Sunday, October 5, 2014

DAY 1134.... Outside the Bubble

I belong to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. In other words.... I am Mormon. I was blessed with the opportunity to be raised in the church and to have parents who were also raised in the church. Have I always been "the best" Mormon? No. I am human, I make mistakes, I have countless flaws. I have a visible tattoo on my foot, not typical of a strong and faithful Latter- Day Saint and I have been guilty of missing a church meeting or two.

But, despite my weaknesses, bad choices and my failures, I believe in this gospel and I believe in living this lifestyle. And the best part is that this religion believes in me and offers me that opportunity to repent and offers me forgiveness. I do not and never have done drugs or drink alcohol. I go to church for 3 hours on Sundays and let me tell you what.... With a toddler that is a struggle! I dress more modestly than fashion permits sometimes and I believe in the teachings of The Book of Mormon. I believe that marriage and family can be eternal and not just temporal. I understand why some may think that the lifestyle I live is difficult. I have thought that myself in the past. But it's much easier to live a certain way when you believe and know it is true. That goes for many things in life not just religious beliefs. A firm belief in anything makes it easier to live in a way that would promote and progress you in that lifestyle.

In my 28 (almost 29....GASP) years, I have moved about 33 times. No, my dad was not in the military. I like to think that my parents just liked to give us different opportunities to learn and grow. In the LDS church, there is what many refer to, myself included, as "the bubble". This area includes mostly Utah and Idaho due to the fact that there are a large number of Latter-Day Saints in these areas. Most of my life I was blessed to live outside of the bubble. Many people would think that growing up inside the bubble would be easier. You are surrounded by people who go to the same church as you, who knows the same principles and gospel, and you would assume you are surrounded by good people constantly. But I have learned, since living in the bubble for the past 10 years, that this is not true to me in my life. There is so much more gray in the bubble. People seem more concern with taking gospel principles and adjusting them to fit their lifestyle without considering the meaning behind them and adjusting their life to fit the principle as intended. Outside the bubble, it is much more black and white. For me personally, I cannot wait to move back out of the bubble. Seriously I am counting down the days until we are able to leave Idaho. I have never felt more judged, more discriminated against, more forgotten, more misunderstood and more of a "keeping up with the Joneses" attitude as I have living in the bubble. Personally that's not for me. Some people thrive on living in the gray, and constantly being surrounded by people who are part of the same religion but may or may not live it the way it's intended. I prefer to live out of the bubble, where I feel that nonmembers actually understand the gospel better and respect you for your beliefs instead of judging you for what they may consider as imperfections. You get an opportunity to actually live your beliefs and to stand out as something different. It may be hard for some, but for me it was actually much much easier.

Let me quickly say that I am grateful for the opportunity that living in Idaho has given my family. Spencer has been able to attend a wonderful university and is getting a great degree. We have received many blessings from living in Idaho. It's just not the place for me to thrive and to be completely effective in my religion.

My parents have done an excellent job raising their children as strong members of the church outside of the bubble. My mom absolutely loves everyone and raised us to love everyone regardless of race, sex, financial means and religion. She taught us to serve others and to love everyone. She was such a good example of giving with your whole heart and never expecting anything in return. She is amazing! My dad taught us to stick to our standards regardless of those around us. He taught us about the blessings that we can receive by keeping the commandments. He never hesitated to share personal experiences that only strengthened our beliefs. He taught us to be friends with everyone and to respect their beliefs even if they aren't the same as your own. You can learn a lot from other religions and the thoughts and ideas of others who may not share the same beliefs as your own and my Dad firmly believes in continuing education. Why would you cut yourself off from this valuable education from learning from other simply because they do not share the same beliefs as you? I am so lucky to have such amazing parents. I want to raise Aniston and my other children the same way. I want them to not be ashamed of their beliefs, if they choose to believe the gospel or not because it is a choice, and I want my children to be friends with everyone, to respect everyone, and to learn about the beliefs and traditions of others. I will never not allow my children to be friends with someone simply because they do not share the same beliefs as me. What kind of example of love and acceptance does that demonstrate?

As strongly and as firmly as I believe in the gospel, I understand and know that others believe their gospel just as much. And I respect them for having passion and drive and beliefs. Everyone chooses how to live their own lives and they do what they consider best. I am fascinated by how everyone lives so differently. Some people prefer to use cloth diapers, I cannot imagine ever using cloth diapers. I feel as though I would dry heave every day all day long. But I respect them for changing their lifestyle to save their family money or to protect the environment. That is just not a priority for my family. Some people choose to have the mother not work outside of the home. I understand this desire and choice and I definitely respect it especially since I had a wonderful mother who stayed at home with us children while I was growing up. It was a huge blessing. But it's not something that my family chooses to live at this time. Some people choose to eat out for every meal instead of preparing it at home. There are days where I definitely wish I could do that, but since A) we live in Rexburg with a total of 5 restaurants and B) it doesn't fit our budget it doesn't happen. But I understand why they would do that. It's a choice and we are so blessed to have the freedom to choose and to live with our choices. We should never judge another for their decisions because that has no affect on our life and how we can react and choose to live.

I feel blessed to have grown up in the manner that I did. I believe that it helped me to be friends with all sorts of people from all sorts of backgrounds. I cannot wait for my family to move outside the bubble and to be strengthened by the lifestyle that this blessing offers. To get to know people of all manner and to be in the world but not of the world. Only 2 more years...

No comments:

Post a Comment