My brothers and sisters

May 20, 2007

by Susan M.

Except for a cousin I haven’t seen since I was a child, I am the only church member in my family. My family is full of great people, but they’re mostly people who don’t always make the best choices. I can hear my husband laughing at that already—he’d say that’s putting it mildly. Let me put it this way: when I hear the latest family news from my mom, as long as no one is dead, in the (mental) hospital, or in jail, things are good.

Unfortunately, things are not often good.

I have one brother, though, who I held the most hope out for, as far as joining the church in this life goes. He was the one I thought might accept the gospel one day before he died. Maybe.

Until I received an email from him in which he revealed some things about himself and his lifestyle I had had no inkling of. And I realized chances of him ever joining the church, or of any of my siblings doing so during this life, were slim to none.

For the first time ever, after years and years of seeing my siblings and nieces and uncles and etc in and out of jail, in and out of mental wards, marrying husbands who beat them and their kids, drinking and doing drugs, making bad choice after bad choice—for the first time ever, I thought: I don’t want to be part of this family anymore.

I didn’t like feeling that way. So I  immediately went and prayed about it. I asked for a scripture that would help me feel better. Matthew 12 popped into my head.

I looked it up. The last few verses jumped out at me:

Then one said unto him, Behold, thy mother and thy brethren stand without, desiring to speak with thee.

But he answered and said unto him that told him, Who is my mother? and who are my brethren?

And he stretched forth his hand toward his disciples, and said, Behold my mother and my brethren!

For whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother.

That wasn’t really what I was looking for. I wanted something that would tell me I shouldn’t feel the way I was feeling about my family. I wanted something that would make it all ok.

But I thought about the people I knew who were living righteously and doing the will of the Father—my ward family. They never knew it, but they became my lifeline.

What’s funny is that at that time we were living in a suburban ward that was really boring. We’d moved there from a small town with a ward full of old retired people. You’d think the elderly ward would’ve been boring. But no. The Spirit was so strong there it was remarkable. Every Sunday we’d come home from church marvelling over it. The opposite was true of the suburban ward. We’d come home every Sunday complaining about how boring it was, and how we never felt the Spirit—not like we had in the previous ward.

But I would go to church every boring Sunday and I’d watch people. Families with their children. Older couples. Single parents. Childless singles. And I was so grateful that they were there. My brothers and sisters.

I was just happy to see people attending church. Bringing their kids. Trying to do what Heavenly Father wants them to do. And I thought to myself that every righteous choice, no matter how small, is rejoiced over in heaven.

One comment

  1. What a beautiful answer to a prayer. I don’t even recall that scripture. Bless your heart for going it alone. Bless your family…they sound like they need it. I, too, am grateful for a ward family. Our ward has issues, and like a family, we certainly didn’t choose it, but as we consider our next move the fact that we love our ward plays a big part in that. The interesting thing is that my husband and I had to make a conscious effort to love it. We actually had a conversation where we said, “We not going to say negative things about our ward. If any one asks us about it we will say, ‘We love our ward, we have a great ward!’ and this has worked! As I am writing this I am wondering what else I can trick myself into loving…

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