This probably goes without saying, but I’m guessing that I should probably put words to screen about it anyways. There are two things in life that take precedence above all else: my faith and my family.
I know it may seem strange, to list faith before family, but there’s a reason for that. In order to properly support my family spiritually, emotionally and physically, I need to be the best person I can be. In order to be the best person I can be, I need to lean and depend upon my faith.
I live an “odd” faith as a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I don’t think it’s odd, but society as a whole tends to see it as such. It’s not an easy faith to live, but then again, faith shouldn’t be something very simple to live. If it’s too easy to live, then it’s not helping keep us in check. Or you’re naturally good without sin, but there’s only been one person like that on earth and society hung Him on a cross…literally.
I do well with structure. I like routines, patterns, rhythms and symmetry. I guess that’s why I love to be a programmer, my day is typically filled with all those things. The LDS faith has a similar structure that I find comfort in. Only instead of being items that help me create a useful program, they are items that help me create a useful me. 🙂
One of the core tenets of the LDS faith is the family unit. A lot of emphasis is placed on trying to be the best husband, father, son and brother you can be. I take comfort in the fact that there is an entire organization of men who think daily on how to be better in all those roles. Men who then share that information so that many others can benefit from it.
From the outside, the church probably seems odd because we don’t drink alcohol, don’t drink coffee,don’t use profanity, do give 10% of our earnings to the church, do spend at least 3 hours in church on Sunday, etc. To me though, these are not strange behaviors but instead are ways to help make me a better person for my family.
There are many aspects to this word: family. There is my immediate family, the one I have stewardship over: My wife and 3 children. There is the family I grew up with: My parents and brother. There’s my extended family: My grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins. And lastly, there’s my new family: My parents-in-law, siblings-in-law and my nieces and nephews.
Family is the essence of joy in my life. I am who I am today because of and for my family. They are the reason I take such great pride in items #1 (Family & Friend Time) and #3 (Work Time) in this post on my personal blog. Item #2 is all selfish and just for me. I wish I was completely selfless but alas I’m not. If I didn’t have a family to live for, I’m sure I’d just read books all day, eat top ramen and work just enough to buy more of those two items.
Family helps us grow in so many ways. They push us to the extremes and sometimes we crack in a bad way. It’s not okay, but it happens. Faith helps ensure that we don’t let ourselves get to that point. Sadly, most of the time, we either are the cause of the problem or we add to it versus fixing it. I know without ideas and help from church leaders, I would probably be a horrible husband and father. Many people think we are either inherently good or bad, but there’s more to it than that. It often just takes one small act of selfishness to ruin lives. Faith helps me remember that little acts have huge consequences.
Yet, there is the other side of the extreme where our hearts are just so overwhelmed with joy that it too cracks. Dancing with your baby and having her crack up. Hearing your five year old tell his first original joke. Watching your oldest slowly start to move away from being a child into becoming a young man. Laying next to your wife in bed knowing how lucky you are to have her at your side for this incredible journey. Reflecting upon precious, life-changing lessons that were taught to you by your parents. To be loved, truly loved, is one of the greatest gifts we humans can give to each other. There’s no greater place to feel that love than in a healthy family.
We all have family and so I hope that you to know both sides of the extremes. If you only know the bad and not the good, I’m sorry. I know life isn’t always fair and that not everyone takes their role in the family structure as seriously as they should. The only thing I can offer is for you to start your own family and do your best to make sure that it is one filled with more happy times than sad times.
That Sums It Up
You now have a little more insight into how important and intertwined those items are to me. In this techy filled world, religion and faith tends to be seen as archaic, fantasy, out of touch or plain gibberish. To me, it’s as real and mysterious as this computer I type on. I’m not sure I completely understand the “magic” that makes this machine work, but I know that I can research it and find out for myself so I can know for sure how it ticks. Same thing for religion, it seems like magic and constricting from afar, but if you give it a shot and dig deep into it, I’m sure you too can find one that synchs up with your thinking. That is, if you haven’t already, which I know if you’re reading this, you probably already have. 🙂