My walking buddy told me a story about a guy who married a girl, had a baby, then joined the army. When he came back, she had run off and was gone, so he married another girl and started to have babies. Along the way (I should mention that this was a long time ago, and also here in Utah, and also after polygamy was stopped), his first wife showed up again and it was a "joyful reunion" (or so the history says). He continued to remain married to both wives and proceeded to have 17 children. My buddy's husband is from the second wife, I believe.
Anyway, she was telling me how the family always speculates about this situation; how did the second wife feel? How about the first? Why did she leave in the first place? It's a story with very concrete results: 17 babies, two wives, one husband. But we don't know the more important details, like:
Did he join the army without her consent?
Did she run off because she fell in love with someone else and when it didn't work out, did she come home?
Did he tell the second wife that if the first ever returned he'd have to take her in?
We don't know the reasons; the emotions.
She told me another story about a guy who is buried near her husband's ancestors in a small town in eastern Utah. He had helped martyr the Prophet Joseph Smith (1844) and then ended up in Park City, was abused by his son, and died in a horrific fire (but not for another week or so; he died of the wounds). The Relief Society of that ward had cared for him as he died and the Church paid for his burial. One day, a HUGE boulder, high up in the mountain, came crashing down and landed right smack on his headstone, crushing it and the grave beneath it! The townspeople ended up putting a plaque on the rock with his name on it.
Crazy story! She admitted she always wondered why he would go to Utah after killing the Mormon Prophet. Why? Was it to seek forgiveness? And was the boulder some kind of punishment from heaven? (You know, to make it harder after the resurrection, haha! Just kidding!)
These stories made me wonder how much we speculate about each other. We see family problems and social problems and physical problems and all kinds of junk all around us, but do we really see it? Of course, I'm of the persuasion that people should just be honest, you know? Be honest with yourself and with the people around you! Don't hide behind pride or shame or more pride or more shame --just be honest. (This thinking, incidentally, has actually gotten me into trouble before. Of course.)
People can't really be that honest, though. There are times when we just keep things to ourselves (propriety, not casting pearls, etc.) and that's probably a good idea. This, however, can cause the gossips to start. And the speculating. And the assumptions.
Sometimes (and I know I've mentioned this before), when I'm driving, if I see someone going ridiculously fast, I think, "that man is rushing to an emergency. His wife is in labor or someone died or..." If someone is going painfully too slow, I think, "He's got a wedding cake in the back, or his mother just had surgery and he's taking her home, or..."
It just takes a spin on perspective to get us feeling some good ol' charity.
I'm not very good at it, though. I assume people's thoughts too much (which can be hard because I actually read people rather well) and it becomes easy to judge their actions. I honestly believe that this is the weakest part of our mortal psyche --to see others and assume the worst. We all suffer from it a bit, I think. It's easy to, you know? We can't read minds!
Ooh! And maybe that's why God is so good at loving us. He CAN read our minds and he knows exactly what's going on in every situation. I'm guessing we would have a pretty compassionate attitude towards everyone if we did, too. Or we would run away screaming. Either, or. I'm good with neither, though. Because I would probably do the latter.
Lots to do. Hawaii is calling my name. I'll see her tomorrow! Huzzah!