Sunday, June 15, 2014

Our Imperfect Perfections

I used to cling to the fact that someone understood my pain when I was in the midst of my infertility trials. I used to imagine Christ suffering for my pain in Gethsemane and it helped me to feel a little less alone. I felt like my situation was so uncommon; two kids conceived quite easily and then a diagnosis of secondary infertility. I felt like no one could understand my pain because it just didn't make sense to anyone. But Christ knows.

Christ wouldn't want us to compare our imperfections to the things talked about on Father's Day or Mother's Day. He would want us to recognize our own personal strengths and celebrate them. Our weaknesses are different and everyone has them. Even though we are weak, we can be amazing human beings. Christ wouldn't want us to feel anything less than amazing.

Those of us with hard marriages (or ended marriages) may have a hard time feeling amazing on these days. We may question why we married an addict or a liar or a man who doesn't treat us right when it seems like everyone around us is living the life we wish we had but I will let you in on my theory of this. I feel like admitting that we struggle is the first step in becoming more of a loving community and world. (I know, I dream big.) Admitting we aren't perfect but that we each have our own uniquely good qualities is a step in the right direction.

I had a discouraged friend today. My friend is married to a man with a pornography addiction. He is a good man. He has an addiction. His addiction doesn't make him a bad man or father. Anyway, in church today, the speaker said these words from the pulpit, "A remarkable man respects women enough to stay away from porn." Dagger-to-heart. I can understand that the speaker was trying to make a point about righteous fathers and the choices they make but the problem is that even righteous fathers struggle! And guess what? Some of them struggle with pornography or sex addiction or alcohol or drugs. Gasp! Good men aren't perfect men.
I have a feeling a lot of fathers left that sacrament meeting feeling discouraged because they were not considered remarkable and I hate that. I hate that sometimes Father's Day or Mother's Day is a day where we list all of the things we should be doing as women and men and instead of finding the things we are personally good at, we start to feel discouraged because we feel like we aren't enough.

I've been thinking about this a lot today as my Facebook feed has blown up with posts about everyone and their wonderful husbands and fathers. I've been thinking about my friends who can't see the greatness in their husbands or fathers because of addiction or other painful circumstances. I feel their hurt. Sacrament meeting was hard for me too. It was hard to hear about the qualities of a righteous father. It was hard to hear wives doting on the amazingness that is their husbands. Because we all deserve that---but we don't all receive it.

But even if it hurt something inside of me, I wouldn't want them to stop. Fatherhood is so incredible and fathers are so important. And it makes me happy that so many people I know have incredible husbands and fathers. That is wonderful!!!

Being on the other side of things makes me more sensitive to the people around me on days such as Mother's Day and Father's Day. I've learned that this year. I've learned how hard these particular days can be for people. I've heard stories of people leaving church feeling discouraged because they just can't measure up to the things that are spoken of on Mother's and Father's Day. I wish I could ease their pain. I wish I could show them that there is hope and happiness ahead. But I can't and you can't. We each have to find these things for ourselves.

But tonight, I hope you know that despite your individual circumstances and your feelings about today, Christ knows you. He knows your pain and He knows your happiness. He knows your heart. You are never alone. He suffered for you and I. It takes an incredible amount of love for someone to do that for each and every one of their brothers and sisters and He did it---because He loves you.