Making the most of my "Dash"

Begin Rant

<rant>

I have had this rant in my head for a while.  It may not make sense, it may be unresolved at the end, but I must stop the words from swirling in my head, keeping me pissed off.

I have long contemplated how to if I should write this post.  It is really difficult for me, because it most likely will offend some people.  I have wondered if maybe the offensiveness may not exactly come from the fact that I wrote it, but rather themselves?  Then I tell myself that sounds fairly judgmental, and it is not a nice thought.  But, I must be honest with the fact that the thought is there.

I’m about to say things that I am not supposed to say out loud.  These things are not supposed to have their “covers pulled”, so to speak.  They are things that some people say, but never really do.  And, it delves into family and religion.  Are you about to hit the red X button, since I mentioned the word religion?  If so, please wait. I’d ask for your indulgence, and for you to stick around for just a bit, as I’m not about to get all preachy on you.  Just state some observations.  About families. Possibly about religion.  But mainly about “religious” families. But first, I have to talk a bit about my background…

I grew up in a conservative baptist home.  So conservative, in fact, that Southern Baptists are viewed as being too progressive and broad-minded.  I wasn’t allowed to visit any other churches, should my friends invite me to theirs.  There were two exceptions, and I’m fairly certain it’s because my parents were tired of hearing me ask if I could go to a church that a friend invited me to.

I grew up knowing one thing as an absolute.  If you did not do what God wanted you to do, he would take away something you loved to “get your attention.”  That particular belief followed me into adult hood, and was my motivation for anything church related.  If I missed any church service, then I would figuratively cross my fingers and hope that I wouldn’t get into a car accident that harmed my children.  I would also get a phone call from the parents on Sunday afternoon, asking making sure I went to church that day.  If I hadn’t gone, and didn’t have a justified reason for non-attendance… well, lets just say a bit of a talking to ensued as well as guilt for possible harm to my children.

Given that particular “belief” as a guideline, I did everything I was supposed to do as a “christian” woman.  I also knew what roles my parents wanted me to have in church, and so I did those as well.  I’m a people-pleaser, and the people I wanted to please most were my parents.  It was easier to keep them happy than to deal with their disappointment and guilt.  It was a life of people (parent)-pleasing service to the Lord.  And, boy, could I fill bunches of those church roles well.  Go, me!  The “perfect Christian!”  Exactly what God wanted from me… Um… no, not so much.   A couple of years ago, as I was going through a separation, I realized that I was doing it all wrong.  It dawned on me that if I believed God has given me a free will (I did, and do), then why on earth would He punish me by harming someone I loved for not doing what He wanted me to do?  Doesn’t that take the very essence of “free will” away?!

Here’s where the family/religion stuff collides.  For some reason, some families will not accept other family members choosing to live life their way in a different way.  This is so unacceptable to them, that they feel it necessary to interject their beliefs in whatever way they can.  Whether it’s appropriate or not.  Whether it’s hurtful and undermines other family members in their role as parents or spouses.  And I get pissed off when I see that happening, as I’ve been there, done that, got every damn t-shirt on the rack. I hate to see this kind of behavior rearing its ugly head again, in another place, trying to get people I care about to collect these same t-shirts.

WHY do people do this to those they “love”?!  Why do they feel they have the right to undermine a parent in the way they raise their child?  Who gives them the right to step in and then say, “well we did it for their own good…” after hearing that their actions were inappropriate?  And, when called on their behaviors, why do they make lame excuses instead of saying, “I’m sorry.”  Not, “I’m sorry what I did offended you.” or “I’m sorry you viewed what I did as inappropriate.”  Just… “I’m sorry.”  Which means… “I will not do it again.”

I don’t get why, with our families, we can be hurtful, insulting, mean, and then justify that with, “I thought I was doing what was right.”  We would never dream of walking over to the neighbor’s house to straighten out their kids’ beliefs/actions/thought processes when their parents went out for an errand, so why would we do that to our own family members?!  Why do some people feel their way to raise children is the ONLY way; and if you aren’t doing it right, we’ll make damn sure we fix it when you’re not around to stop us.

I could go on and on with my rant, and these are not exactly the things that have happened in my life.  But, the manipulation is the same, the intent is the same, and so is the attempt at guilt…. “You’re not doing it the way we want.  We have to fix it, because we can’t fix you.  So, we’re going to get away with fixing as much as we can (in your children) until you call us on it, and then we’ll all be so hurt that you saw what we did as malicious.  And we’re sorry you feel that way, but we really know best.  And…. if you wouldn’t have said anything to us, then there would be no problems between us right now.”

Since I stopped going to the churches I was raised in, I have gained a much different perspective on religion.  I was sucked very much into the ritual of doing things the way others said I should.  I lived my life according to their standards, and I did things so I did not have to deal with any judgment, manipulation or their attempts to guilt me.  Sadly, I’ve seen better “christian” behavior from others outside of those churches. Don’t mistake me, I know that not all people attending the churches I grew up can be categorized that way. I know some amazing people, who are incredibly kind and loving to me and others, because they live what they believe.  But I’ve been exposed to a lot who are sadly lacking in the “live what you speak” category.

I remember Mister putting a rather blunt comment on my FB page when I was going through a lot of the garbage with my family.  He’s rather blunt, never side-steps issues, and has no hesitation in calling people on their behaviors.  He basically said that he was sorry my life had been exposed to people who were not behaving in Christian ways, despite their claims otherwise.   A few days later, he told me he got a notice that there was a facebook message from a particular family member. (To keep this in context: At this point, all family members were no longer speaking to me, nor was I speaking to them.  None of them had ever met, spoken to, or corresponded with Mister.) I told him that she was one of the greatest Christian women I knew.  Then he opened facebook and read this message:

Subject: My mother raised me to believe if you can’t say something nice about someone say nothing.

[Body of Message:]  “Nothing.”

Mister and I just looked at each other.  Clearly, my opinion was wrong.  He said, “I’m NEVER setting a foot into one of those churches, if this is what they call “Christian” behavior.”  I agreed one hundred percent.  How could I argue with that, given the result of behavior from someone who lived their entire life attending that kind of church?!

Some family members will always feel they have a right to be harsh, and mean, and manipulative if it serves their wants and needs.  All of these experiences have made me realize the kind of “christian” woman I do not want to be.  The kind of mother I do not want to be.  The kind of family member I do not want to be.  I want to love God, love my family, and treat them all with respect.  If I disagree with someone, I disagree.  I will strive to not make my way the only way.  Because we’re all different, we’re all human, and we all make mistakes.  And we learn from them.  And we certainly don’t need some family member trying to live our life for us.

</rant>

Advertisements

Comments on: "Begin Rant" (13)

  1. Congratulations! God, not Man, opened your eyes. God will ultimately set you on the path He wants you to be on, thru no help from your fellow Man. Keep your faith and trust in Him. Love your posts, especially this one and the Letter to your Daughter. Thanks for taking the time and effort to continue in your writings! Jim

    • Thank you for the wonderful comment, Jim! It definitely has been eye-opening to realize who I was trying to please before; and how wrong that was! I completely love the church we attend now. The people are so warm and loving, and encouraging!

  2. I’m lucky in that I don’t have to deal with all of that aggression (albeit I tend to not espouse my views around my parents hah), but I do understand the point and can empathize some. I think it is important to realize that what they are doing comes from free, not straight ?badness?. And that fear is two-fold:

    1) They are afraid for you. It sounds like your parents did still love you, and if indeed they believe what they say they do, then for you to go against those values would mean…well, literally hell for you. They would then, logically, be crazy-bent on stopping you going against this.

    2) They are (subconsciously) afraid for themselves. After all, if their daughter is somehow able to go against the beliefs they’ve taught her so well and which she initially held so close, what does that mean for those beliefs? Could they be wrong? If they are wrong, that calls into question how they lived their lives as well as what happens to them in the after-life. That’s a scary thought to consider, and one which our own humanity will incline us to react harshly to.

    That’s just my personal advice though. It helps me deal with when people are overly aggressive with their beliefs. Perhaps it can help you. 🙂

    • Thank you so much for your response! I am still growing and learning (and getting better at!) to make decisions based on MY thoughts, beliefs and experiences, and not my parents’. It is taking me time to do that though, given a life lived otherwise…LOL

      I agree with both of your points. While I have not “strayed” far from the beliefs I grew up with, the fact that I am attending a church that is not associated with theirs is enough for them to consider me heading down the “wrong path”. I believe the same basic tenets of their faith, but it is not good enough. Of course, that’s where your point #2 comes in. Basically, it comes down to control. I believe that, because the attitude is “you’re not doing it our way, so I’m not going to talk to you anymore.” Or, in religious vernacular, “Leave her to Satan and then she’ll learn.”

      I try hard to understand, and empathize, with their inability to accept the changes in my life and beliefs. Unfortunately, I still have triggers that cause me to just shake my head and need to ask “why?!” Today was the day for that!

      • Oh believe me, I definitely understand the need to just be frustrated about it sometimes hah. Sounds like you’re at a new place though, so as long as you have someone to vent to about it heh.

  3. Nuthinspecial said:

    AMEN!

  4. Christine, I just love you. Once again, you have touched me. I love you. God loves you. Fear is not love, and God does not rely on that. Please read “Conversations With God” by Neale Donald Walsch. He puts into words what I only feel in my heart. God bless you!

    – Becca

    • misterofthedash said:

      Walsch’s books are on my shelf. I read them when they were first published in 1997. It is definitely an interesting book series. The last words of Book 2:

      “Cause your days and nights to be reflections of the highest idea within you. Allow your moments of Now to be filled with the spectacular ecstasy of God made manifest through you. Do it through the expression of your Love, eternal and unconditional, for all those whose lives you touch. Be a light unto the darkness, and curse it not. Be a bringer of the light. You are that. So be it.”

      Whether you accept the premises contained in the book or not, those last words can be a good direction to head in….

    • Becca, You are such a sweetheart! Your comment brought a smile to my heart… Thank you, thank you!!

  5. Your daughter in law "Jill" said:

    Loved this and by reading it makes me understand why why why? So glad you posted this the support is wonderful. Love you 🙂

Hey there!! Tell me what you think...

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Tag Cloud

%d bloggers like this: