I read two blogs. I used to read more, but honestly I don't have the mental space allowed to have that occupy my time and mind. Everyday I read The Rockstar Diaries. I've read this blog for a little over five years and I am committed. The author is the cousin of my friend. I've read the blog before it was famous or before it had advertisements. It's simple and I enjoy it. The other blog I read is 71 Toes. I read this one about once every two weeks. I skim through it and find topics that I'm dealing with. I like how the parents deal with issues and I've actually put some of their suggestions to use with much success in our home.
A few weeks ago Shawni from 71 Toes posted an article about womanhood and basically how the world views it. She stated that the interesting part for her was not the article per se, but the comments to the article. I found the comments on 71 Toes towards Shawni's post defending womanhood, to be quite interesting as well.
Shawni comes from a very typical Mormon home. Strong and present parents and a home full of faith and siblings. A lot of the comments on her blog were about how it would be difficult for Shawni to see womanhood and specifically the desire to not have a family or children in the same way someone with a negative experience would view it. They sorta criticized Shawni for having a "perfect life".
I have to be honest and say that I have often had those same feelings toward some of my Mormon friends. When they would describe their childhoods and any instance of difficulty I would just kinda do a mental eye roll. I know that we are given the trials we can handle in all, but it used to really get under my skin. I simply couldn't relate to them in this fashion. My childhood was tough. It was lonely. I know children have it way worse than I did, like Chris for example, but for me it was enough to teach me so many valuable lessons and I am thankful. Nowadays I try really hard not to judge my Mormon friends when they complain about a difficulty they had as a youth. I try very very hard.
Fast forward to last night. I am in a wonderful book club. I love the ladies and usually the books we read. The conversations are very rich and I just learn so many things. It seems like the last few books that have been chosen were just kinda stinkers to me. I cannot read books, fiction or non-fiction, that involve human suffering. I feel it very deeply and cannot escape it. I choose to fill my mind with positivity not negativity. I made it very clear last night that I just could not read this book. It is a book about a couple that was in a plane crash and got tragically burned. The story was about her life before, during and after this tragic event. It was a book of hope and inspiration, but also of much suffering in an area very close to home for me. I chose not to read it. This being the second month that I could not read the book because of extreme content or nonsense.
The women in book club kept talking about how I should really read it. How they could not get their minds off the book and how it has really showed them to be grateful for the little things. One women mentioned that because of the book she took the time to notice the curve of her baby's lips and another said it made her very thankful for her healthy body, another said it help her be thankful for her relationships. I understood all of this but I still had no desire to read this book, or any other like it and I'll tell you why.
So what does all of this have to do with each other? Well I live a very grateful life. I literally live in the little moments. My sight is completely blocked by my treasures, blessings and gifts. I may be a lot of really bad things, but I am not ungrateful. I don't need a book to make me feel gratitude. I feel it constantly. I am blessed beyond what I deserve. I notice it and I thank my Father in Heaven for my blessings regularly. In fact gratitude often takes over my prayers. I do not say this to be hollier than thou. I don't. I say this because I believe that it is by my trials as a child that I learned this gratitude. I saw very clearly how bad it could be at an extremely young age. I suffered those things then and co-created the life I have now in spite of it all.
If anyone could say they have an excuse not to EVER get married or EVER have children, it would be me. Actually when I was growing up my own mother often uttered that phrase to me. "Melissa, NEVER get married and NEVER have children." Can you imagine how that would make a child feel when that child realized she was that mothers child...how she should NEVER have been born and was unwanted. Painful. So as I grew, I adopted that phrase into myself and that was my standard. It was all that I had known.
I never wanted the misery of a family. That is until I found the gospel of Jesus Christ. The gospel gave me great perspective and great hope. I learned that my unique feminine gifts were given to me for a purpose and that husband, children and family are to be a joy. A joy, not a regret. So I set off on a path to take my broken self and create the family I always felt I was missing out on as a child.
The question came up last night about how did watching our parents help mold us into what we wanted in our future family. The answer I said to myself was, I learned at a very young age what not to do, and since the time of discovering my purpose, I've done the exact opposite of what they did. The exact opposite. That realization has always been powerful to me.
I believe very strongly that you do not have to be a victim of your circumstances. You don't. I feel very sorry for any woman would made decisions to not have a family or get married because her parents couldn't keep it together. Why set your life on a course based on the failures of others. I'm so thankful for my trials as a child because as everyday passes I see yet another blessing I've gained from that suffering. And honestly this trial is not yet finished. Thirty three years and it's still going strong, but now I have proper perspective and a source for inspiration.
My theory is that in this life we all get one really big whammy. One trial that takes you very close to the edge and sucks all that you have. Then that's where you are really tested. I know that I will have more trials in my life but I'd like to think that I have learned and am still learning so much from my current one that this one is my whammy.
The things that happened to me as a child could have led me down a totally different path than I chose. I'm so thankful to know that I chose correctly. I'm so thankful that I recognized the gospel after the veil was put over my eyes. The odds were certainly stacked against me. But my spirit knew it all and it was so familiar once I began learning. I'm thankful that my Father in Heaven has not regretted me or forsaken me. I try to live everyday to ensure that. And every day I live with a truly grateful heart for all the treasures I've been given and the ones I've fought my tail off for. If I'm lacking inspiration, hope and gratitude, I have 33 years to scan to remind myself of all that I have and all that I've become. I'm ever grateful.