Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Unrighteous Dominion in the Skies

Dear Magdalene,

I've been wanting to write to you about authority for several days now.  We had an interesting event, you and I, on the airplane coming home from Utah.  An encounter with "authority", per se.  We had a bossy flight attendant who didn't know how to use manners, but ordered everyone around for even the littlest of things.

We learned that just because someone has "authority" doesn't make them right.  You had to use the bathroom after this woman pressured you into drinking a whole can of soda, which was meant to be a treat, not a chore.  You drank it, and once the seatbelt sign went on to land the plane, you had to pee.  Of course, you had to wait at least 10-15 minutes, while the plane seemed to circle around and around, for fear of the monster flight-attendant reprimanding you... and me.

When you started crying because you were afraid you couldn't hold it, and the plane had landed but not yet made it to the gate, we got unbuckled and walked two steps toward the bathroom before the flight attendant scolded, "What are you doing???"  She demanded you and I get back in our seats.  I tried to explain your predicament.  She declared we were breaking the law and FAA regulations.  She declared this twice, insisting again we get back in our seats.  I warned her you might pee your pants.  She didn't care.  She said that was your "choice".  

Is this "unrighteous dominion"?  Using a position of authority to insist that someone who does not hold that authority do something contrary to common sense, common respect, or common decency?  To bully someone into drinking a full can of soda, insisting they follow a law meant to protect them, and then humiliate them with a potentially very embarrassing situation?

I supposed I should have told you to go ahead and pee on the seat.  Maybe we could've been arrested for indecent exposure for all I know.  I took the lady's name, but after sleeping on it, I realized that being "consumer avenger" like I used to be wasn't worth it.  Writing the airline a nice long letter of complaint on why I think this woman is poorly representing the company would've been my normal routine, but after learning what I have learned this past year, and realizing that this could very well be a test for me, I realized it would be better to forgive this poor power-greedy woman, and pray for her soul.  Satan accuses.  Jesus forgives.  I made my choice, now it was time to follow through for once.

Maybe she never owned "power" as a woman.  Maybe she feels inferior, so she uses this false "authority" to domineer over others so she can feel like a better person.  In the end, it doesn't matter much anymore to me.  But it does matter as a lesson for us in unrighteous dominion.

In D&C 121, it talks extensively about Priesthood power, and this very same concept.  While it applies specifically to those who hold the Priesthood, I believe it applies to all human beings in any position of authority.  We know when our "control" is wrong, when it's domineering, condescending  and abusive.  Insisting others keep our secrets, manipulating them, harassing them or other kinds of subtle control are just as evil as outright demands and abuse.  Guard against it.  And if you have to be subservient, pray for the one inflicting the evil.  They need your prayers more than you need to hold the anger and resentment that they foster.  You're better off letting it go.

Love you!

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Warm Weather

Dear Josten,

I just realized something wonderful that I want to share with you, before I forget.

This past week, in the middle of March, we were in Utah.  Your grandmother's funeral services were over, and we were packing up all of our household goods, which have been in storage for nearly 6 months now.  Typically March in Utah is a very cold month, and some of the greatest snowfall happened while we lived in Utah during this month over the past 5 years.  It is also one of my most dreaded months to be in Utah, as when it would get windy, it would shake our mobile home.  It petrified me to sleep in that kind of weather.

I find it interesting to note that during the funeral, it was actually quite warm - 63 degrees, if I remember correctly.  It seems to me that Grandma told me the weather was also just as warm during one of our last conversations, before we even knew that she had cancer.

It's also interesting that when we spent two days packing up our things, from storage, to yard sale, to moving van, that it was also quite warm.  We were able to do all these things without winter coats on, and at some points, with only a short sleeved shirt.  You even asked why I didn't let you bring any shorts along.

As I sat in our home in Pennsylvania, I realized as I chatted with your other grandma that it was snowing outside.  Yes, it is the middle of March.  Yes, it is typically very cold during this month.

It took a moment for it to sink in, but it finally did.  The warm weather was a very tender mercy of the Lord.

We held your grandmother's funeral and burial services in the warmth.
We loaded our moving van for two days in the warmth.

Can you imagine if we had tried doing any of these things in the snow?  Shivering at a graveside dedication?  Unpacking our storage shed to sort through what we wanted to keep versus what we wanted to sell, setting boxes and goods into mushy slush?  Selling many things to complete strangers, in the frigid cold?  Spending 12+ hours, packing up what we wanted to keep, with gloves, coats, hats and scarves?

(photo source)
No, indeed God was very kind, merciful, and thoughtful for us during a very intense time of need.  So very grateful.

God loves you Josten.  I have to wonder if one of heaven's newest angels helped arrange that blessing for us.  It certainly helped things go a lot, lot more smoothly.

<3, Mom:)

Monday, March 4, 2013


Dear Josten, Magdalene, Austin and Daniel,

Today I fasted for your grandmother.  So did her ward.  She's been diagnosed with cancer, and they haven't even been able to locate where the cancer is originating.  We believe in miracles, so we fasted with hope.  The doctors just told us about 2 hours ago to prepare for her to not make it through the night.

There seems to be something going on in heaven.  A lot of very wonderful people are passing, and your grandmother Mary is indeed wonderful.  I love her as I know you do.  It makes no sense to me that someone can be fine one day, and then 2 weeks later be passing so quickly through the veil.  She has not gone yet, and somehow we still hope she will be granted a miracle.  

During our last phone call together, your grandma cried that she wasn't ready to die yet.  She wanted to see her grandkids grow up.  I hope and pray she still has that resolve, but I also know she has no fear of passing.  She has intense love of our Savior, so there is no fear for where she's headed.  

It's all just so unexpected.  

I do believe something's going on, beyond.  Maybe, since some of you are very sensitive to things going on beyond the veil – maybe she will come and clue you in, and you can clue some of the rest of us in on the action.  Hopefully it's not quite yet.    

Love you all,