Sunday, July 20, 2008

I need advice

I'm in a quandry and would like some outside input.

This summer has been extremely busy with all the action around Wyatt's adoption and sealing. The sealing was beautiful but I have to be honest. I did not love the Ogden temple. I had asked for a small room as I had not invited tons of people and I wanted it to be cozy.

They gave us a huge room with like 80 seats and so it looked empty with just the few of us there. I am really in to ambiance so this did not give the desired effect. It didn't seem bright either. It almost felt like the lights were turned down or something. Didn't love that.

But the ceremony was beautiful, my kids were beautiful in white and Wyatt of course did great. Half the family got sick during the week so Bry, Wyatt, Heidi and Gabe all felt crappy. Luckily Jake, Seth and I felt fine.

My one sister who can't even go through the temple was there with a couple of her kids. Her one daughter was able to be inside with us. The thing I love is that she is always there. She asks for the details and says "I'll be there! Wouldn't miss it for the world!" She makes me feel so loved and important.

I have always felt like an outsider with most of my family since my mom died and my Dad moved away. I feel like I have never fit in. I am the only one out of 8 natural born kids that is active in the church. Many times there have been heated discussions about religion. I have often felt like they are antagonistic about the church. I don't go out of my way to invite them to spiritual, or religious activities we have for this reason. It's just uncomfortable for me and Bryan.

My opinion is that if they really wanted to be there, they would say so like Sister #1 did with our sealing. I invited them to Wyatt's adoption because it was going to be really cool and I thought their families would enjoy it. In fact, I invited them twice because the first time they gave no reaction or answer. I got the same thing the second time. I guess I just felt like they weren't interested. So I didn't formally invite anyone to the temple. I heard later that their feelings were supposedly hurt that I hadn't.

I just don't know what to do. I have never felt like anyone in my family really liked me. I get tired of feeling like a third wheel. I get tired of not fitting in and I get tired of being criticized for not doing it right when it comes to my sisters.

A lot of bad stuff has happened lately between my sisters and me that may never heal. So, the thing is, I am very hurt. They claim to be hurt by me that I never invite them to anything yet the things I have invited them to they didn't want to do. It is a cycle that never seems to end. We will have Wyatt's blessing coming up soon and can't decide what to do about it. Bry doesn't want to invite anyone. In fact, he'd like the church to be empty! lol He doesn't like to be the center of attention! Or doing something that feels so special and sacred in front of people who don't believe in it or feel that sacredness.

I went with my friend Tash to my sister's house this week so she could sell some of the awesome jewelry she makes. After we left, she told me I act different around them then I do normally. She said I acted insecure and more defensive. I didn't even know I did that. I still can't think of anything I did differently but maybe it is so automatic that I don't even notice it. It made me sad. My family really doesn't even know me but I don't feel like they really want to anyway. Maybe that's why I am different around them. Sad.

So, the question is, do I invite them to the blessing or not? I don't want it to be uncomfortable for anyone so I lean toward not and just avoiding all that but is that the right answer?


Jeri said...

I would invite them. Obviously, I don't know the people involved or the history, but going from just what is written here, I would be inclined to send them a written invite (that way I wouldn't have to deal with the verbal things that can come into play. (like maybe people are thinking about something else or distracted, or whatever, and it can easier be interpreted as dislike or disinterest or whatever...) Anyway - I'd send out a simple invite to the blessing and I would included a little note that said something along the lines of "I know you don't always agree with my religion, but this is a special day for my family and I wanted to invite you to share in it." and maybe "I feel bad that things have been bad between us lately and I am so sorry for any and all that I have done to offend you and make you feel like I .....(whatever it is they are thinking)" or maybe "a friend of mine pointed out to me recently that I act different/more defensive when I am around you, and I had no idea that I was doing that. I am so sorry I've been this way and I hope you'll help me figure out what my problem is and work though it so that we can be close again."

Or something like that. You can't control what they will say, do, feel, etc... but i think you have to do whatever you can to make things as good as they can be. That way you have peace of mind knowing that you've done your best.

I have one sister in law who is very easily offended. (but not according to her) Even though I know that she doesn't care and probably won't come, I make sure I call and invite her to everything - just to cover my bases, but I never expect anything.

I's too bad that such happy occasions have this taint, but I think you just need to hang in there, do your best to figure out whatever it is that is causing you to act differently around them and try to change it, and just invite them to things so they know that you love them and want them to be a part of your life, but don't don't nurse past injuries and give people the benefit of the doubt. CHOOSE to not be offended!

(Easy to say from where I'm sitting, but I know it's a lot harder to do. Good Luck!)

Charlotte said...

I have two thoughts.

1)Humbly ask the Lord what He would have you do. He knows the situation beter than any of us, and even better than you, come to that.

2)I once had a friend tell me something that has stuck with me for a while. I had been involved in some kind of activity or something (I can't remember what), and I didn't invite her to join me. My reasons were valid--I had invited her in the past, and she had chosen not to join me, almost every time. So, gradually I stopped inviting her. One day she got kind of upset with me, and as we were discussing it, I told her that I had just assumed, based on her past actions, that it was something that she wasn't interested in. I felt (and still feel) like I had a good point with all of that. However, the point she made next was also a good point.

She helped me see that when I didn't invite her, I was in effect making the choice FOR her, as to whether or not she would join me. She said that she appreciated it when I allowed HER to make the choice.

I saw the wisdom in that, and since it really wasn't any skin off of my nose to do what she asked, from then on, I would invite her (and mentally plan on her not coming, which is what happened most of the time), and we were both happier.

Good luck! I have no doubt that you'll be able to work this out.


S'mee said...

About the temple, I have seen too many people become disappointed by things like you describe, that it over shadows what really took place. Try to focus on the good feeling, the family closeness and the power in the sealing. It's really hard when you plan and prepare, and things turn out differently; but you can't control what happens there and maybe there was a reason unknown to you for that? My first thought was "I wonder how many folks from the other side of the veil filled that room?" A romantic notion, but it helped me.

As far as the family discussions: I had to make a promise to myself years ago that when "discussions" got to a certain point I would politely excuse myself and leave. Contention is of the devil and the Spirit cannot teach another Spirit with heat. Follow the BoM standard. Address concerns, Correct false doctrine, Bear your testimony. Done. If they need more, go with the 1st 4 principles and ordinances. Lather, rinse, repeat. If they go for "deep" stuff or the weird junk they aren't looking for truth, just a fight. Do not engage! Listen to the Spirit and leave while everyone is still happy.

In regard to family invites:I have to agree.

I can look back on my 50 yrs on the planet and realize most families are not the "ideal", but we keep trying.

My own mother did not attend my graduation from HS, nor any of my children, and has missed weddings etc. It used to hurt; now, not so much because *I* am controlling how *I* feel about it and not relying on her attendance or attitude to make the event a success.

Always invite family, never shut that door. Always give them the opportunity to come around, but don't press all your happiness on their being there or on their reactions being appropriate. Focus on the real reason for the event, like the new baby and the Lord's blessing. That's all that *has* to happen that day for it to be successful and a great day, the rest -as they say- is gravy. Make sure the ones who *do* show up knows how much that meant to you and why.

Even if mom apologized sincerely (which I doubt would ever happen) I can't spin the world back in time and have that moment. So I focus on what *did* happened on that day. Only the good things.

Congratulations on the sealing and upcoming blessing!

Jeri said...

Leave it to Charlotte to point out the obvious RIGHT answer! (that would be to FIRST ask the Lord what to do do.) Unfortunately, I am still pretty slow to learn and implement this simple, yet true fact.

melissa c said...

All great comments and very true. To be honest, I already felt these same things, I just am so frustrated and sometimes would rather avoid the hard stuff.

The sealing was beautiful and I did cry and did try to ignore the stuff I didn't like because that was all just fluff anyway. The people there were great and the fact that Wyatt is mine is great!

I think I am just hormonal at the moment. My husband would ask. "When are you NOT hormonal!"

Yolanda said...

Be happy. You are creating your eternal family. What is better than that?! Tell your family how happy this makes you feel. Tell them you want to share this happiness with them. Don't hold them responsible for this happiness that you feel. Invite and respond to the GOOD, not any negative feeling which is certainly coming from unhappiness (contention is of the devil? remember?)

Remember all your blessings which you will be celebrating at the blessing--a new baby, a worthy husband to bless the baby, and your eternal family.

xoxoxo Yolanda