Sundays and Wednesdays became the only time when my mother and I could be alone in the house and do things and talk about things in peace while my father went to Sunday school and church.
As my mother’s health situation began to take her energy she stopped wanting to go to events that had a lot of people around especially when it involved a social element where she had to talk to many people in a short period of time.
She always considered herself a shy person but her personality would always bloom when she was around people and people loved being around her. But, as she lost her energy she became less able to muster the strength to handle the general confusion of public events.
So, during these brief periods when we could spend time uninterrupted together I too began to cherish the peace and quiet of time alone at home and to do things during this time that needed to get done while not being slowed by interruptions. I guess living alone as long as I have, I have become quite okay with being alone and since I can so rarely do that now at home it is a time that I value greatly.
Today was my church’s 200th “Bicentennial” Celebration. I knew that it was coming but I had more or less forgotten that it was also going to be a reunion of people from my past. I also didn’t realize that it was going to be such a major event at church. I figured it was a special church service and that was it. My father also didn’t realize the scope of the services that would be happening so we didn’t really talk about it much.
I am really sorry I missed the opportunity to see some of the people I haven’t seen for so long a time who I think very highly of and value their contribution to my and my family’s life. I was active in the church mostly through the music program and for me a church is held together by the music program. Church is where I first found “the call” to music after having attended a Ken Medema concert way back in the day at our church.
But, over my years of living in Germany and my increased experience in the world I have come to look at religion in a way that probably it doesn’t deserve.
I am grateful to my parents for having the values of the Christian belief system. However, the automatic affiliation with a denomination simply because you were born there I have called into question. So, not only has my need for peace at home contributed to my church attendance delinquency, so to has my desire to possibly consider a denomination that is most inline with my own thoughts and personality.
However, my attitudes about my denomination are closely linked to the attitudes about my parent’s raising tactics, which was always predominantly based in guilt discipline. This method of living is very disempowering to me and the irony of this teaching of guilt as a way to steer our actions is in complete dissonance with the very purpose of Jesus’ teaching, which is to lift the burden of guilt so you can live freely which is known as salvation, a term that means to take a heap of junk and make it new again.
So when a the doctrine of a denomination is so steeped in rules and guilt and coupled with the fact that I don’t necessarily agree with many of those principles I find it insincere to participate in something as if I agree with that doctrine. So going going to church for me is not only a thing that takes away from my treasured peaceful time at home it also feels like going is an insincere act, and this is nothing new for me.
This has nothing to do with the people in a church or anything else really, it has to do with my feeling like I am being truthful in my life with my actions. Going to church assumes that you agree with everything in that church’s vault of values and I don’t really feel comfortable sitting there and disagreeing with things in that way. I have no problem with others beliefs, but I want to value my own. Therefore this automatic membership in a denomination, just because I grew up in it, seems like being incongruent.
The problem being that many people who played a pivotal role in my family’s life go to that church and I really like those people and I am always happy to see them. So, really, when I go to church I like seeing my friends there, but I don’t like the fact that I feel like I am not really being me when I am there. I sort of put on this cloak and I am not big on acting a part I am not. Simply put, I don’t feel at home in a place that I have to act like someone I am not.
Does that make me a bad person? If I am to agree with the denomination’s doctrine then yes, I am a bad person and should feel guilty about that and want to conform to the constraints of that denomination even when it goes against my nature.
This weekend my goal was to do some work around the house that desperately needing doing, and I work best when I can be alone and do it in peace. There is always this urgency during this time to get it done so there won’t be any strife, which forces me to work hard and fast. By the time I was done with the work and was forced to stop because of rain, I was completely exhausted and not feeling well. The rest of the day was spent recovering from that work.
So, I hadn’t thought about the “reunion” that was taking place, even though I had known about today’s occasion, I had completely forgotten that so many people would have been there that I would have liked to see, simply because I have such respect for them and like them so much. It just was not on my radar at all.
Today our society is so polarized by religion and politics, which are far too intertwined with each other in my opinion, that I can’t help but have those things affect the way I see people. My highest desire is to not know anyone’s political or religious leanings because I know it affects my relationship with them and I really don’t like that. We are not our religion or our politics, but the human being that exists without those things.
In the end I guess I am just too tired to put on an act for people in this way.
If someone asked me what my beliefs are I would have to answer that my principle belief is to not believe in the thoughts of the world. I guess it is a belief in the wisdom of silence and peace, and having an attitude of listening for the true peace of the spirit world.
So, the human frailty of judgement is also not lost on me. I would just really like for my life to be congruent.
I guess I have never really gotten past the feeling that the truths about life were withheld from me out of an attempt to shield me from the world. The shepherd protecting the sheep is what keeps them sheep and while that sense of geborgenheit, protection, is comforting at some level, on the other level it completely goes away when left alone in the world, and the result is you get slaughtered.
I guess the bottom line is that I am who I am and I’d like people to see me as that person.
Ultimately, I am probably wrong about everything, and my feelings completely unnecessary, but that is who I am. But, the longer I live the more I think that it isn’t being right that is important but being authentic is very important.
To me the idea of a complete sell out to a way of thinking just because it is what everyone else seems to be doing it goes against the very purpose of our lives which is to be truthful with who we are in the world and even having said that, I find myself conforming to meeting expectations that others probably don’t even have of me. It is all complete insanity to live this way. I am so tired of it.