Being the one black sheep in the family who struck out on their own to explore faith, rather than regurgitate the family belief system, is a tough road to walk – especially when the rest of the family has gotten rather obsessive over the recruitment aspect of greater Christianity.
Some times I just want to smack the lot of ’em.
I do not share out my own belief system, because I simply do not believe that faith is supposed to be shouted from the rooftops. Faith should be the most personal of things, the truths you carry in your heart. You’ve never walked another’s path, lived another’s emotions, or felt the stirrings of another’s heart – so how could you possibly share the exact same truisms?
The only way another could fully understand my faith is to have lived my life…every last second of it – and imagine what my brain and the influence my life to this point would have me believe all the future seconds hold.
My faith is the always-updating culmination of my life experiences…it shapes itself with every breath and with every heartbeat.
Got ya confused yet? Yea…me too. But not everything has to make sense, because the human brain isn’t designed to understand every significant aspect of this rock we call home.
That’s one of the core truisms I believe…not everything is going to make sense.
My family (like most families in the US) is Christian. They read scripture, cite Bible passages, go to church, praise Jesus, believe in Heaven, lament Hell, and raise good, God-fearing children.
Once again, I prove to be the exception here…
For a long time, my options when faced with the family faith were simple: either get extremely quiet when such faith-based exhibitions were active (preferred), or leave the room (frowns). Attend the church services when a family gathering coincided with one (preferred), or pretend to be too tired to go (frowns).
And, above all…DON’T QUESTION THE FAITH!
I ceased to pay this grossly unauthentic ‘lip service’ to the family faith around 7 years ago…
And the family…
Was not amused.
I’ve paid the blood price for that coming out in more ways than I can detail…from emails filled with passages from the Bible, links to ‘important’ Christian websites and Jesus-Memes, to Facebook postings, to gifts with religious iconography branded into them.
I believe my Dad, however, is amping things up.
For the past 2 years, he’s been dropping little hints and requesting a little slice of my time to speak of matters regarding faith, which is odd, as in my growing years, he didn’t seem to be that interested in the church.
The strange thing is, every time he does a little reach out in the faith department, he’s hesitant, unsure, a bit awkward in the approaches, which is NOT the father I knew growing up. At the family gathering this summer, he performed his latest approach.
It was weird. Every alarm in my head went off. The lines of his body language screamed misery. Torment trod across his face. His eyes were heavy with moisture. His voice quavered with each syllable. Every visual cue in the unspoken language of his body was screaming at me: “This is wrong, this is wrong, this is WRONG!”
What. The. Actual. Fuck?
My dad is one of the most rock solid, dependable, and mindful individuals it has EVER been my luck to interact with. His mind is knife-sharp, analytically keen, and once in possession of all the facts, unfazed by any manipulation attempts. He constantly analyzes everything – even his own failings – and does the right thing even when it runs contrary to his desires.
He voluntarily gave up his light-aircraft licence even though he LOVED flying, because he determined his eyesight and reflexes were no longer up to his own, high safety standards.
So to have him approach me in this manner – where he’s borderline terrified of the conversation he has in mind??
What. The. Actual. Fuck?
The conversation will be one of 2 things. Either he’s gotten a holy person so concerned about ‘the little lost lamb (that would be me) needing to be rescued,’ that he’s being pushed to perform this little ‘intervention,’ or he’s honestly in research mode, and wants to know more about what drives me.
Queue up the title of this post…
It’s not the 2nd. That’s my wishful thinking again…
I don’t think anyone in the family reads my blog except my eldest son and DIL. The rest of ’em may see the photo that loads into Facebook (occasionally commenting on that), and the blurb that posts along with it, but I don’t believe they ever click through to WordPress to read the actual content.
In fact, I know they don’t – no heads have exploded yet…
I’ve had quite a few conversations with myself as I pound the pavement to and from work. I’ve never quite worked out the entire dialog, as I manage to get either irritated or depressed (sometimes both at the same time!) whenever I drag this subject out of the recesses of my mind and attempt, once again, to resolve it internally.
I’ve also torn apart this particular blog post more times than I can count in search of that same resolution.
I guess I’m down to my favorite quotes, after all.
(1) – I’m not lost – I’m just on a different road.
(2) – If the core of your being says something is wrong – you should pay attention.
(3) – The only one wasting his time is the guy at the bottom of the mountain, screaming at the climbers for taking the scenic route.
So Dad – if you DO actually read this poor scribbling – I’m not a little lost lamb, and I don’t need to be returned to the safety of the paddock…I’m a full grown ram, and I’m off doing Ram-Things.
(Insert Supernatural Being of your Choice)’s got my back.