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Defensiveness, Avoidance or Acceptance?

July 16, 2010

I went out to dinner and to a movie with a close friend the other night.  I mentioned something to her about my high school days (maybe because my 20 year reunion is coming up).  She said:

You know, I have a lot of friends whose current lives don’t look much like they did when I first met them, because of a new job, a divorce, a move, kids, or whatever.  But you are the person who has been through the most changes.  I can’t believe how different your life used to be.

Why?

Because in high school and college I identified as a born again christian.  I was very conservative.  I campaigned for Papa Bush’s re-election, and cried with my college classmates when Clinton was voted into office.  I used to grumble “get a job!” when I passed a homeless person on the street, and I attended pro-life rallies in Washington D.C. with others from my parents’ church.  I was – in body and spirit – in the land of Jerry Falwell and gay-bashing and intolerance.

And now … I’m not.

From the age of 22 (when I was married) to 28 saw many shifts and changes in my life.  I am very comfortable with having turned away from all of the above.  More than comfortable, I am happy, and I am confident that it is right for me and my family.  It has not been easy, and there are friendships that have been weakened or dissolved and family relationships (mostly with my parents) that have been altered.  But for the most part, everyone is settled into the new (well, not new any more) reality.

I do not believe the things I used to believe (or used to try to believe).

This weekend, someone who I was friends with back then is coming to Boston.  I was close with his family before I went away to college.  Then he and his family moved around the globe, and I have only seen him once since (either when S~ was a tiny baby, or when she was 1, and I was pregnant with L~), and I was still “in the fold,” so to speak.

In general, I’ll be very happy to see an old acquaintance.  But I’m a little nervous.

I’m a little nervous he’ll start proselytizing.   Or at least questioning me about my lack of faith, or expressing disappointment about it.

I have seen many other people that I was close with back then (except for the one who we later found out was a child molester), and they have not raised these things.  We have had fine conversations about many things – our kids, our jobs, etc., without a moment of awkwardness or discomfort.  So I don’t know why I am fearing it now.

And why am I fearing it at all?  I am comfortable with my decisions, with my belief system, with my life.  I shouldn’t be fearing an opportunity to discuss all of that.

Except for the fact that it would be hard to talk about my disgust for a religion that this person still holds dear and as an important part of his & his family’s life, without feeling offensive.  Or rude.

So I’m trying to plan out what I will say if it does come up.  Whether I say “This is not up for discussion,” or whether I tell him my story.  My reasons, my journey, my thoughts on the harmfulness of his religion and how I’d never inflict such a system of thoughts, belief, and self-loathing upon my own children.

Or maybe I’ll chicken out, and tell him I have the flu.

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One comment

  1. […] … « Snippets Update: Acceptance July 20, 2010 As I mentioned last week, an old friend from my church-days found himself in my neck of the woods.  We got together last […]



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