of me thinks I should tell her how he really died. I practiced with my therapist.
The memories of everyone change over time. When we tell each other they are altered. I'm tired of being a single mom today.

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Mormon Gays and Baptism for Children

The LDS Church announced that children of parents in a same sex marriage wouldn’t be allowed to be baptized this week. It’s mandatory that you take disciplinary action. That seems intense. Did you know clergy doesn’t have to report child abuse? I also learned that this week and it makes me crazy upset. Counselors have to report if you are an active danger. Maybe. Religion is such a sticky area. I saw one post the first day and I didn’t really read the article because I didn’t want to look at it.
Then my Facebook exploded. You will be happy to know that there are gay people on both sides and Mormons and Ex Mormons that care and ones that don’t care. The whole thing makes me feel like a coward. Because if you question anything you aren’t following a prophet and if you sit still you are saying you agree with it. So maybe I should follow my sister and avoid Facebook for a few weeks.
Pretty much no matter what you are an asshole. I haven’t left the church and I openly have some concerns and I don’t agree with this so I’m pretty much in that in between place where no matter what, I’m an asshole. I secretly think most people are in between. Even if you say you are sure of yourself you might just need to feel in control. I think most of us rely on our cognitive inertia to get through life. I heard the news and you know what I did? Nothing I have a head cold. I put the issue aside because there’s not really anything to say. Except wow- I do NOT like conflict. It’s hard for me to to see all the pain here. It’s hard to be in Utah with all the people and the high emotional level I wish it was easier for me to be on one side or the other. It’s like when we ignore things in our lives we can’t solve to be able to function. I get angry at people that have behaviors that hurt me that they choose not to resolve but I’m sure I have my own.
I’ve been working on not getting stuck by things I can’t resolve. LET ME TELL YOU THAT IS NOT MY FAVORITE.
So I’m sorry to all my friends who have posted that ones article that I can’t post the articles that this is love. I’m sorry my gay friends that I didn’t post a helpful link to a phone number. I’m sorry my ex Mormon friends that I’m still here. And I’m sorry my non Mormon friends that I’m posting about it at all.
I don’t really think there is any excuse for personal apologetics. I also don’t think there is any true neutrality. The church isn’t fair. I’ve known men that raped someone and had no repercussions. I think that’s why so many people don’t report. Inaction seems to be my mode of coping.  I think that’s why a lot of us just sit here confused about what is going on.  I just unsubscribe from friends that share things I can’t handle and go on with my kids to the gym for my morning workout. I was like -wow my daughter just got baptized. 

There is no peace here. 
I wish I knew what to say. Or do. Until then please don't forget those of us who feel stuck somewhere floating in the middle.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Baptism

My daughter got baptized yesterday. In the same dress that I got baptized in when I was 8 and my mom got baptized in when she was 8. She became a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. I was proud of her for when she wanted to wait and also a little heartbroken. When she first turned 8 she said she wanted to wait until her dad could be there. Then she said she wanted him to do it. Then she didn't want to after he died. Then one day she asked me why she wasn't baptized yet.

Sometimes I want to tell my daughter that a lot of men in the church won't treat her like a person. I want to tell her that people are more important than any church. That God is the important one.

Sometimes I want to take it all back and somehow let her dad baptize her. Another boy got baptized that day. The other mom was remarried and the dad still baptized him. I was a little jealous. Every now and then I get jealous when people say they are fighting with their ex. That means their kids have two parents. I understand that some parents do a lot of harm but really it's better for kids to have two parents. I used to worry about taking out the trash and putting your laundry in the bin and now it just seems so stupid to worry about that stuff.

Sometimes I guess some of the guys I have met will lie about how worthy they are and baptize their daughters or go through lip service to pretend they care. I wonder if John would have done that. He told me he lied about how he felt about the church for years to make me happy.

I wonder if it matters.

My friend came to the baptism and asked me how I was doing and I started crying. I don't handle feelings super well. I just wanted a happy family for my kids. I don't care if I was divorced I just wanted my kids to have a good dad. It's weird how when you are younger some of the things you want to give your kids are things you can't actually choose or control. Why didn't I care more about them having a good mom or a happy mom or something I could actually work towards?

I want to give her the hope that I felt when I was 8 that I don't always feel now. I'm tired of people yelling at me to feel it.

They wrote letters to the kids that day and I was helping her get dressed so I didn't get to write her a letter. I think I would tell her this:

To my daughter on her baptism day;

I'm remember the day I got baptized and how worried I was that I would make a mistake. I remember really wanting to follow God. I remember being so proud and happy and feeling so amazed. I remember all the talks. I am so glad you got to talk to your cousins about their baptisms and it is something you share.
As I've gone through life the sharing has become more important. I realized on my mission how people had basic needs for shelter and friendship that trumped their religious ideals. I realized I just wanted people who were kind to me sometimes not people who were exactly perfect. May you provide kindness to the people you meet.
I still believe in God. When he tells you to do something don't ignore it. Some people say trust your intuition- some call it a still small voice. For others those three things are distinct. There have been times I have followed it and times I've ignored it. I regret the times I chose what I wanted over what God told me. That's different than what other people have told me I should do. I hope you can grow to know the difference and trust him even when you don't know why or it breaks your heart in half. You always ask about why I got divorced and I always say I won't ever tell you but I will tell you this- when it was happening I begged God to let it all work out. I got an answer and it was this.
"is this what you want to live with."
"No."
I couldn't live with it.
I wanted him to change the situation and the people and he only asked me if I really wanted what I was asking for.
I didn't realize what I was asking for.
I think that's how prayer works sometimes- it's not a huge answer it's God just repeating back what we said and then we realize that we didn't exactly want what we asked- we wanted what we had to change into something it's not. One of my friends told me once that I should tell God about all my frustrations "because he can take it." One of the most intriguing things I've ever heard. There are a lot of people I know who I'm sure have needed to yell at God. He can take it. Sometimes what has happened for me was just the realization about what I was asking or angry about. Sometimes things have changed. Sometimes I felt like God was sorry. I hope you never have to understand that feeling. The Shrug. I know you will and you won't understand what I mean until you've experienced it.
All we ever wanted for you was a hope in the world. I used to think I knew everything. Then I knew nothing. Then I realized maybe that's what faith was. A stillness in uncertainty. We won't know what will happen in our future or after this life. That uncertainty has to be enough. In one of the talks they quoted Alice in Wonderland.

“Alice: Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?
The Cheshire Cat: That depends a good deal on where you want to get to.
Alice: I don't much care where.
The Cheshire Cat: Then it doesn't much matter which way you go.
Alice: ...So long as I get somewhere.
The Cheshire Cat: Oh, you're sure to do that, if only you walk long enough.”

They said that when you are a member of this church you know where you are going. In a way that is true. There are clear goals and a clear picture of  Christ and what we can accomplish. But it is also false, like my prayer to have my family that I wanted. I think when this life is over many of us will look back and want something we didn't really want. Do you really want to be married? Do you really want to respect your partners if it means you have fewer than you want? Do you really want to have as many children as others will want you to have? Do you want to hide from what you are and what you choose?
Listen to the stillness. You will not always want what you are asking for. The path will not always be clear but that is part of it. They are lying when they say you will always have a direction. There will be times when the direction you thought was so clear will be impossible. There will be times when you pick a new direction. There will be times when your choices reveal your directional claims as the falsehood they are.
May you learn to stop walking and let those times be part of your journey. There is nothing wrong with listening to the silence. 
I still remember my prayer as an 8 year old that I wanted to go back to the heaven everyone talked about. I wanted to be back in a perfect place and this whole idea of "enduring to the end" sounded SO  HARD. I'm still here and I've realized that the idea that we chose to be here and every day continue choosing life is beautiful. It's harder than I thought it would be and I've been way less perfect than I thought the Holy Ghost would help me be. People are uglier than I thought was possible. Not everyone wants to do good to other people and I'm glad you do. Your dad didn't want to be here anymore. Sometimes I feel like it is too much but I'm still choosing to be here with you. I hope you always choose to be here.

This is not the hope I chose for you- I wanted a clear picture with happiness and a clear answer about the path of life I wanted. This is not the family I wanted for my kids. 

I never realized how much pain other people would cause and how fiercely I want to give you a better life and how I know you will have more pain than anyone should have because I've had that. There will not always be a shiny hope at the end and there will be times when you will be jealous of the people who seem to say their path is always clear. The beauty is not in knowing where you want to go. 
The beauty is in the silence when God has asked you 
"Is this what you want." 
"No."
 My life has shattered in a million pieces and I'm not put back together again. May you always be enough, even when you are broken. 
I'm scared for you. I'm also so proud of you and happy for what you will see.
The way is more beautiful than I ever hoped for.


love,
mom.

I hope she is able to pass the dress to her daughter if she wants to. I hope she has an easier path than I've had. I hope she can find softness and kindness in her journey. 

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