Saturday, June 09, 2007


(away from home, which means away from the scale. . . )

I just had an uncomfortable dicussion with my father & stepmother about my salvation. Both are self-identified "born again" Christians. I think that is wonderful for them, truly. They seem to find great solace and hope in their beliefs. In some ways, I envy those people who have an unquestioning faith in God.
Religion often comes up as a topic of conversation when I visit my dad. I am usually able to dodge any kind of deep discussion about it. Now, though, I can tell that my stepmom in particular (& probably Dad, too), were deeply troubled to learn that I don't "turn my problems over to Jesus" and pray for God's guidance.
If asked my religious preference, I would describe myself as a lapsed Catholic. Growing up with my Irish Catholic grandmother, I never missed a Sunday of church (or a holy day of obligation) except when I had the chicken pox at age 6 and was still contagious. Going to church at least weekly, I had a deep faith in God. At one time in my teens, I even seriously considered becoming a nun; I spent many nights praying for God to give me some kind of sign if that was hi plan for my life.
In the years since leaving home, I have attended mass only sporadically. I never had a "crisis of faith," per se, but I stopped believing a long time ago that God takes a personal interest in my affairs. All the times in my teens and early twenties that I prayed for guidance, that guidance was never forthcoming. I've come to believe that God gave me free will for a reason, and I've exercised it.
As I told Dad tonight: one definition of insanity is to keep doing what you've always done and expect the outcome to be different. I learned many years ago that asking God for guidance yielded no results for me. Either God didn't hear my prayers, God chose not to answer, or God did not give me an answer in a form in which I could perceive it. I get that no lightning bolt will come from the sky, that--unlike Moses--I am not going to see God in a burning bush. I never looked for a sign that clear; I always assumed that God worked through other people or via indirect means.
Even with that understanding, though, I have never felt that I have been answered when I have prayed for guidance. The situations I am recalling are not like the time when I was 7 and prayed for roller skates for Christmas and didn't get them. These were times in my young adult life when I was at some kind of metaphorical crossroads. . . facing decisions like "what should I do with my life?" or "should I marry him?" Pretty big decisions, I think we could all agree. And though I prayed for guidance in these decisions, fully believing (based on my faith & my upbringing) that God would show me the right path to take. . . . He never did.
I hate having these discussions with the parental units because I do not want to upset them. Tonight's little chat is a good example of my being too honest for my own good. A less honest daughter would have just told them what they wanted to hear: "yes, I wholeheartedly accept Christ as my personal savior, and yes, I go to Him with all my troubles in prayer." Awkwardness is what I get for keepin' it real.
Well, parents' disappointment and concern aside, the only thing that will come out of tonight's discourse is that they will probably pray for me more. They may enlist church members to pray for me, too. And more people praying for me certainly can't hurt.