Last night we had a great discussion about the work that we do in the temples. KB made a statement that has rattled around in my mind and really caused me to take a deeper look at how I choose to live my life. She pointed out that one of our adversaries "fantastically successful" plans is that of division and separation, anything he can do to separate us from God and others. And, on the other hand, Gods plan is that of uniting and gathering, including and inviting.
Like I've said, I've been pondering this statement and it's caused me to consider the boundaries I've established for myself to keep me safe. Safe from others and safe from their cruelty. I'm a simple person and that's okay, but others make fun of it. I know what it is like to be bullied and the butt of the joke. I know what it is like to be singled out and picked on.
For example, when I was a young teenager the kids in my neighborhood liked to pick on me. There was a club, The Racket Club, near the end of our street. It had a pool and tennis courts. A lot of us would spend many of our summer days there. One day I was "tortured". I was held face down and whipped with a towel for a long time. Several people held each of my limbs so I couldn't escape or even wiggle that much. This occurred in a very open place, a yard right across the very small street of the Racket Club. Adults who came to their cars heard me yelling for help, but the group of kids was so large they called back to the adults and said we were all okay. This wasn't the only thing they did to me throughout my teen years, but I think that was the worst. I can tell you, it hurt more than just my body. That was one of the many experiences that had a profound affect on my self esteem and it shaped who I am and who I trust.
I really, really don't like mean people. I don't get offended very easily, but when people are intentionally mean, I get offended. I can understand being mean, I've been mean, who hasn't? BUT, it's not a part of who I am and I don't like it and I don't want to be that way. I don't like being around people who are unconcerned about how mean they are and how they are mean. I listen to what people say about others. Do they say a lot of critical things? Do they gossip a lot? Do they treat their other friends and family with respect? Do they praise the accomplishments of others or make condescending remarks? Are their primary topics of conversation about peoples weaknesses? I try to avoid and shut these people out of my life.
With that said, is my boundary of division and separation really benefitting me? Am I more equipped, than I once was, to tolerate these people? What if some of these people are people I worship with on Sunday? What if they are family? What if they are co-workers? What if they are people I will be around regardless of where I am or what I do? I can't change other people, but I can change how I think about them and interact with them. I think it's time for me to reevaluate some of my boundaries. I know they evolve over time as our experiences and circumstances change. I would rather gather and invite than exclude and reject. And that is a hard thing to think about, but I don't want to stop growing. I want to become the best me I can be. God loves all people, even those who treated Him with cruelty and eventually killed Him. I'm trying to get closer to loving with that kind of love.
So, to circle back to the beginning of this entry, I am grateful for my daughter. I hope to teach her and equip her to live and thrive in this turbulent world. I hope she NEVER has horrible experiences like mine. And, I know I can't shelter her from everything. I know she will make her own choices. BUT, I can invite her to learn. I can teach her to love and to create healthy boundaries. And when she is hurt, I want her to understand that turning to the Lord will give her peace and healing. He invites. He gathers. He includes. He unites. He heals. He understands. His love never fails.
There, now that I've cleared my mind, I have to include some O stories. What blog entry is complete without her?
O loves to take out my pans and make noise, music. The other day I heard her making rimshots over and over again. I asked what was going on and she replied, “I’m making a joke in my head and then playing the drums.”
One morning O screamed and cried as if she’d been hurt. I asked her what was wrong, I could see she was doing her fake cry. She said there was something gross in the kitchen, it was a big chicken. I laughed and laughed. I had our easter turkey on the counter thawing.
O was getting ready to go over to a friends house and she showed and told me what she was taking. “I’ve got my ID, my phone, my copier (voice recorder) and my sparkly things, just incase we need some sparkle.”