Monday, June 23, 2008

Agency

Before you read this, this is not to any specific person, I am talking with people in general....

For the past couple of months, I have really had the priciple of agency lingering in my head. I believe that God is teaching me right now of understanding this principle especially in working with other people. A few events have happened recently that I have been reliving over and over in my mind, trying to think how the conversations could have gone better. Let me explain....

I have found, with me, whever I go, that people that I interact with that are not my same religion, somehow in every conversation bring up their views and opinions about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. I rarely bring it up myself, we will be chatting along and then BAM out of the blue the conversation is a little awkward and heated because some people do not agree with what I believe in. For example....

1. We went to dinner with a couple of friends a few months ago. They are not LDS. They are wonderful people who are so nice and generous and kind. We always laugh when we are in conversations with them and so we decided to ask them to dinner. We are sitting at the restaurant and are having a lovely time, when all of the sudden, she changes the subject to growing up, her family problems and how the Bishop handled everything so poorly and she can do whatever she wants to do and she is a good person. That she didn't believe in the LDS church and their standards. Then leading the conversation to saying LDS adoption guilts these girls into giving up their babies. WHAT!?! Where did that come from? We had just told them not 10 minutes before that we were trying to adopt through LDS Social Services. May I also add that her tone was very dead serious and in a very aggrevated. OK, how do you respond to that? Which leads me to my next example....

2. I am getting my hair done by my new hair dresser who is an absolute miracle worker. Last October, a girl literally fried and butchered my hair and I looked like a skunk. I cried for days it was so bad. My friend recommended this new hair dresser and he SAVED me! He is expensive and far away, but after paying that price, I will pay it to go to him. Last time I sat in his chair we were discussing the things he did for his birthday. He used to be LDS and now is not. He knows that I am because of conversations we have had before. The conversation started with his party and that he was thankful this year that he did not get so plastered out drunk that he could remember the night before. I congratulated him on that! What was I suppose to say? The conversation then led to him singing at a Kareoke bar, which led to good entertainment, (huge stage show vs. a musician and just the music) which then led to Vegas shows. I know that may not make sense how each led into one another, but that is how it went. So I told him about the last Vegas show I had seen and said that I had really liked it other than a couple of minor glitches that only I am sensitive too. Well that really lit him on fire to tell me about a show in Vegas that I just had to see. The best part was all of the non dressed women swimming around in a champaign glass. And then he tells me that my husband would thank me for taking him to a show like that. WHAT!?! He would love to watch my husbands face as he would watch a specific show like that. On and on and on. By now, I am hutching over in my chair because I just cannot believe what he is saying to me. My husband is not the type of man to be interested in those type of shows and he kept talking about it because of my reaction.

3. I have had countless conversations with people that out of the blue they tell me that they do not agree with Temple Marriages, the definition of keeping the Sabbath Day holy, and modesty and chastity and on.............

Which leads me to my thoughts of agency. I can honestly say that in 98% of the conversations I have had, I am not the one to bring religion up in a conversation. I always try to find the mutual ground that we do have and talk about those things. So, why then do others always bring it up with me?

Do they think I am judging them?

Well, let me express something that I have learned so far. The greatest gift we have been given was our agency. Choices which lead to progression. All choices are learning tools in our lives. To me, we are all the same. We are all children, just trying to learn and grow up. Some things come very easily to me and yet other things I really struggle with that may come easily to you.

I know who I am, I know my plan, and I am just a student.

Some people have viewed me that I try to force people to do things that I understand. Honestly, I think that there is some truth to that. However, I do believe it was subconsciously rather than consciencly. It has taken a few years to learn that we are all on different paths at different levels. It was Satan's plan to force people to do things. The plan that I accept and live by is giving people their agency. I respect you and who you are and I am learning to love no matter what you think my expectations are. My expectations are only of myself.

So where is the middle ground between the 2 different worlds. I will never attack you for the choices that you have made. I love people to much to do that. But how do I stand my grounds in the beliefs that I have without offending you and losing the friendship?

The only way I can think of right now, is sharing my personal opinion on agency....

4 comments:

JENNIFRO said...

WOW! Those are some crazy conversations. I'm off to girls camp so I can't think of anything profound to say--but you make some really good points.
I enjoyed that post a lot.

Ann Marie said...

Only 3 words for me to say.
I agree completely.

Katie said...

It is always funny to me to see how people are so opinionated about things they don't nessecarily (sp?) know anything about. Like adoption. I know first hand that the social workers don't pressure the birth mothers. They get most of that from family and friends. My social never pressured me into anything-all she did was lay out all the facts and let me decided what was best for me and my baby.

It seems like we are getting attacked from all angles now about our faith. I really think it is because people don't know about it and what they don't know about they are afraid. All we can do is stick up for ourselves and our choices. Feelings are always going to be hurt at some point, and we may be taken off guard most of the time, but it really does make us stronger everytime we do stick up for ourselves.

Jenice Henrie said...

My new philosophy about people thinking I am their sounding board for things they dislike about the LDS Church is as follows:

I had a friend named Jeannie O who had a unique style of driving. She moved at her own pace. One day she was backing out of a parking space at Harmons and some guy just kept blasting her with his horn and waiving his arms (and finger) for her to get moving. Apparently his speed was the right speed.

She continued at her safe and comfortable pace and accomplished her goal. When she drove away she was as happy as she always was knowing that she did her best and he went into Harmons just fuming.

My point is that we cannot change others, we can just do our best and be happy with ourselves. We can never please every. But again she drove off happy and went in angry. If they have a problem with the people of the church, then it is their problem. Be like Jeannie O and drive off without their anger.

Just a thought.

P.S. She kept smiling at him the whole time. I think that might have upset him too, but it made her happy.

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