Tuesday, July 26, 2011

What is family?

I have written before about Elder David A. Bednar and his conference to Latter-Day Saints at the University of Utah. The conference was sobering and inspirational. Reminding us that our priorities must always be aligned with our ideals for eternal perfection, Elder Bednar asked us to question everything from our home lives to our reasons for education. When asked about trying to keep our families closely knit, he explained that when we leave this Earth we do not go to a heaven that is built within some kind of hut- with only our spouse and small children. No! It will not be anything like that! What about our children's spouses? And their children? What about a dearly loved friend? Elder Bednar explained that heaven will not be a little hut, with just our little family- it is bigger, more grand, and more open than that. However, he did caution, if it *was* likened to be like a little hut- it would only house you and your spouse.

What a sobering thought! When we stop, take a step back, and realize that the only human on Earth that we really need to give our *full* attention, support, devotion, adoration, and heart to is our spouse, suddenly a lot of things fall into their rightful place. The Joneses we were trying to keep up with don't seem to matter at all. The neighbor we never seem to please suddenly becomes less stressful. The children that we cherish beyond words are recognized as the beautiful gifts they are, and seen as holy houseguests that we are meant to train and teach, rather than just "deal with" (perhaps I am the only mother who felt like there have been days where it was difficult just "dealing with" my little boys?).

I have been homeschooling both of the boys this summer, and one of the cornerstones of the curriculum that I created was lessons about scriptures, faith, and our religion. One of the activities the children completed was all about how when they came to Earth they were given special teachers to help them along their way. The picture was of a family- and the teachers were their parents. What a beautiful message! As parents, isn't that what we do? We unconditionally love our children, the way that our Heavenly Father loves each of us, and we help them on their journey - trying to be sure to keep them safe, and on a path to everlasting joy. Beautiful!

I love my children. They give my life such tremendous joy and purpose. I am thankful for each of them, and their wonderful little personalities and talents. I enjoy listening to their thoughts, dreams, goals, and fears. I love that they are such neat little people and that I get to be their mother! I want them to know that I love them unconditionally, and that I will never stop trying to fight for the things that I know will bring them true happiness. I also want them to know I will never stop battling against the things of the world that I know can only lead to unnecessary heartbreak and harm.

I know that I haven't posted recently. Things have been difficult in our home, and my attention has been (rightfully) on trying to improve family life. After prayerful yet heartbreaking discussions, Kurt and I were able to admit that we need some time apart. No, this is not about divorce. This is about taking a step back, for us to each reflect on our lives, and our future.

Knowing how I feel about family, and knowing how Kurt feels about family- we both have given one another the upmost respect and somber attitude during this emotional time. We both know that walking away, although just temporarily, is one of the most difficult decisions either of us has ever had to face, and we both understand that it affects the most important relationship we have with any single person on the face of the earth, and it affects our beautiful and sensitive children. A few of our closest friends know about this, and those who share our faith and know our beliefs understand how truly heart wrenching a decision like this is, and therefore understand that it is not something we would EVER treat lightly. However, those who do not know us, or those whose priorities are nothing like ours, have met our decision with mockery and unjust lashing.

As much as it pains me to report, I said a final goodbye to my mother and my brother this week. I understand the dynamics of my parents well enough to know that in doing so, I have also said goodbye to my father. I understand that they do not know who I am, and that I am constantly judged as having the same motivations as my sixteen year old self, but I would have hoped that over the years our relationships would have changed and evolved. I would have hoped that they could have seen what my dearest friends could see. I would have hoped they would have been able to open their eyes, forget the past, and understand that I believe my life has a sacred purpose. Things just don't work out the way we would like them to, sometimes. Knowing my situation I was met with comments like, "Do you just have some kind of divorce envy? Is this just because you want what your brother has???" "Ha! You don't TRY in your marriage!" "You know, Kurt can't come to any of our family functions anymore." "Your kids are not warm and affectionate at all, they don't care about anyone!" Just to recall a few. Those who know me, know that I am a very... let's call it *passionate* person, and that generally such comments would never fly, let alone en masse. However, I took them. Punch by punch. Until I finally had enough. The end scene was dramatic, loud, and included saying a few choice words to my mother that I will not grace upon these pages. However, the end result was clear- I was done.

It has been years. Kurt and I have had multiple marriage councilors and therapists, and each one suggested I end the relationship with my family. Each one. At one point, years ago, I called the Dr. Laura Radio Program and explained a situation that had happened with my mother. Dr. Laura said, "In cases where someone is dangerous or destructive you need to remove that person from your life, regardless of relation. Your mother is destructive, and you need to end the relationship." Being told that I needed to end it, and actually ENDING it were two different things. After a weekend of aching meditation, I realize, I didn't end it. My parents, and my brother ended it. And, I am okay with that. I am hurt, but I am okay.

To my children- I pray for your well being. I know that there will be trials in your life that will bring you great anguish, sorrow, and hurt. I pray that when these trails come to you, that you will see that I love you, and I will help be a support for you. I pray that you will remember your biggest support will not come from anyone on Earth, but will come from your Heavenly family above. Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash. -- Matthew 7:24-27. I pray that you build your house upon the rock and that you gain a testimony of the everlasting and saving love of Jesus Christ. I pray that I can be an instrument in God's hands, and help you in any way that you need. I love you very much, and I hope you will always know and feel that love.

Thank you to my friends who have offered their love and support. I am so blessed to have such wonderful friends who do not mind visits or phone calls that mainly consist of crying. I am thankful for Kurt, and his open heart, and willingness to try and repair our marriage. I am thankful for my wonderful children, and the daily joy they bring to me. Things will get better - I know.


  1. Oh Mellissa. I am so sorry. Hang in there. Prayers coming you way.

  2. I don't know what is going on with you guys, and i'm sorry i don't. I will continue to pray for you and your family, and that you can all have time to heal, and make things better in the end. I love you Mellissa, and can only hope the best for you. Please let me know if you need anything.