Friday, August 31, 2007

What is family?

Last night as I layed in bed trying to go to sleep but couldn't due to thoughts of wanting to sell our home and move I started comparing our situation here versus other places we lived. What made them so much better? Why do I hate it here so much? Like most of you church takes up a huge chunk of your time and in essence is a large part of who you are. That is when it hit me what is family? Family to me are those people you love and without condition or strings attached (most of the time). They are the first people you want to call when something good happens and even more so when the news is bad. When you are sick it is your family you want most. Family is good food and lots of laughter. They are the people you want to be with more than your neighbors, more than your other friends. They are the people you love to serve because you simply love who they are. And yes, there are times when they drive you crazy! And yes, sometimes you argue with them but in the end you always come back together because you are family and you love one another. Because Dallan's jobs have pulled us far away from our parents, siblings, etc., etc., we have learned to rely on a new kind of family.... our ward family. In both Charleston and Port Orchard from the moment we walked in we were greeted, we were taken care, we were welcomed. We felt loved, needed and when we served we felt appreciated. I will never forget when we went to church the first time in Charleston after picking up Madelyn. It was almost embarassing the reception we received. We were late getting there. Most people had already heard the news but no one really knew we were going to be at church that Sunday. One sister spotted us in the lobby and instantly got up and walked out to see our new baby, and then another, and then another. Soon the lobby was full. Dallan was mortified. But they were ecstactic for us. They wanted to see this baby girl we had waited so long for. The love I felt from those people was unreal. Many cried with us when we got the news we would never have children and those same people cried happy tears when our dreams of becoming parents came true. They were our family. Then we moved to Port Orchard sure that we would never find a ward of that caliber again. And again, we were beyond suprised when we became a part of the Sinclair View Ward. Like Charleston, the people in that ward became our lives. The sisters in that ward became my greatest friends, my greates allies. There was nothing they wouldn't do for me or my family. And in truth there isn't anything I wouldn't do for them. You should have seen the clothes people brought over when we got Jackson. Meals were brought in even though I was quite capable of cooking. And my baby shower! I can't even tell you how much work went into that! Why? In one word...family. And that brings me to Rexburg, Idaho. This ward isn't a family. It is a Sunday obligation. You go to church and you are nice but when your three hours are up that is it. You go visiting and home teaching because it is required not because you love it. You do your calling and you serve because that is what was asked and what is expected but not because you love it. You don't see people congregating talking about what is going on in each other's lives. And when that last bell rings you better believe most are running toward their car. So what happens when you are away from your "real" family and your "other" family turns out not to be family at all but merely aquaintances at best? I wish I knew!

9 comments:

emma jo said...

Dear dear Mandee. I know how you feel as I have really struggled to feel fully adjusted here as well. I am so sorry that things are not happy and well right now. All I can say is give it more time and maybe a new "family member" or friend will fall into your life, soon I hope...until then, call the people you love to get you through til then...forget it, I'll call you right now.

Mandee said...

You are a good, good friend. Thank you.

Jessica said...

Maybe you are there to show them how to do it right. We miss you guys so much because you were all of that for us. I am sorry it's so hard right now. You are in our thoughts and prayers.

Suebee said...

You know, I was just wondering to myself in preparation for church tomorrow, when I ward gets too big is that what makes it feel less friendly? Are there too many people to keep up with so no one tries to keep up with anyone? I don't know, but I have prayed for someone to move into our ward that I would feel a connection with and had a friend move in. Unfortunately, she is moving this weekend. I am sorry for your pain, but I know how you feel and you have my sympathy totally.

Mandee said...

Don't feel bad for me! And Perhaps Jessica is right. We know we are suppose to be here for some reason or another. Maybe this is it. Just like in most places...some days are good and some not so good. I will try to be more positive from now on.

Vanderbeeks said...

ahh. Mandee, find me a house...I'll move in, ok, ya'll can move down here - I don't like the wind in Rexburg. the only lifesaver my ward has is its interest in family history and they are working on hundreds of names for me. thank goodness I had cancer in my last ward and not this one...

You know there was a lady in Panama that prayed for a friend and my mom and dad moved in next door and were LDS too with kids her kids age. I bumped into her in the mission, Bowie area, when I was with Roller and Etch. She still loves my parents and shared that story with me. Anyway, I have had to take a step back and slow down the past few weeks - rebalance my priorities - and it's frustrating to not have friends around who help carry the burden. I'm just not as strong as I hoped I'd be 9 months after finishing treatment. If I even thought of praying for help in my last ward, many people came running. I feel so all alone here on the hill in Hyrum. We need a girls weekend with no kids. Let's go shopping, eating out, and maybe get a pedicure. I really hope you come visit. I'd be there in a heart beat if I knew I could stay awake for the drive. Take care and keep in touch. I will keep you in my prayers.

Mandee said...

Laura....how does October sound? I am thinking of driving up sometimes around the 19th. Do you have tons going on that week? Let me know. I am sorry you are having a hard time and not feeling well. Last week I was really sick without any help and I thought I would never make it. I can't imagine being in your situation. It helps put things in perspective. Thank you.

Misty said...

mandee, i think it is just the utah-idaho church mentality you are having a hard time with. after the mish i didn't think i would do well in utah, and i didn't. after we moved here from l.a. i was very apprehensive about how we would fit into utah mormonism again. what i have found is that people are just as loving and faithful as they are outside utah. it is still new, just give it a chance!

Mandee said...

Thank you Misty!