Warning: This is very religious!
"Freedom for most people of the world means “freedom from” the absence of malice or pain or suppression. But the freedom that God means when He deals with us, goes one step further. He means “freedom to”—the freedom to act in the dignity of our own choice." F. Enzio Busche, “Freedom ‘from’ or Freedom ‘to’,” Liahona, Jan 2001, 97–99
I have made this choice many times. When I was a youth, I was counseled time and time again, "Make the choice now". Whether it be moral, or smoking, or drinking. Sure, I made the choice, I wasn't going to do things that were harmful to me. I went to church, and don't ever remember, as a youth, NOT wanting to go. I suppose, it was never an option to go or not. My Dad, most of my growing up, didn't go. But I honestly don't remember thinking, well I can stay home if he is. My mom may tell you different, but that is fine, she usually does. *smirk*
When I graduated, I went off to school. I went to be with the mormons. So again, going to church was what we did. Sure it made me happy, sure it helped me make right choices. But everybody went, so...so did I.
I had a good friend who went on a mission, and get sent home for having sex. We talked many times about Free Agency, and how you just need to make the choice, and deal with the consequences good or bad. We talked about how it's just easier to do the right thing, once you've made the choice. When your friends say, "Let's go out drinking...you just say no!" You don't have to think about it, the decision was made years ago.
I remember when he was excommunicated. He couldn't understand why they took everything away from him. I said, well, you made a choice, and it was the wrong one. His wrong choices affected many people. His family, cuz he was sent home dishonorably. The girl he had sex with. His missionary companion. And me. We dated, but were not dating when he left, we were friends. I watched him go through this, and how painful it was. ONE stupid choice, lead to years of pain. He married the girl, and was MISERABLE. Seems to me he called me from a closet once, she was very controlling. But I digress. He has since been rebaptized, and remarried, to a wonderful girl. I haven't talked to him in YEARS, but think of him and his free agency often.
Back to me. So then I went and met a cute boy. He wasn't a member of the church, but he sure was cute. We dated off and on for about a year and a half. I wanted to get married he didn't. I wanted to get married in the temple. He didn't even want to go to church. So I left, and went to California.
He didn't like that I left, and decided if he wanted me, he better start using HIS agency to make right choices. A year later, he asked me to marry him. He had been making right choices all that time. Funny thing is, I wasn't making very good choices in California, but it all changed for both of us, we were married in the temple, and life was grand.
We kept making right choices, and some wrong ones, but never wavered in our faith. Now we are a family. Last year, was trying. On faith, on going to church. We were in a new ward, and it was different. The people are different. The ward we moved out of, we had been in for 12 years. We grew up in that ward, we had 3 kids in that ward. It was family. It was REALLY hard to start over.
When we were told Jack wouldn't live. We had faith he would. We grew stronger as a family. Then when he was born, and was "fine", and we had to keep him home alot, it started. Suddenly, church was an option. Not CHURCH, but going. We were given such a miracle in Jack. I felt guilty for turning my back on church. Not that I was turning my back on anything, but the kids, learned...church was an option. If Mom doesn't go, we don't have to either. I decided a while ago, maybe beginning of the summer, it was no longer an option. We were falling apart, and needed the spirit back in our home. So...I decided that. See... free agency.
So...I struggle with them at church. I would GO but then let them go home after primary. This new ward, has Sacrament Meeting last. Well, yesterday, I decided, I wasn't going to let anyone stop me from going, and STAYING at church. That was a mistake. Satan was in charge. Then it happened. "We are making some changes. We'd like you to be the new ward chorister."
My heart sank. My eyes fill up with tears retelling you. This is BY FAR my favorite thing to do at church. BY FAR!!! It entails, leading the singing, for 3 sometimes 4 songs during the service. I get to pick them, and stand up and see everyones smiling faces. Why does my heart sink you ask? Because of Free Agency, I am sometimes at church alone. I have a 12 yr old, who is now passing to sacrament, and isn't sitting with us for 2 of the songs. I have a 10 yr old, who teases the 4 yr old incessantly, and my sweet baby. Who, by the third hour, is done. I am scared to death, at the prospect of doing this alone. But will I really be alone? Maybe this is just the thing the boys need to take some responsibility.
Ya know, I told you before, my Dad didn't go to church most of the time. My Mom played the organ. One of our funniest childhood memories, is the glares from the organ, when we were being too rowdy. But we were older. And there was no baby. I told the man who offered me this "job", my Mom did it, so can I. But can I? I think the Lord thinks I can. Otherwise, He wouldn't have "mentioned it" to anyone. Hey, I can do lots of things. I can survive 6 surgeries, on my sweet baby. I can survive 6 trips to the ER in 2 months. I can survive my mother. ;) I can survive the black cloud that has taken residence over my house. I can certainly survive leading the music, while my kids are embarrassing themselves. If I have to hold the baby, so be it. RIGHT??? So I'm invoking MY Free Agency. I have been given the freedom to choose, and I am choosing to be happy, despite what people around me are choosing.
I'll let you know how it goes...