I recently had an email discussion with one of my mothers-in-law (because I was blessed with two!) about the whole topic of more babies and our particular stance on it. We told Joe’s side of the family last week that we are expecting another baby and we were met with the responses we knew we’d get.
In the end of the email discussion, I’m guessing so as to not get into a conversation about feelings (because they are often viewed as something you’re not supposed to have on his side), she stated that as long as Joe and I are comfortable and happy, that’s all that matters. At first thought, this might be a completely nice thing to say but given the context of the email, it wasn’t her saying “We are happy for you if you’re happy…” so I took it as the general worldly view I have come to know quite well through others in my life. I wanted so badly to respond to that but I feel as though I’m always fighting a losing battle when it comes to opening up his side of the family to less-narrow views of things and this one, the view that if you’re happy nothing else matters, is a particularly hard concept to swallow. Do people really believe that or is it always just a jumble of words people throw together because it sounds good and they don’t want to invest any other emotions into it?
I don't think that we can say that as long as we're happy, that's all that matters. What if happiness to me was drowning my kids in the bathtub or stealing cars or even just being lazy all day or smoking pot all the time or sleeping around or snorting coke? Or allowing the world to raise my children instead of giving 150% of myself to their growth and emotional well being? As long as they’re happy who cares that the world raised them to be sex-aholics or alcoholics or child molesters or abusive spouses? And as long as we were happy allowing the world to teach them those things, nothing else matters, right?
That’s what I really wanted to say to her. Because I felt like it would maybe open up her mind a little bit to think about the general statement she made of as long as we’re happy, that’s all that matters. Where was that line last year when we decided we weren’t going to circumcise our son and got a whole lot of crap from his side of the family because they had to express their opinion on how wrong we were in deciding that? How about how wrong you are for torturing your sons as infants by cutting off part of their body just because society said it was okay and everyone else was doing it? And how come she can’t say that to Joe’s brother who in her mind is this big loser because he is in and out of jobs all the time and likes to party and smoke pot and drink a lot? How come she can’t say “as long as you’re happy, nothing else matters” instead of talking about him all the time and putting him down every chance she gets?
I really mean no harm in saying any of these things and really, everyone is entitled to their own opinion. I just don’t understand and I have to wonder how people can justify doing whatever they want because it makes them happy and then feel like they have nobody to answer to for it? Sometimes I really have to think God was crazy in giving us free will but then again, how are we to grow and strengthen our faith in and love for Him if we never have free will? How are we to teach our kids about this supposedly loving God when all they could ever see is the bad stuff He “allows” to happen? And not be able to teach them that it’s individual people that may have caused those bad things in the first place (because of free will)?
And didn’t He send His only son to die for the sins we commit because of that free will? But why back then and not now, when the world seems like it couldn’t possibly get any worse?
How do I teach my kids that it’s not about our happiness? That yes, we should strive to be happy people and some of us have more trouble than others doing this for many reasons, but at the same time, we shouldn’t be selling ourselves out for that happiness. We shouldn’t be allowing society or anyone tell us what it means to be happy or what we can do to gain happiness if it goes against God’s plan or God’s law. How do I teach my children that they will have to answer for every decision that they make and they should constantly be seeking God’s guidance and approval in every aspect of their lives in order to make good decisions that would be pleasing to Him? Especially when there are so many people telling them it doesn’t have to be that hard, that all they have to do is do what makes them happy and they’ll be fine. I already have this fear, as I am probably going to someday too-soon have to explain to my daughter why she was at our wedding. How do I make an example out of that, teaching her to understand the ways of sin and as much as I know of the ways of God, so that she can see it as an example and not view us as hypocrites?
I probably sound really harsh, especially concerning my in-laws. But I tend to get a little upset over the idea that I really care about them and I can’t do anything to help them see God’s desire to be number one in their lives. It kind of makes me feel helpless because I also constantly find myself feeling like perhaps there is a specific reason why someone like me has entered their lives. I get a little upset that they cut me off the second things start to lean in the direction of talking about feelings and pointing to the possibility that the way they view certain issues might not be completely right. Not that I am always right but I am convicted on the general idea that since God created life, we should be humbled to allow Him to control it.