Tuesday, April 8, 2014
Mission farewell letter to my amazing mother!
Thank you for your loving e-mail. Your love removes my fears of sharing my deepest parts of my heart. I hope some day my own children will share their nuggets of truth! This is how I see you mom. You, mom, are amazing in your own right. You are a beautiful female. You have led an exemplary life of love, forgiveness, care, concern, sacrifice, and obedience. You, are of worth simply by how many people you've taught to love. You, aside from your beliefs, husband, and children are a powerful force for teaching all that is good and right. You, are inquisitive. You, are brave, intelligent, a brilliant violinist, a master teacher and I've listened to and heard on many levels the lessons you teach in your many letters of wisdom over the past 40 years. You, are one of the most significant humans in my life in addition to dad. You have a nice balance of seriousness (from your dad I suspect), and the quest for new adventure (from your mom I suspect). You have an open mind and heart and are a wonderful listener, but you are obedient and respectful and courageous, and these are qualities I share and look on as virtuous.
Watching you cry in my life communicates to me how strong your heart and ability to love truly is. My heart is stronger than my mind, but my mind is getting stronger every day as I allow others to teach me, and as I allow my inner teacher to ask any question? Growing up, just as I've done, some of your words have stung my heart and were hard to hear but I listened because I love you and I know you mean no harm but tell me out of love and passion. I love to hear your words any day or hour. Your words become eternal after you die. Now, as a grown women, I'd love to tell you some of my heart that might sting a bit, but I also tell you out of love.
While in the gym running today, my thoughts were on your mission. You may already know all of this because I can't read minds, and don't know what you know, but I'd love to share my thoughts. I'm SO excited that you get the privilege of serving and loving the wise, stubborn, and wonderful culture in the people of Germany, yes, that's a stereotype. I challenge you while you're there to listen to their stories and lessons learned through living through the regimes of Hitler and other oppressive leaders and religions.
Many Germans who are Christian believe that we are saved by grace alone. I challenge you to really ponder this mom and study the new testament about this concept as a little child once again, and why they believe that this was not a conditional gift. The concept of grace with works was always a doctrine my inner teacher had to repeatedly put on the "shelf". That wise little girl I was taught not to trust completely at 8 knew more about life and love than I do now. I'm not in a Christian religion, but I can appreciate the concept now that Christ freely, and with no conditions/ordinances/priesthoods/temples/tithing/commandments/church, gave the gift of the atonement to us without any conditions whatsoever or things we need to do to be saved. I reject the concept others have taught on how you "accept" him and think people have really manipulated this pure teaching of Christ over the centuries. The way I view it, you accept that he loved you unconditionally, and that's all, no strings attached. How living this beautiful teaching now to Lexi without any pressures to help her get to the celestial kingdom as I was taught will help me love her truly unconditionally. What a difference this also makes in EVERY conversation I have with other humans now without the conscious and unconscious mandate I have to convert everyone I meet to the one and only true way back to God. Realizing how different I was, as much as I hate to admit it, as a parent with this always over my head, has led to some feelings of anger that others, whether knowingly or not, used my love for my children and husband to manipulate me, but thankfully unconditional love sees that others only teach what they've been taught, and may be just as much a victim of their view as you.
How living this principle helps me love you and my husband and others the way Christ did. It's impossible to love unconditionally with grace tied with works, even if you try super, super, super hard. I hate to admit when I'm wrong about anything.... but understand better that the reason is due to the subtle teachings common in Mormon culture of being taught through five generations that we're the only ones who have the truth and light. Taking that leap of faith that your light may not be lost if you reject the church/truth and trust that little girl who had no bias or doctrine was right all along was one of the toughest leaps I've ever made. It has really been a roller coaster on my heart to read the New Testament again as a little child, and to accept that my concept of Christ was fundamentally flawed. But, I think I can start with the fact that I was wrong about the concept of grace and works. Being a mother has taught me what unconditional love is. I've learned this concept better this year with how tough Tristan has been. No matter how awful Tristan has been, seriously even if he did the most horrendous stuff possible like killing my husband or children or a whole nation - even though I hope and mostly trust he won't, I'd never kick him out of our family for all eternity or put him in an eternal time out...just silly. The wisdom of the teaching of grace alone teaches unconditional love and I love that wise teaching from Jesus Christ. My Christian brothers and sisters are closer to the truth than I was....so hard to admit when I entertain that I could be wrong. My perception and ability to appreciate the life and teachings of Christ have completely changed.
I used to always scratch my head at how they could be so foolish as inherently great people to follow Hitler. I also used to think that indoctrination and brain washing was only by mostly foolish people. How can a child Lexi's age give consent on heavy doctrine put into that tiny, pure, inherently good brain? Look at the new nursery manual. Until last month, I couldn't have fully understood. Listen to the German people's passionate hearts and the logic and lessons they learned in having to learn how their passionate hearts and people taking advantage of that may have misled them, and how they learned from this and have come to retain their love of life, have a healthy skepticism, and to become masters in science (if there is any doubt, test drive a BMW before you leave). The people of Germany have been known to be difficult to convert. Open your heart as to why this is, and if it's progress to their children, or if they are foolish and have "hard hearts". I encourage you to look at this through their lens and culture, and not to manipulate your ideals and doctrine onto them, but to grow from them, and learn from them.
Mom, go there with a heart that they need absolutely nothing to save them, that their lives are already full of love and joy and light as well as pain and suffering as part of being human, and that they are ultimately the masters of their own life here on earth without anyone needing to guide or direct them. Try out that they may have much more of a fullness of joy than you've ever known? That each day is the gift, that being alive and with people we love today is a gift in and of itself, and after this life, we hope that we'll learn every day just as we have today, but none of us, not even those who designed the doctrine of the church have experience with dying. The minds of the Germans are capable of coping with every emotion that comes with being human, and even to accept that their minds are amazingly adaptable and can change at any time.....hearts are much more stubborn. Go there knowing that they already love their families just as much as you do, but that they could never imagine that a God would divide them based on their choices in a blind test of obedience, and then separate them for all eternity if they aren't obedient, and how even with concept of work for the dead, how much this would change your ability to love unconditionally because it still requires them to accept the church which is inherently conditional love at its best.
Go there with empathy on how controlling the concept of obedience can be when it doesn't come from our truly free will, and how this distracts from love. Do you feel free mom? You have everything you need within you already. You are a miracle by your own right mom. You are everything you've done for others. There is NO fear mom. There is only complete freedom ahead and the gift of Christ is love that frees us to just live every day, smell the grass, run our toes through the dirt, and love people around us today. They, as a people, just as the millions of people who left the oppression of Catholicism at its worst have so, so, so, so much to teach us mom, and I'd truly love the opportunity you have today to immerse in learning from and serving a wonderful culture like Germany....maybe some day. The good news of the world is unconditional love, that each generation IS getting closer and closer to this. We are joyful and happy and are in the greatest time ever because of the sacrifice of our ancestors. They had the vision, and they gave us the gift!!!! That great teachers like Christ, Mohammed, Gandhi, and Buddha all teach about unconditional love.
Unfortunately, history repeats itself much more than we want to believe it does unless we learn from our children and open our eyes to see how much progress we've made, and that each generation is getting better, not more sinful! Our children and our children's children are each learning and progressing. Catriona's best friend is African American; a dream of tolerance I always had for my children, and it's here today mom! A dream come true for me. I can truly say today, and I couldn't just six months ago before I let it go, that I will love and accept anyone she chooses to love; male or female, black or white, and of any faith or doctrine. I will love them unconditionally. This is a truly free idea I could never tolerate before because of my adherence and commitment to the church, and I'm connected to my Catholic ancestors now in how hard it must have been for them to leave the only true church then in ways I never imagined.
Lexi will be able to teach me many things about love as an adult that I never had the privilege of learning. I look at my children completely differently now. I trust in her desire to have joy and her ability to find it by following the teacher inside her. Catriona has taught me so much and has been such a gift of showing me tolerance and respect and love for everyone. I trust that I can take the best of the teachings of you, my family, and my ancestors and discard the worst just as my ancestors have done for me today. What an incredible gift. I can't be more excited to give her a life teaching her to use science, to trust her beautiful mind, and be wary of her heart as love is amazing but also can blind us from truth. To learn from the great minds of our being human, and to be open to everyone around us. The marriage celebration will truly be an event to remember some day for each of my children as I embrace another families ideas, cultures, and experiences. I will lovingly support her if she loves and marries a Mormon, a Buddhist, or an Athiest. No other agendas bogging me down ever again of obligation to bring them to the church, but just to love them and listen to them and to truly be immersed in their life pain, joy, and light.
The Germans, as you know, are the masters of invention, innovation, science and technology. They're passion has also had them to following their hearts only to lead to many oppressive leadership and religious regimes and belief in magic which the little girl always taught me didn't exist and that ghosts don't exist and never have, even in religion. I was afraid to embrace this concept on the shelf the most, but its also been the most liberating to finally accept the concept I constantly had to shelf; something many generations of ancestors have been trying to teach me. I'm connected to them in ways I never imagined. I share some of their experience now.
With this challenge, to be as a little child again while in Germany, I promise you this journey will be the toughest, most mind stretching, and most beautiful and liberating experiences of your life!!! Open your heart to new ideas, and the ability to truly understand how to love and serve the people absolutely and completely unconditionally. Each of our journeys' are special and so unique and our ours to tell.
Thanks for reading my thoughts, and sorry it took so much time. I'm absolutely as thrilled as I can be that you're embarking on this journey, and will sing hip, hip hooray for you just like your mother always did when you leave on the plane! I'm so happy mom. I've never had more fullness of joy in my life. I'm truly free now to love everyone without bias or condition. That little girl in me was never bad, never sinned, and was good and true and knew all along that understanding unconditional love is the key.
Never be afraid to ask questions, to challenge your beautiful mind, and always give your mind permission to explore - just as we've always taught our children. Never be afraid to feel joy, remorse, love, passion, hope, forgiveness, anger, elation, etc. Your mind is much, much, much stronger than we think it is. A strong and balanced mind and heart and body was central to the teachings of Christ.