Each day comes with its own particular set of events and circumstances. On the one hand there are all those things that have happened on this planet and in the other there are all those things that happen inside. We would like these things to be smooth but that doesn’t always happen.
It didn’t start off this way. The morning was relaxing and because if that maybe it passed before me much too quickly. The hours minute by minute unrecoverable. Could they have been spent any other way?
Every weekend that I’m here I go to the shop and stock up on provisions that will take me through half the week. There isn’t enough space in the kitchen for any more. There is also so much that I can carry the two kilometers or so back to the flat. It was a heavy load so it bacame a workout and a test of endurance.
I have occupied myself with cutting out images from all the newspapers that I have collected over the past months. I’m getting tired of them sitting there and I would like to make something out of them. There is only so much time left here. Time it seems is a great motivator. My creative juices have been flowing.
While chatting with Ba(r)be I was distracted at times by the precision it takes to cut a particular shape. I was distracted by a particular image and then by others that followed. We were both kind of spaced out and a bit tired from our individual efforts.
It was Father’s Day and it is important to me to make the call to have a chat with him. He was in decent spirits but our convo lead to the inevitable topic that seems to be consuming him. That topic is the one that regards faith and what it means for tradition going forward in our family. I find it hard after these conversations to calm down.
They think that by going to church will solve all the problems. They have a strong belief because they ascribe the strength that they have from their faith. The strength that has carried them through many difficult times with us precocious strong minded kids challenging them. They believe that things went south for us when we stopped attending. They worry that we lost our way and will suffer in the afterlife.
The whole thing goes further as they desire for me to have a traditional wedding. They don’t seem to worry as much about the other things that are important like compatibility and love that forms a foundation of a relationship. I keep discussing this with them drawn into a nebulous argument using thoughts and ideas that aren’t just mine but have been developed by philosophers and writers over the past two thousand years.
No one holds the patent on the right way to believe and furthermore no one can tell you what to believe either. The only way people come to agreement is through discussion by sharing experiences. Ultimately the right way to believe and the focus of belief lies within the individual. The traditions, rules, and concepts are for an individual to come to terms with. This is why a whole slew of people are rejecting religion. For religion to preach love and understanding and then for those people to turn around and project hate and misunderstanding is a paradox that continues.
In their advanced age my parents cling to their faith because it is the thing that they know. I don’t want to hurt them conscious that their sophistication in ideas and points of view is limited. That education that they always wanted me to have has changed my views. In many respects I have taken what I believe to be the good points that they have taught me and expanded them in my own way. I try to live my life with respect and integrity. I try to be the best that I can in every situation that I can. But I don’t go to church and that bothers them. It bothers me that that bothers them.
When one thinks about the clash of cultures that occurs on a daily basis in many families between the young and the old this is the type of fight they have. It is between the way things have been and the way in which things are changing. As the future will one day be the present I wonder what kinds of things I will have to deal with as (hopefully) my kids mature in their own cultural milieu.
There will be times when I do attend a service with them. There isn’t really much overt hatred of the church just that the way I see and experience the world is much different from the way it is presented there. I dislike some of their stances. I dislike what they have done to people in the past and how the church/religion tries to enter politics with well meaning intentions but disasterous results. I disagree with their insistence that theirs is the only way to God. Further to their interpretation on what God is. This kind of analysis is widely applicable accross all the varieties out there.
I just hoped that they would ask about how we are together. How we get along and how does it feel? Ask about how I think or how she thinks. Maybe this is also a problem that lies with the way we all communicate together. I know that everyone goes through things families sometimes don’t make it. Ours did and in some strange way I wonder if this is just some kind of metaphoric communication testing my resolve to expose my true feelings.
Sometimes I wonder if defending my position is that important that I neglect to consider how much hurt I’m causing them. How much does one have pay in order to show how correct one is? Their whole thing is that the traditions of old will be lost. They want to feel like their sacrifices for us won’t be lost in the wild seas of this world. They want me to teach my kids about The Bible and the contents contained therin. In a way I will have to because so much of what goes on in this world is a result of how people perceive the contents of this book. In order for them to understand the world they will have to experience it. The break they may or may not have with it will in itself be transformative for them. They will see the effect that all the various organizations on this planet influence the way it works. Not just the religious but corporate and government ones too.
Realistically speaking my parents have a limited amount of time left. They lament the fact that I won’t be close to them. Couldn’t I just find some work closer? Do I really want to move out there? Questions that if I was docile would sheepishly answer in a different way. They do want us close to them. They want the family to spend time together. They hoped to be grandparents a long time ago.