You can compare them to my children.
Family photos first:
|Before the baby. (early 70's)|
|After the baby, same dress and pants :-)|
Don't we look so cute?!! We started off so very well!! The gospel became a part of our family and my parents were sealed just before I was born. During my teenage years things began to fall apart. I already documented some of my father's sorrows (Here and Here). The financial pressures on our family were great and my father kept thinking we needed more money. I don't know if he pressured my mother to work or if she decided to work to help ease his burden. Whatever the reason, working proved to be the straw that broke my family in two. My mother was stretched thin. My father was stretched thin. No one was home to keep tabs on us children. I kept busy with school things and extracurricular activities. My brother got into trouble with substance abuse and the law, which caused more stress on my already maxed out parents. Sundays became a day to rest and recuperate instead of a day to worship and most Sundays, we were not attending church because it was just one more thing to try to get done during the week. All of this stress and time spent away from the family and everyone's needs not being met, provided fertile ground for Lucifer to introduce many, many temptations into everyone's lives. As some of us fell to those temptations, feelings were hurt and relationships destroyed. Fear replaced faith. Fatigue replaced anyone's ability to nurture and help others. Everyone was on a course for themselves.
My mother ran away because she was overwhelmed with burden and grief. My father, who was not a nurturer anyway, just tried to keep busy with work and console his aching heart with other women. I ran off to college, because I knew if I stayed I would be drained of my ability to do anything. This mess was not my responsibility. Though my father begged me to stay and help out the family, I knew in my heart that was the wrong decision. How hard is that? To be a fixer and a builder and to know that if you stay to try and help your efforts will amount to nothing. This is not a situation that I could fix. I had to leave. The ship was sinking and if I stayed, I would go down with it. My little sisters were only 10 and 9, and I had to leave them home with my parents who couldn't take care of themselves, let alone their children.
My father is still angry at me for leaving. Periodically he reminds me that I left when the family needed me. How can I tell him that I knew if I stayed I would die spiritually with them? It is not something he needs to hear, just something I have to tell myself when his words wound my heart.
Wow, I had no idea I had all of that to share. This was just suppose to be a post with my family photos :-) I guess there is still a lot of emotional work to do. This is just a part of how divorce has affected me personally. I have been blessed to have the gospel to cling to when these tragedies struck my family. The family I have created comes from the principles taught in the gospel of Jesus Christ, specifically The Family: A Proclamation to the World and because Drew and I have been and are obedient to those principles. My siblings have not been so lucky. Their testimonies were not quite developed when tragedy struck for them. They have not had the added blessing of the gospel framework within to build their families.
My parents' choices to fall to temptations instead of fight with obedience and faith has affected generations of people and their ability to build strong, happy families. Just like a couple who does choose to fight through temptations with faith and obedience, who chooses to apply the doctrinal principles in their lives and to forgive and love and use the atonement of our Savior to heal their hearts will weave a legacy of faith and obedience and willingness to persevere throughout generations of their families. So then I guess the question is, what are you doing with your choices and temptations and sorrows? Are you using gospel principles and obedience and faith to fight the battles you have in front of you? Or are you falling to the temptations? You will affect generations! I can guarantee it!
PS....Decided to link this up with Chocolate on my Cranium for Celebrating the Family this week! Not specifically about a specific part of the proclamation, but definitely addresses the principles. And if you want to read more, check out today's post: Family First Friday #5!