Like many plural families, Vicki, Valerie, Alina and I grew up in fear. We were afraid of the government, we were afraid of police, we were afraid of outsiders, we were afraid to be ourselves. It became very natural for us to hide in the safety of our families, after all there we found love, safety and security. Sadly, this is a limited way of being.
We came to realize that the very nature and calling of our faith was stifled. In fact, faith is by it nature a purposeful action in a positive direction, it is taking a step up even when you don’t know where the stair case leads. The contrast to faith is fear.
Fear is a reaction to what we think to be real but have no evidence for, and so in the end we cause that reality. In our book, Love Times Three, we chronicle the story of our daughter Kyra dying and the ensuing investigation by the state. Our years of fear manifested itself in the State investigating us. We see now, that had we not had that fear there were many powerful actions we could have taken. We were so used to hiding in the safety of our family we knew no other way to be.
Eventually we came to the understanding that family is a place to come from into the world, not a place to hide in. Our family, however imperfect it may be, like any family is a source of love for us to then share with each of our neighbors, and with the world. When you are a victim, you are creating your fears. Too often, in efforts to help plural families, well meaning people turn them into victims. In our experience, it is always better to empower people by standing for them where ever they are at in life.
Even today, people will ask my children, or wives questions that imply they are victims of circumstance. Recently for example, Liesl had a rather boisterous girl in class ask her in front of everyone, “So are you a polygamous?”
Of course, she is not a polygamous, her parents are, but the point wasn’t as a matter of curious inquiry but rather designed to test her response.
Had Liesl reacted defensively, and with fear she would have created the very fear she wanted to avoid. People would have thought she was a victim, and she would have felt dis-empowered.
Instead she responded, “Yes I come from a plural family, pretty cool huh!” The nature of the conversation changed and a new way of her interacting with classmates opened up.
For us it is important that we are who we are and we remain responsible for who we are. It often takes courage to be authentic. Courage is to be afraid and to do it any way. Most of us when we are in fear are not in action. Where the action is we are not. We become reactive instead of activists in our own lives.
Real power is standing in for what is really possible in your life. Real power is in being responsible for who you are and who you are not. Most people look at responsibility as something that occurs for them because of something. Responsibility revolves around fault and blame, and then we avoid it when we think we are to blame.
Our family is a creation of love, and it is because it is. We know we cannot become victims of circumstance when we react because of what is the matter. Too often in life we live in a world of explanation, and we are at the affect of life. We say things like, “I’m fine as long as no one is mean to me,” or “I have no problem doing X, as long as Y doesn’t happen.” For us we were fine to interact with the “world” as long as no one threatened us, but in that way of being we really didn’t fully and authentically engage with the outside, and we didn’t realize that we didn’t know we didn’t fully engage with others. It was simply the way things were.
Instead we have to notice in our life all the places we are thwarted at the affect of life and truly own it. This is to be cause in the matter, instead of because of the matter. It is an altering view of life which opens up opportunities we never thought possible. For us we have met hundreds of supportive people like those that read this blog, and talked to millions of people boldly in ways we never dreamed doing before.
This becomes a commanding way of being in that you realize in any situation, circumstance or matter you have choice, and in that choice you are cause. Just like happened with Liesl, new opportunities for action open up and people relate to you powerfully and authentically.
So the next time an upset comes up in your life, don’t tell someone that your way of being is because of whatever the upset is, for that is a lie. Instead, declare yourself cause in the matter, whatever the upset is, and you will find a new perspective that gives you options to powerfully move forward in your life.