Family

I began this blog completely convinced that I wasn’t ready, and fairly certain no one would read it anyway.  Not even two months later, I have had the honor of connecting with readers throughout the entire world. So before I begin this week’s topic, I’d like to extend a very joyful welcome to each one of you who has allowed me a small space in your busy routines. I hope, as time goes on, to learn more about you, glean from your experiences, your wisdom. I have a commitment to honor the individual path of every person that comes into my life, virtually or otherwise, and I hope you know that I will respect and cherish anything you share with me as we continue our journeys. Wherever you may be today, on a sun-kissed patio listening to the ocean or, like me, bundled in blankets near a frosty window, listening to wind-battered leaves, let me share a simple thought about family.

Many times I have answered questions about leaving Christianity, but one question I am rarely asked is why I became Christian begin with. In one chapter of my book, I talk about some of the reasons I was drawn into the world of religion, years before I concluded that it wasn’t the path for me.  There were many motivators, some as personal as painful childhood experiences, and some as superficial as free coffee and decent sound systems. But one of the most compelling reasons to join church was a need for family.

I have my own family of course, but in the merry tradition of most families, things are complicated. We’re dispersed across the USA and are lucky if we can all get together once a year. Each of us has had our own traumas and issues to resolve, our own healing to endure, our own struggles of daily life. I lived through the uncertainty of divorce, my parents’ before mine, and all of the complexities that every manner of abuse leaves in its wake. I longed for family. Church offered me that hope.

Fast forward to me, leaving church. Let’s see…we’ve got some tears, less free coffee, some concerns about hell….oops, we’re still too far back. Fast forward a bit more. Oh, hey, that’s me doing tequila shots and dancing salsa with my girlfriends. Not relevant at all to the story, and way too far ahead. We need to rewind just a bit. There, to the moment I realized that I wasn’t just giving up a belief. I was giving up the people that believed and the times we would spend together.

It haunted me for days. I had already released my ideas about God. I had happily embraced my new Sunday morning routine: pajamas, pancakes, and plans with my daughter. But what would I do without my family? The ones who brought me vegetables from their gardens, and offered to babysit for free, and liked every comment I ever posted on Facebook, and had my back when I faced homelessness? I had to accept the fact that I couldn’t belong to that family, not in the same way at least. What had bound us together was our common ground, our belief system. We supported one another because we thought alike. But being for one another came with the powerful price of being against those who thought differently.

It took me many months to realize that I hadn’t lost my family. I had won back my true family, my diverse human family. I would be there to support them, Jewish or Muslim, gay or questioning, atheist or believer. If they needed me to stand up for them or walk beside them, I would be there to do it, no questions asked. And in return, they would listen to me and support me, regardless of my beliefs, because that’s what true family does.

You are part of that amazing family, however far away you are from my humble living room and this cold Wisconsin rain. That is why I am so happy you’ve come to spend a moment with me.

 

 

 

25 thoughts on “Family

  1. I sit here writing, erasing,and thinking twice about posting (Blogs are not my thing at all, but what the hell, why not). Many of your posts have saddened me inside, this one particularly. You are always welcome to veggies from my garden, to conversations at my table, and are considered family.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. To reciprocate, for every reason I chose to leave Christianity, you and your family came to mind as solid exceptions to the rule. It’s a beautiful thing. Know that your friendship will forever impact my thoughts and the words I share, in a positive way. (And thank you for stepping outside of your comfort zone to post. It means a lot to me!)

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  2. Random thoughts 🙂 I was born into a Catholic household (youngest of 7 children) and one of the things I enjoyed was the comrade and some of the church events, I enjoyed the feeling of being part of a community.

    As long as I could remember, I always questioned my faith and like you, it wasn’t the path for me either. I basically went along with it until I could figure things out on my own.

    A few years ago I joined a Unitarian Universalist church. It is a sort of “Liberal” type church with people of all faiths, beliefs and non-beliefs. I enjoyed interacting with people who thought like me. Atheists, Agnostics, Humanists, Pagans, Buddhists..etc. I don’t attend the UU much any more because life is pretty busy, sometimes it’s pancakes and PJ’s and other times I will go to a Buddhist meditation, Dharma talks, the gym and/or my son’s busy life, lol. I’m not a spiritual person but it is nice to get the perspectives of people from all walks of life.

    It’s a good feeling that there are like minded people out there like you.

    Dave

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi, Dave! Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts, as well as for the “follow.” I look forward to conversing more with you here. I have attended UU services many times, and I’m really glad you brought them up! They are an amazing group that I would generally classify as Humanists like myself, people who love people and think that getting along is more important than allowing religion to divide us and put us at war with one another. I guess the somewhat rigid structure of the weekly gathering was a deterrent to me, as most of my church life was spent in very casual, free-flowing services, void of the ceremonious proceedings you are probably all too familiar with! I wasn’t quite sure how to behave, when to sit down, or even how to sing from a hymnal (as my typical church jam was rocking out harmonies on stage.) I keep dreaming of a weekly Humanist group that looks more like the edgy, contemporary church services I used to attend. I’d like to find a group of people who would be excited about making an impact in the world, so we could put our heads and finances together for positive change, outside of the context of theism. Hope you and your family have a great Sunday!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Laughter is the best medicine, after all.

      Branyan is a special case. Most of us are very familiar with him.
      His daughter, Amanda, (Mrs. McMommy) can be just as bad.
      You were quite brave venturing onto his thread.

      As a word of caution, I would be inclined to take any sort of apparent compliment they pay you with a large pinch of salt.

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      1. I enjoy a lively debate sometimes. I can’t help but revel in the irony that while I’m writing about my own happiness, certain Christians are consumed with anger because they can’t convince me that I (clearly) should not be entitled to my own joy. 😉 All that said, both he and his daughter are members of my human family and our lives have intersected for one reason or another, and I can appreciate that! When I engage with people who disagree with me, my secret purpose is always to educate someone along the way…..

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  4. Anyone who breaks ties with you because you think differently from them is a coward. If the church you used to attend taught that it was proper to make atheists into outcasts, then you’re much better off staying home on Sunday.

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    1. Thank you for the comment. No, actually everyone that I have talked to about my change of belief has been very accepting and understanding. The blog referred to the thought process on my end, as I digested the understanding that I myself had to change my definition of family. It did not make sense to adhere to one small family that shared one particular belief, when I have an entire human family to call mine, and participate will all people, regardless of their beliefs, their life choices, or their demographic. Thanks for the thought. I do think I’m better staying home on Sunday, though, regardless. I can’t accept a belief system that is not inclusive of all humans and runs counter to the fundamental moral code of most rational people. Note that I never say all. 🙂

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      1. Forgive me, but no belief system can be inclusive of all humans. When you say you can’t accept a belief system that is counter the moral code of rational people, you are stating the exclusiveness of your own beliefs. Correct?

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  5. And the rational people that I know, and hundreds I have spoken with. I’m not talking about a belief system that is inclusive of all humans, though. What I said, in a nutshell, is that since religion “cannot” be inclusive of all humans, and is by design “exclusive” of groups of people, it is unacceptable in my life. Each person has the right to choose, obviously, what they find to be acceptable in their own lives.

    Liked by 3 people

      1. Is it?
        Christians, such as you, believe all non-Christians are destined for some form of Hell (depending on their interpretation) while they are bound for Heaven. And not all of course but only True Christians.
        Which begs the question: what is a True Christian?

        Atheists have no such exclusivist beliefs. We are all destined to become worm food in some form, or fertilizer.

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  6. Exactly my reasons to blog. I can tell you…the ‘blog-tribe’ is, mostly, a warm kind tribe and I am so glad our paths crossed, dear Danica (Dani?)
    Wishing you a wonderful weekend ahead, with your sweet girl. I can ‘see’ you sitting there on Sunday in your pyama’s 🙂
    XxX

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