The Family

The Family
For Christmas 2010

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Thursday, July 15, 2010

More Complaining, Part 3

It's been really hard trying to figure out how to start this post.  I know what I want to say, but putting it all together has been rather hard.  That being said, here goes...

We believe in a very real God.  We believe he is an actual being, not just the Supreme Creator and Absolute Ruler, out there governing universe upon universe, but also our Eternal Father in Heaven, who cares about, loves, and has concern for each one of us.

If we pray, He listens.  If we cry, He notices.  If we hurt, He desires to heal and console us.  Always wanting us to do and be good, but never forcing us to.

We believe that everyone, each one of us, is entitled to inspiration from God to try and lead the best life they can.  We also believe that the leaders of the church we attend, including the local leaders, are entitled to an extra portion of God's inspiration, in order to be able to help those under their watch.

As Nathan continued to have repeated health problems, in particular with the shunt, it was so very, very hard to be optimistic, to have hope, to have faith that the day would arrive that he would just be healthy.  With each surgery, we would do the best we could to pray and then hope that God would be merciful to Nathan and to us and grant that this would be Nathan's last hospital stay.

And each time Nathan was readmitted to the hospital was such a devastating blow.  We would plead for the strength to endure and implore God that he would continue to have mercy on Nathan and grant him health and hope again that it would be the last hospital stay.

But it seemed that, at least for me, each time Nathan was readmitted to the hospital, my pleadings with God for him became more earnest and more sincere, but my hope that he would ever actually be healthy was going lower and lower.  And I fully realize how paradoxical that is.  But spiritually, I was really taking a beating.  So much in fact that Bekah was really, really worried about me.

I worried too.  But I really didn't know what to do about it, other than pray.  So in addition to praying for Nathan and Bekah all the time, I prayed a lot that God would inspire someone to know how I was feeling and that they would check on me.  In particular, I was hoping that someone from the congregational leadership would stop by.  But it just wasn't happening.

Despite Nathan's repeated health problems and consistent hospitalizations, we felt a great sense of inaction on the part of our congregational leadership. In the 10 months Nathan had been alive, no one from the leadership had ever been to our house to check on us to see how we were doing.  And to make it worse, no one had ever made the trip to the hospital during the entire 6 months Nathan had spent in the hospital.  Not once.  Never.  Not even for a minute.

And each day that "nothing" happened would just make me more and more and more angry and upset.  But each night I would continue to plead and beg God that someone from the leadership would call or stop by or do something.  But each day I would just become more disappointed, more angry. and more spiritually beat up.


  1. Thomas, perhaps one of the blessings that will come out of your trials is that when you are called to a leadership position you will have a greater love and understanding for those that you have stewardship over. It is a shame that you were hurt and disappointed by those you felt should have been a support and comfort to you. I hope you've have a chance to heal from some of those feelings. Sometimes the Refiner's fire hurts, alot! I really hope you can let go of the hurt and use what you've learned to be the best person/leader/father/husband/priesthood holder you can be. He must love you trust you alot to give you such a trial/blessing.
    Thomas, when I first read your last three posts I have to admit that I was a little disappointed that you would so publically criticize the leaders of our local church (one of which was my husband). It was more upsetting to me for your own sake and for the readers of your blog rather than for the sake of the leader's that so deeply disappointed you. But as I began my response back to you I learned a valuable lesson...that I should take my own advice. I sincerely hope that you can take this difficult experience and use it to bless the lives of those around you. And I truly hope for your sake that you can let go of your deep hurt so that it does not scar you. That is also the advice I would give myself. Not all of us post our feelings so openly and honestly on a public blog, but I too have feelings of resentment that I need to deal with in a more constructive way. In a round about way your blog helped me to do that. I wish you and your family the best. I'm certain the Lord has big plans for such strong people as you and Bekah. And Nathen really is a special boy he melt my heart each time I get to see him.

  2. Nancy,

    This is long, so it has to be broken into three parts.

    First of all I want to thank you for your comments. I have read and re-read them and thought about them a lot. You make your points very well and neither of us are offended or angry by anything you said. In fact, I especially, admire your courage for saying it.

    But, overall, in my opinion, I think you are missing the bigger picture, which hopefully will be clearer at the end of my comments.

    As a policy, I normally don't respond to comments unless it is outside of the blog. But considering the circumstances, I will make an exception to that rule because there are probably others who may share your opinion.

    For you (and anyone else who reads our blog that knew us back then), I will make the following points:

    Number 1: Our blog is about us. It is our story. It is Our Life. What happened to us, how we felt, and how we dealt with things.

    It is not about anyone else. It's true many, many others are part of the story, but everything is about what happened to us and how we reacted.

    Number 2: We decided to start the blog with the hopes that the story of Our Life would be able to help someone else who may be going through similar things, whether those things be on the medical side or the emotional and spiritual side.

    While we appreciate that many of our friends and people that we know keep up with the blog, it is not intended for them. It is intended as a resource for others who may be going through similar experiences and are wondering how someone else coped with things.

    We have received numerous comments and emails from people all over thanking us for putting this blog together. We are very happy to have provided the information and/or the inspiration they were looking for.

  3. Number 3: Since this blog is for the benefit of others, when we began we decided that we had to be honest. And at times, brutally honest. With that in mind, we knew that at certain times and certain events in Our Life, we would likely paint some people, including ourselves, in a not too favorable light.

    And that is very hard for us. This is not a "hate you" blog. I'm not our to smear anyone or persuade anyone to hate or dislike anyone else.

    But as I previously mentioned, Our Life was never intended for people we know. The vast majority of those who read our blog do not know most (if any) of the people mentioned or alluded to in the blog.

    So as a rule, I only mention by name those who "deserve" being mentioned by name and who either give me permission to mention them by name or who I know won't mind. I also take great effort to not mention anyone by name who may be cast in an unfavorable light.

    We do realize, though, that people we know, especially those who attend or have attended the same congregation, do read and follow our blog. And we knew that at some point, it was more than likely that there would be many of those who would figure out some of the people alluded to in the blog, especially the obvious ones.

    But what happened, happened. Life was hard. There was resentment and hurt feelings. There was anger and hard feelings. But there was also neglect (yes, we were neglected -- there is no way around that). That was our reality.

    And while it may be hard to read, especially because you may see yourself or people you know and love in it, it's still true.

    I truly believe the principle that you can't know the sweet without tasting the bitter. And we tasted A LOT of bitter.

    That was part of our life then so it's part of Our Life now. And just because someone we know may happen to know someone that's alluded to in our blog, I cannot change what happened to us or lie about it or distort it because it might hurt someone's feelings.

    And I'm not saying that to be vengeful or to persuade anyone to hate or dislike or think bad about anyone.

    It's just what happened to us. We wish with our whole hearts that things would have been different so that we could say good and wonderful things.

    But sadly, it didn't happen that way.

    And now, only since you mentioned it above, is everyone now in the know that your husband is part of the story.

  4. Number 4: Please don't feel upset or disappointed for me. I make no apologies for my honesty. I stand unashamed behind every word I write.

    The blog in general, and these posts specifically, are especially hard to write. This was one of the darkest and most spiritually and emotionally taxing times of my life.

    I take many days thinking about what to say and how to say it to correctly and fully express the anguish and depression that I/we felt at this time.

    You are correct that there was a lot of hurt and disappointment then. Also a lot of anger and frustration. We take no joy in re-living these very dark and painful times. In fact, it often times makes us angry all over again. But I still have to write it.

    Have we learned from our experiences? Definitely. Have we grown from our experiences? Absolutely. Can other people benefit from what we went through? Without question.

    Which brings me to my final point.

    Number 5: Earlier, I mentioned "the bigger picture" and that in my opinion you are failing to see it. So I will explain.

    I can understand why you think that it may be wrong or inappropriate or in your words "disappointing" and "upsetting" that I would use a public forum to criticize my local church leaders.

    So let me ask you, and everyone, these two questions:

    Question 1: Are you less, more, or equally disappointed that we felt the way we felt?

    Question 2: Is it more, less or equally disappointing that people who should have known have to find these things in a public forum?

    I would hope that what really disappoints everyone is not so much that we felt the way we felt, but that there are people like us who feel the same way now that we felt then because they are being neglected just like we were.

    It's sad and it's awful and it honestly disgusts me. No one should feel the way we felt. It's horrible. It's agonizing. It's dreadful. It's likely one of those things that only those who have gone through it can really, really understand it.

    But don't you wonder, "After everything that they've been through, how did they stay faithful? How did they make it? What did they do?"

    Well, keep reading and find out.

    And if we can help just one person strengthen their faith in Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ, regardless of the mental, physical, spiritual, and emotional strains and anguishes of a life like ours, then it's more than worth it. Because I can guarantee that we are not the only ones who'll ever feel the way we felt.

    And that's the bigger picture.

    In addition, you mention specifically that you hope that our trial has made me a better person, leader, father, husband, and priesthood holder. I hope it has too. And I hope the same for your husband as well. I hope that he is a better "all of those" now, knowing what he didn't know then and that in the future he will have a greater love and understanding for those he is called to lead too.

    In fact, I hope that for everyone. I hope that you can learn from our trials and how we dealt with them, for good for bad (however you see it) and that it will make each of you a better person, father or mother, husband or wife, church-goer, and/or church leader.