April 8, 2018
Missing Pieces: What is love?
L-o-v-e. The 4-letter word that fills us, connects us, brings meaning to life, and without it or withdrawal of it leaves one shattered into pieces allowing the winds of life to scatter it into oblivion. Love. Saturday morning while driving to Round Rock, the question that was raised to me by the prompting of the Spirit: “How can you love one of your sons without question, yet your other son does not feel this same love from you?”
This caught me off guard and up short! “I—I—I,” I stammered in response. This moment lay in a frozen suspense of time, as I could give no response. The wheels of the van carried me forward in motion but I was held and suspended in time. I had been hit with a question that sank into my heart. I was busted. Busted by my Heavenly Father who just called me out for not loving my son and wanted an answer.
Hang on folks, this is going to be tough. As a perspective, this all happened within a hour time frame yesterday.
Suddenly my mind was filled with thousands of images and memories of how I have been responding to every situation that has been crashing down around me since March 2nd. I felt that my trials had been like the handcart trek: late in starting out, missing the word to not leave this season, heading out anyway.
Mental Health crisis, faith crisis, car trouble—new ties, new brakes, new battery, broken dryer, broken promises. I felt that my trials had been like the handcart trek: late in starting out, missing the word to not leave this season, heading out anyway.
Then just as rough blistered hands and feet from pushing the cart filled them with question and pain, images of Garrett spinning out of control in psychosis hit me: him trying to jump out of the van, or running from his nightmare, and of screaming out how he doesn’t want to be killed! My heart sees the heartache of a child filled with sorrow, compassion, fear, and I love and fight for him. With each step on the trial I keep pushing on for him—just like my pioneer family on the trail. Then just as the emotions are fully heightened and feel like I am doing all that I can to save him/love him, the image switches to another son, my son Kellis.
Images of sleeping, of idleness, of non-responding to direct questions, of non communicating, of ignoring family, of computer gaming, of laziness (yes all of these feelings, and of closing off his future enters in as a flash and my love is instantly withdrawn and replaced with ANGER, disappointment, and frustration!
I start to immediately JUSTIFY why I can love one son and struggle with the other! Garrett can’t help what is happening to him! IT is like a flash flood of brown toxic thoughts came out of nowhere are caught him—he is in trouble—near downing! He is scared, hurt, lost to storm mental illness. He needs me! My response is that of a rescuer! Find help, find safety find hope, and shower the Love!
However, my feelings towards my other son are so different! I feel like he is choosing this path! He is choosing to step into the storm. It’s like he is a storm chaser! He can help it; he can make a choice! AHHHG! I don’t want to rescue him because he made this choice! I feel like this justifies my ANGER, frustration, and my hurt! (I told you this would be painful and truthful—I am ashamed at this). **Side note when swinging between these intense emotions, I don’t recommend doing so when you are driving—you will miss your exits!).
Love and anger! The opposite dragons are fighting a battle within me. I feel like the pioneers trapped in the snow with no hope! Now like the handcart trail, the Mental Health crisis is like the lack of food, my faith crisis is the snow and winds whipping away my soul. The car trouble—new tires, new brakes, new battery—reminds me of the rags that are wrapped around my legs, hands and feet trying to stave off the steely cold. The broken dryer one snow filled day trapping us in more delays. Broken promises are like the wolves that followed their company ready for an easy meal. Then sickness. Now death. Survivors, yes each morning we seem to make it, and they must keep walking. Then after all of that, Rocky Ridge!!! Are you kidding me????? Yes, I am at my Rocky Ridge; frozen, family members have “died” or left the trail, and I still must push on.
Suddenly, the Spirit prompts me with an image—no words this time—an image of our premortal life—to the War in Heaven. My mind’s eye suddenly is looking over white clothed infinite amount of people of all colors, and an intense sense of family comes over me. I feel drawn to look in a direction of grey turning darker by degrees and my feeling family is impacted by a sense of great loss as about 1/3 of the family is shadowed in darkness and cast out from us in suspended cold silence.
My eyes pull away from that back towards my Heavenly Father. I feel a sense of heaviness, of great loss, of tears, and of intense pain caused because of love. His family, 1/3 has just left. Yet he still loves. He truly understands losing members of His family to the persuasions of Satan.
Heavenly Father could not stop his family who made that choice. They had their agency to make choices. They chose Satan’s plan over the Plan of Salvation from Christ. Heavenly Father’s love for all of his family hasn’t changed, but rather it continues because he loves them so much. They are HIS family. He LOVES them not because they have produced anything, performed anything, but just because they are HIS—we are HIS! He is feeling pain and loss when we do as well. Why? Because of the Love he has for them and all of us. He respected their agency and did not interfere but CONTINUED to love!
My heart is pierced! Clarity fills my mind. I need to love not because they (my children) produce something, or perform something, but just because they are my children! That is how I love Garrett—it is easy to do that. I quickly examine my anger: it is all about me: my hurt, my expectations, my hopes. Kellis said he was going to serve a mission. Based on that, we started preparing and helping him. Part of that was returning to Texas to accomplish that. That was our perspective, but not for Kellis.
Kellis finally explained to me why he is not going to serve. He feels that he doesn’t have a testimony of the gospel. He understands parts of the gospel, but not enough to preach it. He has felt this way for years. Why didn’t I know how he felt? —Or why did he not say anything because he didn’t want to hurt me and disappoint the family. Kellis is not the best communicator and struggles when talking about feelings and so forth—I know that!
Now that he is not going I feel shocked, surprised. I want to punish him—teach him a lesson—a lesson? What is that lesson? That if you mess up, you are cut off of love? Where is the love and forgiveness in that? Wow….(yes I have missed 2 exits at this point of the morning commute).
Other images flood my mind: the Prodigal’s son, the Good Samaritan, and the parable laborers in the Vineyard. They are all about love and forgiveness. Where is anger in any of it? What are Christ’s teachings? “As I have love you, love one another.” “Love the Lord thy God with all they might, mind and strength, and love thy neighbor as thyself.”
When Kellis finally said why he wasn’t going to serve a Mission, I was hurt, sad, and angry and felt that he was making a mistake. I turned inward with guilt for not teaching him better, or being more faithful, but really, the guilt because I have been too busy to know when a child of mine has been hurting and worried and I have not been there for them. When all of that hit, I pulled over--just stunned.
Thankfully at that point, I was off the 35 and on the side streets. I pulled over and just sat. The change in my heart from justified anger was gone. The Mother guilt was ready, REALLY READY, to pile on but it didn’t. Jesus’s Atonement held it at bay. I was filled with the image again of Heavenly Father respecting agency. I then sat in silence. “Peace, Be Still.” So I sat. Stilled. The final thought, “As I have loved you, love one another.”
Garrett is still struggling between light and darkens, panic/paranoia, and hope and calm. New meds, no meds, new meds, NO meds—we are still figuring out the puzzle. Garrett is working on it. We are working on it with him. Why? Out of love. Just love.
Kellis is leaving in 2 weeks. No, not to California to serve a Mission; he is leaving Texas to try his hand at being an adult. How do I love him? I can either help him, (leaving him with a sense of love that he is still family) or throw guilt, manipulation, and anger at him—which is what I thought I would do, until my car ride. No, anger guilt and manipulation is not of God. I must look at my rocky ridge, and start pulling. As I start this pull up rocky ridge, I feel the strain on my back, my legs begin to lift…someone is helping…just as Angels were sent to help the pioneers, I am being helped up this ridge.
Love one another—is of God. I need to love him. I look at the clock, 7:43am I might be a little late for my 7:50 arrival at work, but WOW—I received answers to prayers, to pain, to guilt, and know how to love better. Since my shift I can accomplish the task in front of me. I don’t have to wallow in the mire for long. I don’t have to wait and wait and wait. Heavenly Father felt the need to bless me so that I can keep going—that is revelation. I feel honored to have been given a clear perspective of this trial and not have the strength to keep going. This is a rescue. This is like that at the top of the ridge meeting the rescuers. It is a reprieve….yet there is so much more to go. But, there is love. And there is hope.