Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Deep Thoughts About Life

So, I was reading an email I received this morning. He sent it last night, I guess. But I just saw it this morning. It was my husband's little brother Jesse updating everyone on the family on what is going on with his goals, etc. for the future. I will get into his story a little bit more in a minute. I really hope I can make sense of the things I am meaning to say here and not just ramble incoherently. His email got me thinking about some things that have been ruminating in my brain for a while now. Let's see if I can explain what I mean now.

Remember how I told you I was reading Les Miserables? There is a paragraph in there that just jumped out at me yesterday. It kind of tied in with something I have been thinking about a lot, especially recently. Here is the quote:

"God makes his will visible to men in events, an obscure text written in a mysterious language. Men make their translations instantly; hasty translations, incorrect, full of mistakes, omissions, and misreadings. Very few minds understand the divine language."

Isn't that so true? There was more to the statement, but this was the gist of what I wanted to focus on. And in a minute I am going to start interpreting some of the things I have been trying to understand of God's divine language. So, if you think I get it wrong, please forgive me.

Here is this email from my brother, and he is talking about how he has been working with his bishop to try to go an a mission. A little over a year ago, Jesse was preparing to leave on his mission to Johannesburg, South Africa. Before it was time to enter the MTC, he met with the Stake President and after some counsel, it was determined he would need to wait before serving a mission. I won't go into details, but essentially he had to wait a year to be able to do those things that would allow him to serve a mission. Some of you may not know this, but Britt and I would have had to wait several months to go to the temple for similar reasons when we got engaged. That was why we were married civilly and then went to the temple a year later.

Jesse's email also explained that he had been working with his bishop, but because of extenuating circumstances (vacations, and other things completely out of Jesse's control), the things that needed to happen to give him a chance to re-submit papers for going on a mission had been postponed. And Jesse then received a phone call that his unit with the National Guard is going to be called to Active Duty and deployed in approximately a year. The deployment takes precedence over a church mission, without an official mission call in hand. Did I explain that right, Jesse? If I didn't, I apologize. And here he is explaining it to us, his family, saying how he had done all he could do and now he is at peace with how things have worked out. He will serve a different sort of mission in the military.

And my heart is breaking for him. But I am so proud of how mature he is being about the whole situation. Some of it brings me back to where I was 17 years ago. I was in mourning, because the church had recently come out with a new policy that anyone with any kind of history of sexual misconduct could not serve a mission. I had finally begun straightening out my life, making better choices, working on the repentance process with the goal in mind of serving an LDS Church Mission after I turned 21. But since I had given birth to the baby girl I placed for adoption, I didn't qualify to serve. It really hurt, especially when I knew some of the young men who were preparing to serve missions didn't really qualify, either, but there was no damning evidence against them.

Then, I began dating my future husband. In three short weeks, we were engaged. We were doing everything right together. We wanted to be married in the temple. His bishop was unwilling to budge on the time frame for us. We didn't want to wait. I respect the bishop's decision, but at the time, it was really difficult for us.

What the heck is my point? This wasn't where I originally wanted to go with these thoughts. This is what I am trying to say. So often, people will tell you there is a reason for things, when these unfortunate things happen to us. They will say, "Maybe this is what God had in mind for you after all. Maybe there is a reason this thing happened to you." And this is where I disagree with that statement.

Bad things happen to us all the time. Sometimes we do them to ourselves. Sometimes other people's decisions affect us in a way that causes hardship or pain. Was that Heavenly Father's plan? I don't think so. Let me explain.

Some years ago, three good men from our community passed away in a plane crash. We were devastated, but none so much as their dear families. The thing that stands out to me from one of the funerals I attended then was when one of the church leaders spoke about the losses those families would feel with the absence of those good men, and how the Lord would compensate those losses. I don't remember if compensate was the exact word, but that is the idea I want to share here.

Do I think part of Heavenly Father's plan for me included me sinning and getting pregnant so that I could have a baby and give her to the family that was meant to be hers. Not exactly. I do feel really strongly that she (my birth daughter) and I had a relationship in heaven, before this life. And somehow, we knew, our lives would be connected here; we just didn't know how. I still believe if that hadn't happened, we would have met another way, although I will be forever grateful to her for bringing me back to myself and helping me to become a better person.

I also believe that because of the sacrifice I made then, my Heavenly Father has blessed me in so many ways. More ways than I can name, but there are at least five of them that mean the world to me. That is where the compensation comes in, I think.

Then there is this time now, where her family is not ready to communicate with me again. Was it an act of God that the agency worker misplaced the family's phone number after just briefly communicating with them? Does he have a plan that doesn't allow me to be associated with them now. Is there a reason it is something I am meant to wait for?

Maybe. But maybe not. I cannot precisely read the divine language of these events. Perhaps there is more to it than I know. Or perhaps her family is exercising their agency and in the process of that, they are excluding me, unintentionally hurting me. Another birthmother I have only associated with briefly online is going through a hard time right now, since her birth daughter's family has limited communication more than she would like. Some of her friends have said maybe God has a reason for all this that will some day be made known to her. I suppose that is possible. But I also suppose that it is possible that the parents (in both our situations) are being more influenced by the spirit of fear and doubt than by the whisperings of another Spirit that might tell them to reach out to us, to include us in their lives.

When this sort of situation happens, I believe as long as we are faithful, the Lord WILL compensate us. We will blessed in ways we can't possibly understand. I mean, look at my awesome kids, and all the wonderful things we are able to do together and the joy they bring into my life. Look at what a loving, considerate husband I have been given, who wants so much to help me in whatever way he can.

Maybe I am not meant to know Cosette and her family at this time. Maybe the Lord's time is not my time. Or maybe the Lord is allowing things to happen as they will, and blessing me here and now in the ways that he can.

My ideas here got a little derailed. My brother Jesse (I know, brother-in-law, but that IS how I think of him) is very maturely accepting how things have worked out. Which is absolutely the right thing to do. But here is the part of me saying, Dangitt, why couldn't things have been different for him?! I am grateful for the faith that I have that he will be compensated for the loss of that official Church mission. I know I have been. And I do believe I will still be able to serve someday with my husband. That is our goal.

So then I see my husband's little brothers growing up. Serving our country. His stepbrother Danny has been deployed to Afghanistan already. Here is a picture I stole from Becky's blog. I am sorry, Becky. I don't usually do that, but I couldn't be there, so I am glad I could at least see the pictures she took.

I am scared to death to be letting these little boys go to war. I pray every day for Danny and Jesse (more like every waking minute). I just can't help it. And I am so proud of Kristy for loving Danny and letting him go. We are so grateful for these men who serve our country, but it is SO HARD when they are our own men.

And here is a picture of Jesse, when he left us the first time to go to Basic Training. And we thought we were emotional then.

I am going to find comfort in the idea that God will compensate those losses. Jesse, as long as you continue to put your faith in God and in the atonement of Christ, you will absolutely be blessed for your righteous efforts.

Man, I love you. Thank you for being such a great example for my boys. You are a good man.

One more little thought. Here is an article that I think also applies to this situation:

God DOES know. He will take care of us, if we will let him. What a blessing, what a learning experience this life definitely is!

And as I said before, please forgive me if you think I got it all wrong.

1 comment:

Becks said...

I should have known just from the picture that this would put me in tears! Great thoughts, Nan. Love you.