minority families…

Dear friends

Last week there was a policy announcement from church leadership. I wasn’t aware of it until Sunday, when after church meetings, Daur1 said it was mentioned in young women’s lesson and there is loads of comments on the Internet about it.  So, back home I looked up lds.org to see what it was about, for myself.

In my words, it’s that children of / within a same sex marriage couple can not be baptised until they are 18 years old. 

This seems perfectly reasonable to me – no point having a child baptised (we don’t believe in infant baptism, a child must be at least 8 years old) when their parents are in a situation which opposes those beliefs.  Regardless of how stable and how supportive those parents  may be of the child’s decision, at some point there will be conflict.  Either for the child or for one or both of the parents. And, I’m certain, for the child, it will be confusing at some point, even if eventually that child manages to mentally resolve it. I can refer to my own situation, which some of you may feel is not the same, but for me, it feels relevant.

My dear parents were never married, and, as far as I can tell, never lived together. I don’t know why – I’ve never asked, and I probably never will.  My Dad has a wife and children and a home.  He visited my Mum and us once a week.  For the bulk of my childhood I said nothing more than “Hello Daddy” and “Goodbye Daddy” at the start and end of an uncomfortable 20 minute visit where he money to my Mum and pocket money to us.  I am the oldest of his children.  My younger brother is younger than my oldest half sister, so you can work that out!  My relationship with my dear Father deserves a post of it’s own, so back to the point of this post.

I was in the clear minority at school, not only for my skin colour, for growing up in a single parent family, for “having no Dad” as my peers described, and I felt that as a ‘stigma’.  I knew I was loved and was very matter of fact with friends that asked, “do you have a Dad?” Response “yes!! Everyone does. He just doesn’t live with us.”

By the time I reached my teens, although I knew what was right in terms of civic society – not hurting, stealing, killing, lying – when it came to what was right in terms of my own personal welfare, well, I was in a state of confusion, particularly in terms of relationships, questions like what is the real, true position, God’s point of view, on premarital sex?  I was in search of personal peace, personal answers, as I was becoming an adult. I never felt able to ask my mother since I was fully aware that she had all of us out of wedlock.  And although my mother was firm, provided a Christian upbringing (Mum not affiliated with any particular church though I went to a pentecostal Sunday school) and and told us not to ‘drink from the governor’s cup’ (or some strange phrase where the governor and his cup was an innuendo for sexual activities), it was a struggle, at least for me to reconcile this with her own actions.  (You may judge me as weak because of that).  Once I had the opportunity to learn more, I made a choice, to make and keep covenants with God, and I found peace. 

So, what am I saying? I’m saying when it comes to eternal matters, our choice matters.  And most of us, when we reach adulthood, will have the ability to choose things in this life.  And quite simply I believe that our Father is fair and that 18 years in any loving home where respect is taught for parents, with one, two, male, female, black, white, parents, is beneficial for our eternal welfare – family love can be learned and that is fundamental.  There will be time, and I feel, time to make and keep sacred covenants once we individually make that choice…

I’m probably not explaining this very well.  It may be difficult enough to grow up in a minority-type family, so why would our Father want to make it worse for his children in such a situation.  So I totally accept this policy statement as Father’s will.  And I fail to understand why others feel this shows intolerance or a degree of being unfair.  I expect the reason it wasn’t explicit before is because same sex marriage is a new situation.  Thankfully, revelation is always relevant and for the times in which we live.

outnumbered: days 8 to 10

Dear friends

I am writing this retrospectively, things got busy!

Day 8 – finished clearing out the garage, well, one big card board box left and the single wardrobe occupying the middle zone – we were all pleased with our efforts; my Mum offered to buy us dinner – so that was chicken and chips again – the defrosting meat was put in the fridge 😉  I missed Costco so a quick supermarket shop picking up baguette & melon for the church munch and mingle the next day.  The children asked but no, I haven’t told your father about taking up the hall carpet!

Day 9 – a bit of rain in the morning but we swung into the car park at church with 5 mins to go; inside the chapel was full of cooking smells!!  It was testimony meeting – we have a conference next week – and we filed into one of the back pews in front of a couple of elderly sisters, overhearing their comments on the testimonies shared… who’s he?…I can’t hear what she’s saying… Then our youth class where as we began I noticed one of the class members looking behind me, focused on the wall; within seconds the other class members were looking and one said, is that a really big… SPIDER! I turned to be faced with a large, but slow moving spider. I leapt across the room but amid cries of ‘kill it’, I did rescue it after we got a large bowl by throwing it outside.  Finally back home and I cooked – rice & chicken (yes, we love chicken), cheesy bread rolls, banana bread. Still nothing said about the hall carpet.

Day 10 – I track flight 652 during the day – my last check in places it north Africa having crossed the Sahara desert – 2 hours to touchdown.  A trip to the music store, three books bought, flute-piano-piano, one on order; I resist buying the latest easy Disney and flute Les Miserables.  Back home, I clean the kitchen floor; and all troops are mobilised into positive action.  Children are starting to get nervous about Dad’s reaction to no carpet in the hall. 
It’s raining, windy and cold, when my dear husband arrived back in town – I even turned the heating on for him!  Entering the house, the carpet, it’s great is his response – and I exchanged knowing glances with our children. 

I am grateful to have my dear husband back.  The last week or so has been a great learning time for us all. From Doctrine and Covenants section 122:

If thou art called to pass through tribulation… and above all, if the very jaws of hell shall gape open the mouth wide after thee, know thou, my son [my daughter], that all these things shall give thee experience, and shall be for thy good.

outnumbered: days 6 to 7

Dear friends

Day 6 – Much to say about everything today. A refreshing start with a solo run – our eldest daughter has caught a cold from her sister who caught it from their dear father who began suffering days before travelling. Solo was fine – it was a beautiful, sunny morning – a time for thought and prayer.

Back home, after my shower, the children began to wake. Our eldest son has maths revision class in school today, leaving our eldest daughter to baby sit.  I could foresee the day – much Dragons (Cressida Cowell), DC comics films, some homework and cheesy tuna pasta for lunch.  But the younger two will be happy!!  I came back yesterday to find our youngest daughter with partially straightened hair – our eldest daughter having used my old tongs we found in the garage – and a burnt ear! That’s when they stopped 😉

A completely hectic day at work… 2 meetings plus site visit which came to 4 hours on site; engineers not attending when they’re meant to; explaining why lime (not cement) render was specified; an architect off sick with feasibility study due; work placement student in on Monday (fortunately I don’t have to look after them this time); and no proper lunch = I grabbed a cookie and a cereal bar – no bread to pack a sandwich = expecting to buy something more substantial but no time for that.

Fortunately, there was enough chicken sauce from last night for a second dinner of chicken and rice. I should have added vegetables to the rice as a variation!!  I must ensure we don’t appear malnourished when my dear husband arrives back home!

Day 7 – Dedicated but slack mum continues!  Brunch (cereal & toast), milkshakes while out, pizza and ice cream back home, hot chocolate and cheese on toast…; no need for me to wonder why there’s never any bread!  A few years back and I used to make our bread, rolls by hand, loaves in the breadmaker. But gradually I got out of the habit, the breadmaker broke, the children got older, we earned a little more so could afford to buy sliced bread. But I bought bread flour today so I might do some this weekend – it always tastes so good and we never ate so much – it must be healthier.

I dropped round some photocopying at my Dad’s this evening – he is well enough and appreciated me attending the funeral of our cousin last week. He had dropped by in the middle of the week when I was at work with some paperwork to copy and met the children home, alone, in the garden trampolining and inside (our eldest son is 16 so there’s no babysitting issue). Dad then asked me, with a pitying look, this evening,  how I was coping.  With what,  I thought, so I said, what do you mean?  “How do you cope with the children, I mean, the little ones don’t speak.”  I laughed, Oh, they do, just a bit shy around some people.  I know they shouldn’t be around family but they are and you can’t force anyone,  they’ve got to choose.  I didn’t say that last sentence but as I left, I thought on how ‘coping’ sounds like I’m dealing with something final or long lasting, not temporary.  I know our children and they know me and their father; we love and understand each other and that intimacy in our family is something that only we understand.  I think that’s the same in most families.  I’ve never lived with my father,  I grew up with my mother; nothing is going to change that now and however much I love and care for my father,  I feel we will never have that closeness that I enjoy with my mother, and in some way, which I never intended, that has affected the grandfather/ grandchild relationship.

We watched Epic this evening:

many leaves, one tree

I like that phrase.  Some of us are simply far apart on those branches but we’re still there for each other 🙂