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UP CLOSE: Living Single– Titanic Tears and Ministering Angels – Just Another Day Really

If you’d like treat yourself to wonderfully honest, poetic writing from a red-headed Aussie, visit Selwyn’s Sanity. Selwyn is the mother of two boys and is in the middle of a divorce. What more shall I say? I’ll let her writing tell her story.

Last night I watched Titanic for the first time. Apparently I am one of the last 16 people in the history of adult females currently populating the planet who haven’t seen it. Leonardo and Celine are the two biggest causes for my lack of enthusiasm thus far.

It was surprisingly good. So much so that as the credits rolled and I noticed that it had gone for THREE HOURS I didn’t believe it. It certainly didn’t feel like three hours.

But I cried. When the fiance (can’t remember his name) and Jack are standing together trying to convince Rose to get on the lifeboat…. awful.

Hot tears burning down my face. Part of my brain was saying “Why does she get chosen? By TWO different people?” It just slapped me in the chest again that I wasn’t chosen by George.

That he chose something else, someone else, over me. That he chose [insert whatever] over Hatro and Wong, over our family. That even though he has said – right from the beginning – that I did nothing to cause it, that I was an excellent wife and mother and person, in the end he didn’t choose me.

When someone walks away from you, by deliberate choice, and tells you so, your sense of self is assaulted. Depending on how high esteem you hold that person, their statement can shake your self-worth either for a second or shake it tumbling to the ground and into the crevasse that has suddenly appeared beneath your feet.

I’ve been struggling with where self-esteem becomes pride. Knowing I have inherent worth is important, yet is my embarrassment that my husband left me an indication of pride? Is my belief that I WAS a good wife prideful, or simple acknowledgment of my efforts?

I cried last night watching Titanic. I cried in my prayers. I hate crying, but I felt better for it. Well, except for the hot scratchy eyes.

Today the ministering angels came.

Two Elders arrived at my door, with the plan and determination to play with my sons. They played Monopoly with them, and then a convoluted tag/army game. They were here for nearly 3 hours, and the boys were absolutely delighted. The Elders finished with a spiritual thought for us – well, actually it was for the boys. Bear in mind that Hatro is 11, and Wong is 7. They spoke of how Mormon was 10 when he was first told he had a work to do, and started to prepare. That he did incredible things because he had prepared. Those 2 amazing Elders encouraged Hatro and Wong to prepare to serve the Lord, to serve a mission. To prepare mentally (“Do your homework!”), spiritually (“the things you know to do”), physically (“Do something physical each day” and “Eat healthily!”) and prepare by doing things now (“Be an example” and “Obey your mother”) to be able to be a missionary.

The boys promised to do those things.

Last night, in tears, I hoped we weren’t now a service project because we were a “single parent family”. Today I am close to tears, in gratitude that my sons are loved and thought of by wonderful priesthood holders, who want to encourage them to do the best they can and serve the Lord, and actually put that love and concern into action.

What an incredibly wonderful day.

20 thoughts on “UP CLOSE: Living Single– Titanic Tears and Ministering Angels – Just Another Day Really”

  1. It is NOT dangerous pride to be loved, or expect love from your spouse. It is NOT arrogant to deserve respect and affection. Please don't ever feel that way! You deserve to love and to be loved in return, and we don't have to be perfect to deserve it.

    And your boys sound like they've got a wonderful mother and wonderful support system around them to nurture them through these years. Let it happen. I know none of us wants to be a project, but I've never been to a leadership meeting where someone was spoken of as a list of chores. People come to help us in our lives because they care about us. I'm sure the people in your ward love you and want to help strengthen you. They will be blessed by coming just as you will be blessed by letting them come.

    God bless, honey.

  2. A friend and I promised each other never to see Titanic because of the "just a small bad part." I still have never seen it and never will.

    I was saddened and gladdened, however, by your story. I hope things will just keep getting better and better. I always seem to have to re-learn that letting people serve me, no matter how humbling it is, turns out better than I think beforehand. All the best from Germany.

  3. I read this and cried. I cry easily these days, particularly when I am touched by people who care. The Elders who visited will have done so for a myriad of reasons, it doesn't really matter what they there. What matters is that they helped 2 little boys, and their mother, in some way. It may have been planned or unscheduled, but they came and made a difference. They will never know how much they helped. It is wonderful to know that there are many people on this earth that care, that will live by the spirit, that set good examples, they help change lives for the better little by little.

    You are an amazing mother to continue alone, bringing your children to Christ each day.

  4. Thank you Selwyn for your beautiful and honest writing. I love your spirit and strength. Someday, George is going to wake up and see what he walked away from… and I can scarcely imagine his anguish.

    Bless you. Thank you.

  5. Selwyn, your post contains a raw beauty that you express so exquisitely. I finished it feeling edified. I hope you never feel like a project. I pray that your boys will never see loving service to them as someone's chore. It sounds like those Elders knew exactly how to interact and communicate on their level. They, like your boys, must have amazing mothers.

  6. I saw Titanic and thought, "just wait until Jack and Rose get married. They'll hate each other within two years." But Jack ended up dying, so I guess not.

    Anyway, If you were a charity project the elders would only have stayed for 20 minutes.

    I say bless them and anyone else who has the desire to help you. You're lucky to have people who care.

    Sorry about your husband. You already know what I think about him 🙁

  7. thank you for sharing such a personal and sensitive issue. don't feel like a project, let yourself feel loved. not an ounce of pride in knowing the truth- that you're a wonderful, devoted mother and that your boys are blessed to have you. you can do this, one day at a time.

  8. Sewlyn,
    I love your writing; I love your raw, honest, beautiful, big brave heart to share it with all of us. You ARE chosen!! You are a talented, gorgeous, beautiful daughter of God. God chooses you and we choose you. We all love you and are cheering for you!! This is a HARD, HARD thing you are doing. And yes, the Lord will NEVER leave you comfortless and the ministering angels come–but it is still hard. Just know that we've ALL saved a seat for you on the boat.

    And about those Elders–you are NOT a service project. These are experiences never to be forgotten. There is a powerful bond of love between those who give and those who receive. And in the end it doesn't really matter which end we're on–we both are so, so blessed by it.

  9. Those Elders sound awesome! Maybe you are a "project" but it is so good for those that you will allow to help you. And even if the elders did come over as a way to help you, they didn't say anything that I wouldn't love to hear in my household too. Even with a good priesthood-holding dad in the house, my boys need to hear from those cool elders about how awesome the mission is, and they need to be getting excited about it! It's just not the same coming from boring old mom and dad.
    I'm so sorry about your marriage. Good luck with everything. God really does love all of us, and he has a plan for you.

  10. Knowing what it is like to get 'trashed' by somebody important to the self-esteem, I identified with this post more than you know. Thanks for saying things out loud that I cannot seem to do.

  11. Stunning post.

    (FWIW, I never saw that movie, either. So make that, what, 17 people? hehe)

    I think it is essential to realize that HIS choices are HIS choices. To separate out your worth and your desires and choices for good from his sad, sad choices is important, imo, so that you don't internalize the garbage associated with his choices.

    But in the end, he will be the one to hurt the most, because he is walking away from what means the most. Sad, sad stuff. Cry, grieve. It IS sad. But it's not about you.

    I have read Jacob 2 with women like you in mind. Men who make choices that break the hearts of their tender wives and children just…just…it's just so awful, so tragic. The price of agency is high. It hurts. Thank heaven we know that God is a God of amazing mercy and that His compensatory blessings for the faithful, like yourself, are beyond what we can now imagine.

    I'm so sorry, though, for the present pain. So sorry. No wife, no children, deserve such pain. It breaks my heart.

    And would that we could all be the recipients of such service. In a sense, we are all "projects." We need each other. That is part of the plan — to serve and help and lift one another. I am deeply touched by the mentoring service that this men of God gave your sons. It's an inspiring example of manhood and priesthood in action. And it's a way that God can reach out and love you. Help you and your precious children.

    Angels, indeed.

    Bless you. Thank you for sharing. I'm sending you virtual hugs.

  12. Selwyn, this was a beautiful, honest, and touching post. I ache for you. Your boys are lucky and blessed to have you as their mother. And I hope my sons are as compassionate and spiritually in tune on their missions as those missionaries who came to your house. God is tenderly watching over you, no doubt about it.

  13. Selwyn, this was a wonderful post. My children were slightly older than yours when my husband left, and for the next few years of their youth all our lives were blessed by regular visits from, and meals with, the elders. The kids came to look upon the elders almost as big brothers, and even if we started out as a service project, it evolved into much more.

    Now my children have gone, and the elders- and any priesthood presence in my home- have gone too, as I am a single woman and therefore it is deemed inappropriate for them to visit.I miss the priesthood in my home, and am more grateful than ever for those who used to visit us.

    Enjoy these times while they last. Whilst they are, I am sure, not what you planned, in their own way they are special, and you will have a great influence upon the young men who visit you.

  14. Dear Anon,
    I hope you have not been abandoned by the priesthood altogether — that you have sweet, faithful, inspired home teachers who watch out for you!
    If you don't, let someone know — maybe find out who they should be first and invite them to come. Or ask for "powerful, Priesthood-bearing angels" to be assigned to you.
    NO ONE should ever feel out of reach of the Priesthood and its blessings! Even if you may have imperfect, human home teachers, they can become YOUR project 🙂 — maybe they don't know how much they are needed, or how much the Priesthood can bless yet!
    God bless!

  15. I love those Elders!! That is such a sweet, Christlike thing for them to do, and that will impact your sons in a big way.

  16. Selwyn,

    Reading what those missionaries said to your sons was inspiring. I think my sons need to hear that too. We do try to prepare them, but like others have said, a parent's encouragement needs reinforcements.

    I hope the elders will keep coming and giving your sons friendship and an example. My prayers are with you.

  17. Faith.Not.Fear

    I know who my home teachers are, but both are busy men and one has a seriously major stake leadership position and says he finds it hard to find the time to do his visits, though he wants to.I've been assigned three sets of hometeachers in the last 3 years and they have all been too busy to come out, so it seems to be a problem involving more than one companionship. But I wanted to thank you so much for your thoughts and positivity.

  18. Hey, Sisters,

    I just wanted to say how much I appreciate the faithfulness of the posts and the comments on this site. I just clicked over to feminist Mormon housewives and Exponent II and was saddened by so many who have lost their faith.

    I have thought a lot about my faith, have even read some of the things others did that loosened their moorings, and I did not lose my belief in the LDS church as my way to follow Christ. So it is comforting to share ideas and concerns about life in this forum where others also focus on the faith they have in a positive way.

    Sorry this was way off topic.

  19. Dear Anon,
    I'm so sorry that's the situation!

    I had a bishop years ago whose philosophy was, if someone wasn't doing their home teaching, they'd be released from their other callings so they could. Home teaching was (and is!) that important!

    Sadly, not everyone has that testimony, or the understanding of how important those visits really are! Having been raised by a single mom, I know how grateful we were for our home teachers and bishop!!! And my dad, living alone at 70+, needs visits just as much!

    Maybe you could send them our blog exchanges as a reminder? I wish I could come talk to them myself!!! 🙂

    Thankfully, no matter how they do their home teaching (or don't) YOU are NEVER ALONE! You are a beloved daughter of Heavenly Father who will not leave you comfortless!

    God bless!

  20. Faith.Not.Fear–Your dad will have no fear of being visited by his home teachers: he's a man. It's single women who are so scary that two adult men can't visit her alone. (Sorry, I'm a little bitter. This only happens in certain wards; in other wards, single women are assigned to the high council and visited without a companion just fine, and that was the best experience with home teaching I've had, well, pretty much ever.)

    I find the way my ward does home teaching pretty perfunctory at best and damaging, at worst. Because it's a huge singles' ward, apparently there aren't enough guys to do all the ward's home teaching, so they assign one guy to two girls and they do "home and visiting teaching" all together in one. The problem I have with that is that it introduces a lack of confidentiality on both sides of the equation–visiting teaching is supposed to be a safe space in which women can become friends and confide in each other, and having a man there disrupts that flow, and home teaching is supposed to be a chance for the sister visited to ask for blessings, to talk about what's weighing on her, to connect with the priesthood side of things, and it's weird for two women who aren't the home teachees to be there.

    At the same time, there's something interesting about it, too, *because* of the changed dynamic. So mostly I just find it weird.

    To the topic at hand: Selwyn, I completely understand and sympathize. Having *never* been "chosen" in the way you're describing, my heart ached to read your words because I have felt the kind of thing you're feeling, and every time a guy rejects me it feels worse. But sometimes, when I'm feeling less vulnerable, I can recognize that it's really a great blessing from the Lord that (at least most of) those men aren't a part of my life, because I'd have been miserable with them, not only because they didn't want me, but because we were incompatible.

    In your case, I'm sure the thoughts will be different, because of course there's a commitment that he has forsaken, among all the personal factors. But the Lord has a way of giving "beauty for ashes" that I've never really understood, but know is possible. It sounds like your experience with the missionaries was one of those kinds of moments.


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