Wednesday, October 13, 2010
Family isn't good enough without the mirrors that go on forever.
A while back my mom called me up on the phone to give me the latest family gossip. I normally handle this by holding the phone to my ear as I watch a sporting event on the tv or read a book, throwing in the occasional grunt or gasp as appropriate to let her know I'm 'still listening'. Yes, listening. I don't do a lot of talking when on the phone with my mom. She's a dear woman, but not the best listener. When she does listen, all responses are pre-programmed, directly implanted by the church.
Me: "I lost my job, my car is broken down and all my kids have strep throat."
Mom: "Aren't you blessed to have kids?"
This is just how it is with my mom. She doesn't know any better, has never had to struggle with independent thought, etc. 100% of her focus in life is the church, church callings, how can she be better in the church, what more can she do for the church, etc. When she visits SLC, she mustn't stay too long as she needs to hurry and get home for church.
So, anyway, on this particular day she calls me up with the express purpose of wanting to discuss her idea that: "It would be so wonderful if I could have all of my kids in the temple with me sometime this year."
Me: "Not gonna happen, mom."
Mom: "Well, why not?"
Me: "#1 Sister lives with her boyfriend out of wedlock and has never been to the temple. #2, I don't have a recommend and don't forsee ever having one again."
Mom: "Oh! Don't say that. It hurts me so much when you say that. You were raised better than that, blah blah blah."
I asked my mom why she thought we needed a 'special event' like all of us being together in the temple to get together. She said she just feels so close to our Heavenly Father in the temple and would love nothing more than to have all of her children there with her, to feel close to the spirit and close to our (deceased) father. Now, for reference, I live in SLC with my wife and family. Brother, his wife and kids live in St.G. Sister 1 lives in Los Angeles, Sister 2 lives in Cedar City, mom and step-dad live in Northern Nevada. It is not common for us to all be gathered together very often. When we do it's usually very brief. I asked my mom whether she thought it would be a good idea to try to plan a time during the summer, when travelling weather is good, for us to call meet up for a couple days to let the kids play, visit together, and just enjoy each others' company. She said, yes, but it would just be so much more special if we could top it off with a temple session all together. I told her, I'm sorry, but I'm not going to be able to give that to you...nor would I want to spend 3 hours in a temple session when we only get to see each other so very infrequently. I would much rather visit, laugh, eat, watch the kids interact with their cousins, etc., than sit across the isle from my wife and stand up and sit down repeatedly while someone else watches me kids. I can't get much visiting done with my siblings whilst watching the movie in the temple. She of course didn't appreciate that light-mindedness.
Why isn't it enough to get together with family and enjoy the company of those loved ones that we see so rarely? Why does Jesus always have to come to the party?