Wednesday, January 30, 2013

My Answers to Some Random (but Related) Questions

I was kind of free-flowing with a friend online a little while ago, and the following are my answers to some of his questions:
If my views about some things at church really bother my spouse, then I should just keep them to myself?

Yes - or, at least, share them incrementally in dosages that are digestible. Too much of a good thing really can kill - and some things to which some are immune really can harm others.
If they are important and deep feelings, how are we to be close?

First, I don't want to be married to myself. I want to be married to someone who helps make me perfect - complete, whole and fully developed. That means she has to be different than I am in multiple and important ways. Part of being close is learning to accept, value and actually appreciate the differences. So,
I would answer . . .

By loving each other for who you each are, not for how you would like each other to be, as the ideal - and by being willing to do that for the other even if the other can't do that for you fully. (That is my dad's situation, since he simply can't share much of his perspective with my mom.) We tend to value total openness too much, and we forget sometimes the example of Mary when she "kept these things and pondered them in her heart."

The greatest of all is charity for a reason - and, I will add, I'm grateful for a theology that presents God as love embodied. We natural humans try to put limitations on that all the time, but, at the core principle level, unconditionally felt love is a noble, empowering goal. We still can feel love unconditionally even if there are natural conditions that affect how fully we can share love as a verb. I hope that makes sense.
I would assume your dad is able to do that because there are many other things that far outweigh the effort to keep your mom protected from some things, right?

Yes, if I understand what I think you tried to ask.

When her medication is working and she can be "herself", she is a wonderful woman. The thing is, however, that to be in that state, my dad really has had to "lay down his life" for her in all practical ways. Objectively, he has had a very different life than he would have had without her condition - and I'm fairly certain now, looking at it as an adult with my own family, that it wasn't a simple, easy thing to accept. It might have been a relatively easy decision to make given the alternative, but making a decision and accepting it are two different things. I believe he came to accept it more fully AS he lived it over time - and I think a major mistake many make is the false expectation of quick and easy acceptance. I know it wasn't easy for him, but he did it anyway.
Then there is no outlet for my feelings and each Sunday at church the classes bore me?

For thousands of years, for vast numbers of people, talking with God through prayer functioned as their only outlet. In our time, online groups can provide another outlet - but they also can diminish the direct prayer line as an outlet. There always can be an outlet, even meditation for those who just don't feel connected through traditional prayer. However, there is no "universal, natural" outlet, in the sense that we individually need to find what works for us.
Or I feel I just keep feelings to myself and don't feel a deep connection to the ward?

Construct a deep connection in some other way. Intellectual connection isn't necessary to deep connection with all. For example, you might stop going to church to feel intellectually connected and start going with the focused objective of getting to know people better and helping them in some way as individuals.

Also, make sure you make at least six or seven positive comments at church with which pretty much everyone can agree for every different perspective you introduce - and make sure you introduce those different perspectives in a way that isn't challenging in nature. Use me as "a friend" who once said, "_______________" - "which caused me to wonder _________" - if that makes it easier to introduce something that is different. 

These all might seem like idealistic responses, but the point is that instead of demanding that others make you happy and connected, try to be happy and connected independently (internally connected into the true vine, if you will) and work on accepting others simply for who they are at this point in their lives. Becoming more charitable changes the WAY you see people, which changes how close you feel to them, which changes the way you address people, which changes the way people react to you, which changes how close they feel to you.

Notice, how close you feel to them is independent of their acceptance of you, and that how close they feel to you is the last stage in that process. That's important to understand. 

It's losing and gaining and all that jazz.


Richard Alger said...

I continue to be amazed by the content you put up. Truly trying to be happy by connecting to the true vine. Seeing church not as a vehicle to happiness but to share your life. To pay it forward.

Your other comment referring to

Richard Alger said...

Made me think too. Heaven is where we live with real, sentient, human beings. Capable of loving us as we are. Who challenge us to improve. And we accept the challenges.

The key it to " just keep swimming". Never give up. Try try again. I love that about LDS Doctrine. It is so Buddist in many ways

Richard Alger said...

You also remind me of the 7 habits of highly effective people. There are 3 private habits. 3 public habits. And 1 to keep them all working in balance. We become independent with the first 3. We become healthily interdependent with the next 3.

Thanks always for your relentless ministry.

Unknown said...

My husband at times feels uncomfortable himself to talk about religion. The way I approach it is by asking him first if he'd be willing to hear me rant about religion. When he says "Yes," I'll tell him the topic before I go any further. Once he says, "That's fine." It's then I tell him what I was thinking. Taking this approach I've found to help us be totally open one with another without making the other person feel uncomfortable. As also, I get what I feel to be important across in time as I approach him with gentleness.