::pack:: of fixations



life after tragedy. living while grieving. love and triplets.

10.13.2012

My Church

We are headed on a family vacation that I previously could've only dreamt about.  We are going on our family's very first rode trip.  First stop Vegas (to rest our legs) which is half way to our final destination Newport Beach!  We've never been to Newport & are staying in a house just steps away from the beach.  We are going to take full advantage of the beach & all the time in the world to just be together.  To me, my family is my Church.  Being together enjoying one another making memories is when I feel my spirituality is at its peak.  

Last night I was at the grocery store picking up some snacks for the road and a little blonde blue eyed boy about 18 mos old caught my eye.  He was just with his Daddy & I stared as much as I could without creeping out the Daddy.  He was curious by me as well.  It took my breathe away when they ended up in the check-out line behind me and I mouthed the words "hi baby".  I'd been crying all day and all the days before that.  My crying always starts out in the mornings.  It's practically impossible to get my act together from about 9am-145pm.  Every morning is like waking up from a nightmare.  Colum.  He used to wake me up with his quiet growling and then would drag his empty bottle along the railings of his crib,a little bit of gibber and then some more growling.  Loud enough to wake up his sleeping pill induced Momma but quiet enough to not wake brother.  I'd sneak him out of their bedroom quiet as I could all the while he'd be grinning ear to ear thrilled that he'd accomplished his mission.  I cry because that little boy doesn't wake me up with his growl anymore.  I wake up to the aches & pains of my slowly healing body.  I miss him, I miss all of him.  

There are a lot of times when I just can't escape this pain.  I get trapped and there's a tug-a-war on my heart strings; one is hurting, aching, out of touch with the rest of the world, & I enjoy escaping to my very own planet of grief.  While the other one is in the real world with Finn, full of energy, happiness, and where a Mommy should be at all times.  Finn knows his new Mommy who cries all the time and that sometimes I'm out of touch.  He knows why I'm crying, it's boring, & I'm not very fun...  Luckily Ryan is able to make up for what I lack.  The Taylor Swift song "Ronan" has been on repeat this week while I've packed and tears stream down my face.  I assume my eyes are permanently puffy & I can't remember what they used to look like for I can't remember a day that I haven't cried.  Sometimes I feel like I'm so lucky to have had the chance to love this much.  My arms ache for my baby, my ears yearn to hear him, and my heart is forever broken yearning for him.

Where we live is where we were both born and raised and there's a dominant faith & we were both brought up that way.  Ryan lost interest in middle school & his parents weren't as strict as mine & that's basically the way he was when I met him.  My journey was a lot more complex and drawn out.  Where we live not going to church is looked down upon & it's not uncommon for parents to not let their children play with 'non-members'.  Around the age of middle school I secretly knew I needed to get out of here so I could freely have the option and explore what my spirituality is and what church and God meant to me.  I wanted to go where nobody knew me & I could skip Church or try out another one just for fun without people judging or worrying about me.  I wanted to meet new people that had different faiths and really form my own opinion of what i believed from my own point of view and not what I was taught.  I always disliked going to church and there was something unnerving about one way of thinking, doing, and feeling.  I dislike feeling all the pressure and expectations & maybe that's not church's fault but maybe I put too much of that on myself.  I understand the big picture but something in the details; the small print at the bottom it just didn't work for me and who I was.  I had little to no self esteem and lacked confidence.  I think church can be good.  I think church can be beautiful.  I think church gives people comfort, security, and helps to heal, but I also think church can be a place where people compare themselves to others, a place of judgement, and to me that is a false representation of God.   In church I learned you couldn't find joy or you would never be happy without it, you'd be lost.  We needed to convert every one we could so they can be happy like us.  It was of absolute importance to go to those meetings in that building with a steeple, follow those rules, feel a certain way, and you would be blessed.  But the truth was I knew that deep down I wasn't happy.  Finding & discovering what made me happy was a 10 year journey for me, it didnt happen overnight.  I gave myself permission to be free.  I understand that a lot of people will never understand & even find this quite unsettling.  But all i ask is that you please try & respect the way we are because we respect the way you are.  I know it's a huge embarrassment to my parents and they pray that I'll return someday & this breaks my heart. Ryan & I have lived in our house for over 10 years and still didn't know 98% our neighbors. (note: a lot of people have been so  kind and reached  out to us and brought us dinners & helped us out so much post-accident & we are so thankful) The ones right next door to us; they are the Bishop and his family.  I will be 5 feet away from them, we make eye contact, I begin to lift my hand to  wave, but stop because  they almost always pretend they don't know I'm standing right there, look away and pretend they don't see me.   And it's all because of the building we don't go to on Sundays.  But ever since the accident they have been so kind to put our garbage out for the garbage man & we are so ever grateful, & hopefully they will start to wave ;).

To me there's something much bigger, something that makes me feel like I'm at the             right place at the exact right time.  Something that brings me joy & gives me a sense of 
security.  My Family.  When I'm with them I'm at my happiest.  I believe people from all 
different faiths and from all walks of life can come to my church.  You will be welcomed, 
there's no one taking attendance, or telling you what's wrong or right.    I'm happiest when I'm at my church.  I know how to be a good person and I believe being good and doing good is the best religion for me.  For a lot of people going to that building is the best for them, it's what makes them feel happy and helps them, gives them direction.  But in the end we are all after the same thing.  To learn to live happily


I've never once questioned God.  I never once have gotten angry at God and                 asked him why?  My God didn't do this, a man who made poor decisions did.                    
I don't believe God took Colum from us.  I'm still trying to figure out what I believe about the after life but I know I do believe my God knows my heart and will love me despite what or if I go to a building with a steeple on Sundays.  I still miss  as much as I did in the beginning.  And I know I will miss him until the day I die.  But I do have 9 whole days of church to look forward to.




62 comments:

  1. Wow, I could have written the part of the post about religion. I too grew up in a very religious house, forced to go to church. Once I moved out on my own I never went back. It's not that I don't believe in anything. It's just that I'm not sure exactly what that is and I think that's ok. We don't need to have all of the answers. The is the one thing in my life that disapoints my parents and I'm ok with that too. It's tough when you feel like your friends are limited to those that don't feel like going to a church is a necessity to be your friend. But, I feel so much better living my life the way that feels true and right to me and teaching my children that the religious ideas my parents tell them are just that "ideas" and that it's best to come up with your own ideas about religion that ring true to you.

    Have fun on your trip. I am sending you positive thoughts filled with love in the hopes that you find some relief.

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  2. I honestly have to say that I couldn't have written this any better than you. I have been raised the same way, and gone through the same things as you because my children although raised in the church (and have all left) were never good enough for the neighbors to play with because their dad wasn't a member. I have left also. I've always felt like my family is my live and I love to spend time with them. So well written.

    I hope you have a really good time on your church vacation. It will be good for you.

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  3. Love this! I grew this exact same way, however decided to take a break from the church and steeple and decide for myself what I truly believed. My grandparents are always asking me when I am going to come back and go through the even bigger building with the even bigger steeple. I just dont think it's for me. I am happy and I love my husband and I love my 2 precious girls. What more could you ask for. I believe in god and I believe we will see our loved ones again someday. But I agree why do we have to go to the church to prove our faith to everyone else.

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  4. I've never commented but have followed your story from the beginning. I can't remember now how our blog paths crossed but here we are and today I wanted to leave a comment. I just want to say that though, some may think I'm a very religious person because I go to a church (building) on Sundays and want to do mission work over seas in the future, it wasn't until I moved away to attend College that I was FINALLY able to learn for myself what I believed and why and where I wanted to go from there. I do think church is important but I also believe that church isn't a building its relationships and I'm so glad and happy that you have a great church to feel TRUE, unjudgmental love for YOU! May you be blessed feel the love of your family and the God in Heaven who loves you! I hope I haven't offended you with my comment.

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  5. I love your church! because it's the same church I believe in. I feel bad for those that can't understand us. I truly believe it is there lost.
    Enjoy your vacation! Drive safe! The weather is California is going to nice compare to here, in Utah. That should help your body. Best wishes

    Melanie

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  6. Sounds like I have the same story as you and the others who commented about the Church. It's nice to know that I'm not alone. I could never understand what you've gone through. Keep writing, keep crying, keep going. I'll keep reading, keep thinking positive for you and keep praying, out a Church, but praying just the same.

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  7. Losing a child can make others unsure of how to talk to you. It has been almost 9 years now and I still run across people who can't seem to talk to me.

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  8. Kelly, you and your sweet family are in my thoughts daily. I will never understand why this had to happen to you but I admire your strength and courage.

    I know you are headed for a family vacation, and I understand if you want this time alone with your family but in case you are interested I live 10 min. from Newport Beach. We haven't seen each other in a very long time. Let me know if you ever want to get together.

    Lots of love,
    Trisha

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    1. Trish I would just love to see you! Message me okay!

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  9. Oh the beach is my ultimate favorite. I bet your Finn will have a blast with what we call an "endless sandbox" - my husband and I were there in August with our boys Crosby (who I could swear would have so much fun with Finn if ever they were introduced) and Lennox. It was all about digging in the sand! The ocean is mighty therapeutic, as I'm sure you know. I think your idea of church sounds lovely and I hope you can savor all 9 days of it.

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  10. Wow. Can't play with neighbors because they are not members of your church? How sad and clannish. I am so sorry. Kelly, we love you and Ryan and Finn and Colum. Without any reservation. Without any strings about what you believe. Jesus said, "In my Father's house are many mansions. I go to prepare a place for you." To me that says there are many, many paths to happiness. I believe that there is a caring, loving God who knows your pain and seeks to help you alleviate it. He wants you to be happy and joyful. I feel certain he is well pleased with the good you have done by sharing your painful experiences and insights with others. You have been instrumental in bringing about much good and are leaving the campsite much better than you found it.

    Your bishop cannot bring himself to WAVE to you? I am so sorry for him! Frankly I don't get it. At all.

    We wish you a wonderful, memorable, peaceful vacation that will bring much laughter, happiness and healing relaxation. Enjoy beautiful Newport Beach and enjoy the journey.

    You are a good example to me. I would like to be more like Kelly the Brave and Valiant. Hugs, dear!

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    1. We love you! Your kids are so lucky to have you as their Mom. I secretly wish you were mine sometimes...sssh. But I do love mine, I guess being my Aunt is the next best thing!

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  11. I love this post Kelly! I can understand this so much and in the place we live, you have to be brave and trust in yourself to be open about your differences of belief, or non belief. It's taken me years and years to get to this place, but I love it here, in your "church" and I'm happier in every possible way. You soak up every beautiful moment you can during this vacation and I hope it will sustain you through the difficult months coming up. I'm going to do that race again and I will be thinking of you guys the whole time. Tons of love coming your way.

    Heidi

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  12. Kelly,
    I love the way you write! You are amazing. I belong to the church you are talking about and I am saddened by the people that treat you that way. In my family only half of us go and my very very best friends are all nonmembers or inactive. They live on my street and our kids play freely. I am sorry that it's not that way for you. I am happy for you that you found your church. I wanted to let you know I won't judge you because of your choices. You have brought me closer to God although I never met you, I think you are very Christ like. You have humbled me and I appreciate all you do! Please know we all don't judge. You have strengthened my faith and continue to help me grow. I truly find you amazing no matter what church you do or do not go to!! Lots of Love from Southern Utah!!

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  13. how long are you going to be in Newport?? You are in my neck of the woods....it is supposed to be quite warm this weekend and early part of the week so it should make a lovely vacation for you!

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    1. Until Saturday, although we don't want to leave. We should really be job hunting but are being irresponsible & just hanging together xoxo. Let me know if you have any must see places! You are so lucky to live here!

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    2. did you get to Disneyland? the beaches are probably the best place to just hang out (and cheap too). There are of course all of the touristy things like Hollywood. What about South Coast Plaza - its a huge mall...way over my budget range but you see lots of things you'd never see otherwise. The great park in the mission viejo are may be fun. text me tomorrow if you want ideas or I may be able to help with Disney tickets (714-496-9415. Debbie

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    3. We are blocked for regular Disney sign in's on Friday...but I may be able to get single day tickets. Downtown Disney doesn't cost anything and you get the Disney "feel" just no rides (shopping and eating)

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    4. Irvine Park is nice too - they have a small zoo and a great pumpkin patch this time of year~ Just ideas.

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    5. Thank you! We went on Wed to Disney & had a blast! We are doing the Halloween on tonight. Mostly we've just gone to the beach...it's been so great! Thanks for the ideas! Don't know what we are doing today yet! .)

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    6. hope you had a great vacation! If you ever get out this way again be sure to let me know ahead of time...will get you in to Disneyland cheap :) prayers for a renewed spirit as you head home~

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  14. Kelly, I just love you. When you talk about blue-eyed blonds, I want to go wake Preslee up and cuddle her (she's also a blue-eyed blondy). I hope you know that there are a ton of people in this ward praying for you guys. Not praying that you will come to church. Just praying you guys will be okay. I'm sorry...you kind of live in a not-always-so-friendly neighborhood. That's just how we are. This street in front of you, that I live on, we will all tell you that there are a lot of times that we just stick to our own families and not venture out...especially in the winter. We need to be better. I have known the Bishop my entire life. I grew up in this ward. And that's just how their family is. Not always the friendliest and I'm sorry. I honestly don't think they look down on you because you don't go to church. They're just not super friendly. And the houses across the street from me are in a different ward, so they have no idea whether you go to church or not. And some of them are not active and nonmembers. While the adults aren't always super friendly to each other(we do have some very amazing neighbors, don't get me wrong). The children on this street are always outside playing with each other...member and nonmember...it doesn't matter. My daughter plays with the little girl across the street. I know they don't go to church, whether it's because they are inactive or nonmembers...I don't really know. But I just love their kids...so polite and respectful. Finn is welcome anytime. The last couple of days, about 4 or 5 little boys have been having sword fights in my front yard. He needs to join them. Most of them are a little older than Finn, but Truman's almost 4. Isn't Finn 4? Truman and Braylee are little buddies. He calls her his girlfriend :) Braylee's almost 5, but those two would love to play with Finn. I have a massive sandbox, so when you get back from the real beach and Finn is missing it, just send him over. Your kitchen floor will feel like he's been to the beach :)

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    1. Lets def get these kids of ours together. Finn needs some neighborhood friends! Thank you for everything ;)

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  15. I was so happy when you guys came to the Easter egg hunt. We will do that again next year, so you need to come. And we used to do a 4th of July breakfast, but we haven't for a few years. We need to get on top of that and do more fun things as a neighborhood. I don't know what you are doing for Halloween, but we usually have Trunk-or-Treat at the Church. I haven't heard anything about it this year, yet, but I will find out. And I've seen inactive families there. Nobody cares. One thing you need to know about our ward is that it is such a transient ward. We have so many apartments, that sometimes it is so hard to know who is new or whatnot. So many move-in and outs. It, also, does make it less friendly then some wards probably are. And I agree, there will always be judge-mental people wherever you go. And no it's not Christlike. And honestly, you guys are more Christlike then some people who do go to Church. And it has amazed me that you have never once, in any of your posts, blamed God. I've thought about it and I've wondered if I could do that. If something this tragic happened to me, would I be able to be like Kelly. I think your amazing and very Christlike. And I think that's what matters...that we learn to love each other the way Christ does. My mom's the RS Pres. and she says all the time, that she believes we will be judged on how we treat our neighbors and family and friends. You definitely have the right idea. And I'm so sorry this is a novel, but I want you to know that I don't care if you come to church...I still want to hang out sometime. I just haven't wanted to interrupt your family time. But we really do need to get together. And God does love you...for you. And that's why I believe that you will be with Colum again. And you will get to raise him in the afterlife. Because God isn't a horribly mean person. He is a loving Heavenly Father who loves all of us and he would never not let you see your son again. He wouldn't do that to you, Ryan, and Finn. And I'm so happy you get to go on vacation!!! And a little jealous (: I hope you have a blast and we need to hang out when you get home. Braylee got a free pass to Hee Haws in PG. We should go, if you want. Just let me know. (so sorry about this being the longest comment ever. I had to have 2 comments because it wouldn't let me post it as one. It was too long! So sorry)

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  16. I have been a lifelong member of this church you speak of. So often we're taught to seek church doctrine for comfort. I find it so strange that your post has explained exactly what I have internally been struggling with for quite some time. I admire you for seeking out things for yourself, because I know it is not as easy thing to do surrounded by family and friends who are members of this church because the judgement is swift and harsh. You exude a special spirit just through your writing and I can imagine that being in your presence would be more accepting and loving than walking through any church doors. Thank you for this. I don't know if I'm brave enough to follow in your footsteps but you have given me much to think about. I'm so sorry for the loss of your sweet baby but you are in the thoughts of many you have touched without even realizing it. Have a wonderful vacation.

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  17. Wow, you took the words right out of my mouth. I've been there, done that. I spent the first few years trying to 'pretend' like I was still active. I showed up to church, put on a happy face because that is what you are suppose to do, right?? Then one day something clicked...I realized that pretending did me NO good. That day I decided that I would no longer hide. I would post pictures on my blog of me in a....wait for it....tank top! Oh the horrors, but you know what I'm saying...I would no longer speak as though I was the little Molly girl who did everything she was suppose to. The crazy thing is that I live with the same values I did then, it's just that I don't worry what anyone else thinks about me. I don't do service to do a service project. I do service to help others...I have friends from all walks of life, all religions with no questions asked. It has been so liberating. I no longer look at others and try to see the bad so I can feel better about myself. I feel like I am truly a better person for not going to church, as backwards as that sounds. I spend my time with my family...we enjoy our sundays with Quality time, and in my heart I feel like that is what God intended. Thank you for speaking up, I wish I could write as well as you because the words you wrote really could have come straight from my mouth. You go girl!!

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  18. My life has been filled with various tragedies. Because it is my life it is just that, my life. My foundation was rocked when my husband took a rifle and blew his head off. So many people had so many thoughts on this event. My faith was altered but I still believe. How sad for those that are so rigid that everyone else must be wrong. I know that pain didn't kill me although I surely thought it would. I know that no God would have chosen this for me or him. Yes, my religious views changed, but I still believe in the good. Kelly you give me faith each time you write a post. There are many of us who feel your pain. Relief is like a grain of salt. It takes a while to accumulate enough to realize you have a substantial amount. Time is a blessing. Lisa

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  19. You and Ryan are such kind, loving people. I was touched by your kindness and generosity from the moment I met you. There needs to be more people like you in the world. I hope you know how much your family is loved. You have to do what makes you happy. Finding what makes us happy is what life is all about. Family is definitely a reason to be happy! I hope you have a wonderful vacation on the beach. There's something magical about the ocean. And we need to get "Wind Boy" and "Ghostwind" together again. ;)

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  20. I joined the church when I was 20. My husband was in the Navy and stationed in Idaho Falls! We did not attend church regularly as kids and were searching for the right fit for our spiritual needs. We were baptized in Ogden. Our church family were the only people we knew in Idaho. During that time our newborn daughter passed away and the outpouring of support was incredible. We stayed with the church for 3 years when we both came to the conclusion that it was not the right fit for us. Then the 'change' happened - complete stop of neighborly waves, hello's in the grocery store and the my child is no longer available for play dates and it hit us very hard. We never disparaged the church or our ward. It just wasn't for our family. That was in 1990. My church today is my family! Our motto is, read the bible, follow the ten commandments and remember what you learned in kindergarten! You and Ryan sound like awesome parents :o)

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  21. I am a member of that church as well. I can totally see what you are saying about people being judgmental and competitive and everything else. The people of the church are far from perfect. But God is a perfect and loving God, as you already know. And I believe that Colum is watching over you and that you WILL be with him again. I hope someday you will believe that too and find comfort in knowing it. I pray for you every day. My life is so similar to your life. We look alike. Our kids are the same ages and look alike. They have the same outfits. It could have been me living the Hell that you are living. It still could be me. Every time I think about you I am more grateful for my boys. And I say a little prayer for you.

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  22. Wow, I never thought that someone not waving would seem to be judged as unfriendly. I am not from Utah so I do not get the Utah mentality of Mormons. I am from a not so highly populated Mormon community. I have a husband who is shy. For him talking to someone is hell. It drives me INSANE! I don't want him to be perceived as rude or unkind. He is shy. I have done all I can to try and pull him out of his shell. Nope. He would rather suffer and not have something than ask someone something. Some people are just that way. Maybe the same is for your Bishop. Maybe he can learn from you. If you go out of your way and wave, not stop, might help them to make changes. Maybe it won't. But at least in the long run, you will have done your part.

    Happy vacation!

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    1. Our driveways are connected & we will be right next to each other. I've lived next door & waved my ass off for eleven years...without getting so much as a nod. To most humans it is RUDE, in fact it's down right insulting. I "have done my part". Please keep your passive aggressive comments to yourself in the future.

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    2. My comment was not meant to be rude or hurtful. I am sorry if you felt that way. I was just simply trying to explain to you the way that some people are and that it might not be their intention. It might not even have to do with the fact that you do not go to church. MOST of my friends are not Mormon. Everyone is fighting their own battles and we may not know why they are the way they are. Just like I will never understand the battle you are facing, you may never understand the battles they are facing.

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    3. Sometimes it seems as if people use being "shy" as an excuse for being rude. It's okay to be a little uncomfortable but still raise our hands and give a little wave and a smile or a nod. Most people aren't asking for a long conversation or even a hug for pete's sake! Just wave. It's simple, easy and kind. We should all remember, if we are not waving at our neighbors on a regular basis, we are being rude. Yes, we are all fighting our own battles but being acknowledged sure sometimes helps to lighten the load. -Andrea

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    4. In my opinion being "shy" to the extent of ignoring people isn't shy; it's snobbery.

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    5. Only someone who is painfully shy or lives with someone who is can understand... It is paralyzing. I used to be so shy I would physically shake if someone waved to me, to not wave back wasn't "snobbery" it was just not possible.

      I doubt that is the case with this bishop, but if he is taking out her trash cans... seems like he is trying.

      I am surprised at disappointed at all of you. Sounds to me like that person who made the first comment was just trying to be nice, not "passive aggressive" and got rude in return. For people who are upset by someone not being kind to them you are sure quick to be unkind to others.

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    6. Well, I have been painfully shy my entire life, so I DO understand. I also understand that when someone extends kindness to you, and you ignore it, it is RUDE, not shy. If you decide you do not need to acknowledge somebody's act of kindness (or even just acknowledge someone who is acknowledging YOU) then it is snobbery; sorry, but it is. Get over yourself, is what it comes down to. As I explain to my painfully shy four-year old, "It is not going to hurt you to say hi." And guess what?! He is coming out of his shell! He has learned that it actually feels good to be nice. Holy hell!! A four year old can do it, so can an adult; we, as adults should know better, and sometimes we just need to make ourselves do things that are hard, because they are RIGHT.

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  23. I am so sorry that your Bishop and neighbor are that way. I have been very lucky in my neighbor. I am not a member of the church, never have been and as a child was treated as an outcast by many. However, when I moved into the house I am currently in my neighbor was the Bishop. He has always been outgoing and kind and truly what I would think a Bishop should be. He has never sent missionaries to our house to preach (though when my husband was deployed he did send them over to weed my front yard with my permission) and has always left us alone in regards to religion. I know that so many members of the church are like your neighbor and I truly feel sorry for them because they will never get to know some truly wonderful people such as yourself and my little family because we choose to be different from them.
    I love your choice of "church" and truly believe that if we are good people and lead by example that is really what is wanted of us in the long run. It doesn't matter if we worship in a building with a steeple or not.
    Have a great vacation and enjoy your time with your little "church."

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  24. When I was a teenager, I was active in the church and every time someone was less active, when they would show up they would get all the care and concern and sometimes would make me feel left out because I was active and therefore they didn't think they needed to worry about me. I moved away for a job after high school and during that time I found out was really was important to me and for me that did include the feelings I would get at church. I think it is important for everyone to be able to figure out the most important things to them and what makes them happy without being judged (whether or not it includes going to church, it's a very personal thing). I don't think just because someone is active in church makes them a good person or that they are a bad person if they don't go to church. I have a saying in my house by Mother Theresa, my favorite part is the end where it says: it is between you and God, it never was between you and them anyway

    http://prayerfoundation.org/mother_teresa_do_it_anyway.htm

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  25. Sadly that seems to be the culture of the state you're in. So sorry it's had such a negative impact on your family. Outside of the state it's not anything like that. My husband was one of 3 in his high school graduating class, and I've never been in the religious majority (or racial majority either). That kind of environment seems to temper the kind of behavior you've experienced. We now (on purpose) have chosen a school for our kids that has super high academic standards, but just a sprinkling of other members. They see it illustrated in real life that we're all God's children and all ok and all have good to offer. I'm grateful to be in a state that has other members but isn't super saturated. We've chosen to not pursue jobs there because I didn't want to have to deal with the saturation issues that are so prevalent...and my "mixed" brown kids would stick out. I know you have a really long road of physical healing ahead of you...is moving out of state ever an option? Good luck with your continued healing. Have fun on your vacation. There are many of us out there that think of you often.

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  26. Beautiful and so well-stated Kelly. Love to you and your family. Hope you're having a blast on your church retreat!!!! ;)

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  27. Have a great time on your church vacation. You and your sweet family deserve to relax and enjoy life. I am a convert to the church (that you grew up with)and I lived in Utah. I now live in Oregon. Some members are judgemental anywhere you live and I understand how you feel...but my husband always tells me the church is perfect (Jesus Christ love) but the people are not. You are loved. You are important. You have a wonderful gift of writing.

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  28. It makes me so sad that members of the church treat others that way. I guess maybe it's a west coast thing. There's not a big enough population of us where i live to treat people any differently but if there was, I wouldn't. It makes me really sad. Jesus said love everyone right? Even if they don't go to the same building as you on Sunday.

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  29. This post healed ME after a rough evening of engaging in a conversation with family who believe desperately in following leaders and obeying rules and conforming to philosophies of men - and pity me for not holding the same view. I still attend that Church because God has told me I need to help people, so if I can find the strength, I will continue to do that under His hand and direction. You are actually speaking the words of God in that your family is your Church. That is truth!! Some people love "religion" but they miss the mark - the mark is God and He is the way to joy and happiness - not boring meetings, not rules that create EXTREME judgment amongst people. Family is love. Love is God. He desires all to come to Him and partake of His goodness and mercy, healing and grace. I was seriously searching the Internet for something to soothe me and you've done it. It means so much to me that you shared this. xoxo (arrowsmithchic)

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    1. You don't have to go to the building with the steeple to "help people." There are a lot of opportunities to help outside the rules of men. Follow your heart!!!

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    2. I hear ya! But the Lord has spoken to me with a specific instruction, and I try to always obey His voice.

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  30. Hi Kelly, Ryan and Finn, I am a Grandma from across the big pond and just had to comment but will probably be disliked by some of your followers for what I'm about to say. Yes it is totally rude and ignorant to ignore your neighbour and would also state downright unchristian of him. I too was brought up in the belief that you must go to church every Sunday but as I got older realised that you do not have to attend church to either be a believer or a good person. I saw that as well as there being nice people at church, there was also some not so nice. You Ryan and Finn should carry on the way you have been, you love each other and cannot go far wrong with that. May God Bless You all and little Column whom I believe you will see again one day. I love your idea of church and I'm sure the Lord does too. Take care and enjoy your well deserved vacation.

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  31. I don't go to the curch with the steeple either and only know 4 of our neighbors and only talk to 2 of them. For your neighbor that's "the bishop"....that's truely sad and their loss. You, Ryan, Finn, and Colum are an awesome family. You shouldn't have to go to church and do what they say for them to talk to you or even acknowledge you. Enough about that, I might say things to offend others.
    When I heard the song Ronan for the first time, I cried and instantly thought of you guys.
    I hope you all have having a great time on your vacation!!

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  32. Interesting that you say that your family is your church. Just the other day, Jeff said that when we go visit Norah at the hospital, that is our going to church. And we go every day.

    I know we've talked about this topic, but I really admire you for blogging about it. I was THIS close to doing something similar, but decided against it at the last minute.

    Oh, and do you know anything about Taoism, or The Tao? It is the origin of the yin and yang symbol. It isn't about religion, rather it is about the way (often "the tao" is translated to "the way") the world is with the balance of darkness and light, sweet and sour, pain and pleasure. It's amazing, and so beautiful. In fact - I think we have an extra copy of one of the translations - I'll send it if you're interested! I'd also recommend Tao of Pooh. It's uses Winnie the Pooh's wisdom and simplicity to express profound wisdom.

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  33. I remember you talking about this when we went to lunch together with a few girls. I mentioned the experience I had with my Grandpa, when my daughter was being born. I remember you cried. But, can't remember if I ever had a chance to answer your question. Yes, I do believe that there is more after we die and I do believe that we go somewhere beautiful. I don't believe all of what I was taught in the church with the steeple, about where that place is, or what it is, or what you have to do to get there. I learned on my own and know what's in my heart. My religion is the same as yours. My family. I know that we are good, honest, hard working people, and we play hard together as a family. That's where my joy is. In my family.

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  34. A recent essay in the Chronicle of Higher Education made the following point

    I for one am afraid that American culture's overemphasis on happiness at the expense of sadness might be dangerous, a wanton forgetting of an essential part of a full life. I further am concerned that to desire only happiness in a world undoubtedly tragic is to become inauthentic, to settle for unrealistic abstractions that ignore concrete situations. I am finally fearful of our society's efforts to expunge melancholia. Without the agitations of the soul, would all of our magnificently yearning towers topple? Would our heart-torn symphonies cease?

    This is something I've been thinking about for a long time. Obviously, feeling happy is a good thing, but what about feeling sad? One of the most interesting parts of Mormonism, for me, is its fundamentally tragic view, not only of life, but also of the afterlife. Good and evil, happiness and sorrow, must always exist together, because there is a necessary "opposition in all things." Even God cannot reconcile the competing contradictions and thus, in Mormon scripture, we find a "weeping" God. God is love, but loving means caring, and caring means as much sorrow as happiness. It seems to me that Mormonism does not promise so much a life that is happy, but a life that is full; not a pleasant life, but a rich life; not an existence of unending bliss, but of eternal creation. And creation is often born out of sorrow, like a heart-torn symphony.

    So, next time you are sad, be happy that you are sad. A life without sadness is not a divine life. It is not even a human life. It is a life without love.

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  35. I wanted to share the following link with you - it is the story around why the song "Ronan" was written:
    http://www.ksl.com/?nid=1011&sid=22091375

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  36. I have been following your blog for a long time and have never posted. Today when I read this post I felt a rush of emotions that brought me to tears as do most of your posts but this one particularly hit me in a way that made me feel like I was not alone. I live in a "church with the steeple" dominated community, which I was not raised in. My husband was raised in the church with the steeple, however he is the only 1 of 5 children to leave the church, which his family has never forgiven. We have been married for 15 years and have a beautiful 8 year old son. I have never been welcome in his family, and even more so now that we have a child that we didn't have blessed in the church. Your post was absolutley beautifully written!! Our church is our little family of 3 as well and I never could of expressed my feelings as eloquently as you did, I have always wanted too but don't have the courage!! You are a beautiful person with a strong heart and love for your famliy, I admire you for that!! :) I hope you have a wonderful vacation. Love and blessings from Chandler, Arizona

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  37. Kelly, I have never posted on your blogs but I have followed your blog for a long time. I noticed you have been listening to Ronan. I love that song. Ronan died from childhood cancer. His mom Maya Thompson actually has a blog. Maybe you can check it out sometime. The website is rockstarronan.com. Its a wonderful blog. She talks about how she missed Ronan and she is trying to make a difference on childhood cancer. Also, I'm so happy Finn, Ryan and you are able to take the dream vacation you have always wanted to take. Colum is right there with you. Well have a wonderful time!

    Kendra

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  38. OMG! I am so relieved that someone else out there shares my point of view. My story is very similar to yours except that my family gets my point of view and my husbands family does not. They look at us with pity and one of them even told me that by "not just going along with everyone else" I am slamming the door on my childrens salvation. My husband and children are my life. They are my everything and I do what my heart tells me is right and it's not following a list of rules/commandments/words of wisdom that someone else thinks are right. I DO believe in God and that this life is as close to Hell as I'm ever gonna get. I say that because of not only my suffering but the suffering all of us have to go through while on this Earth.....sometimes I even think going through all of this to gain a physical body is not worth it (especially when I end up with my body). LOL Totally joking here people, calm down. I'm grateful for all the wonderful things in my life, especially my family. Gotta remind myself, daily, NOTHING ELSE MATTERS!

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  39. Kelly, you are an amazing human being. I too am from a heavily LDS populated area (Idaho Falls) and when I grew up I was the one that was not allowed to play with the neighborhood kids because I didn't go to church. I don't nor have I EVER felt comfortable in that church. I am with you, my church is my family and nature. I have started going to Calvary Chapel of Idaho Falls since 2009, but only every so often. I went quite a bit after I lost my brother last year but not so much recently. But you know what? When I go there I am welcomed with loving arms and not a judgmental soul, it is wonderful! I feel sooooo comfortable there. I too had to search for what God and religion meant to me and I can say I found it. But not at a church, it was within me. In my heart and soul. May God bless you everyday Kelly. I hope that I am fortunate enough to say that to you in person one day!!
    Lots of Love coming your way!!
    Have a WONDERFUL vacation!!!

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  40. Wow, Thanks Kelly for sharing. This is my experience as well. Raised LDS but left. The only neighbors I know are the other heathens! It is so surprising to read so many comments from others who are experiencing the same thing. I think because we aren't a part of that larger community we feel isolated. I too, feel my church is my family and the way I treat others. I posted once before about you inspiring me to find a way to be with my boys more, never taking them for granted, and following my dreams. I'm happy to report, I did open that side business and it's doing well! I'm writing adoptive home studies and I love it. I've also found a way to be home more in my little church. Enjoy your well deserved trip.

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  41. Move to Florida! We will love you here and take care of you if you attend church or not! And we will see to it that your "bishop" gets released asap.

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  42. Wow. Good for you. I know exactly how you feel - I'm trying my best to be brave about leaving the church as well. I've been gathering up the courage for FOUR years now to come clean about it to my family and friends, rather than to continue living a lie and it's been the toughest thing I've ever done. I've just started documenting it in my blog if you'd like to read about it. It's snarkymarci.com I'd love for you to read and keep in touch about your own journey. It's so so so so difficult when you live here. I'm grateful for people like you who have the courage to be honest about it. I would love to have a friend in it, if you ever want to chat. Please email me.

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  43. SnarkyMarci.com

    (It was kind of lost in my text in the last post.) - Maybe we should all get together - I wish I knew how to get in touch with everyone else in here who's feeling isolated and alone. We could use some friends!

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  44. Love this post! I feel the same way! xo

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