Tuesday, March 19, 2013

A failed excuse.

Sometimes I wonder if I am failing my son. I strive on a daily basis to teach him things to prepare him for this road we call life. Right from wrong, how to read. I bring love into the house and show him what it means to say please and thank you. We make it a point on a daily basis to have time for laughter and joy.

But I have not taught him about this. Religion, church. God.

Growing up in a household I was raised as an Episcopalian. My parents rounded us up every Sunday morning where we faithfully attended the same church once a week. It was a routine that lasted up until late elementary school. Soon our schedules called for increasing time away. Every day of the week was scheduled with one thing or another. Dance lessons, recitals. Musicals.  Other than Church, Sundays were the only day where nothing was scheduled. While we knew we should, we skipped a week, then two. Soon we found ourselves really liking the fact Sunday was a day to rest. And so we found ourselves going less and less. This did not seem to bother either myself or my younger sister who just looked at it as an opportunity to sleep in, or play. And we were thrilled with the idea that we wouldn't have to wear a dress anymore. Or tights. Or fancy shoes that hurt our feet. And it did not bother my parents. My dad didn't really seem to care about religion in a lot of ways. And mom hated the fact that week after week the church 'begged' for more money. She would feel guilty when they said 'But this is what God would want you to do.'  knowing full well that we couldn't afford to help like the rest could, and yet feeling the pressure to do so.

Sure we still went, on occasions. Like the standard holidays that most families find themselves being dragged to. Christmas, Easter. When something happened. It wasn't unusual. And we would slide into the back of the pews, because we were to old-and really to ashamed to walk through the Sunday school classes-and we would listen to the sermon and always think well maybe we will start anew.

We never did.

We stopped all together by the time my older sister was in the midst of her high school career. Religion soon became a footnote in the family. It was never discussed, and never an issue. We all understood. We knew there was a God, and we knew what it meant. We knew about heaven and hell. And as the years went by, so did religion.

I did find myself exploring it once again in college. The one year I went away anyway. I bounced from congregation to congregation, baptist, catholic. I even had an interesting spurt with the Jewish faith. My roommate at the time was half Jewish, and wanted to figure out where she truly belonged. But after I came home for good, I left the Religion exploring behind.

I knew what I was. I didn't think I needed to be defined by the classification that a Church brings.

And when I met my husband, once again Religion wasn't something we discussed. He had never been raised in a Church. Period. The only times he had stepped into one was the recent marriage of his brother and new sister in law. And as for myself-while I believed in it I wasn't practicing it. Nor did I think Church was all that important.

And so this is how we live. No church, no true religion. Both of us believing in our beliefs. It is sad to say I am not even sure he believes there to be a God. I don't even know if he has read a scripture from the Bible. Ever

Its not that I don't think about it, because in reality I have been doing a lot of it lately. I have even thought about going back, would they accept me? Would it be awkward? And every Sunday I think, well maybe next week. But this of course never happens. And while my husband encourages me to go, he has little desire to go himself. Understandable I suppose.

I have been ok with this. The not practicing of religion. I know the Bible, I can read it. But while at dinner a couple of weeks ago, they asked us to bow our heads and pray. I recited the familiar Lords Prayer, my husband and son just sat there. And after, on the way home my son asked who God was, and why we were praying to him.

We sat in silence as I tried to figure out an answer. In the back of my mind feeling ashamed that he had to even ask this.

I had done it to ourselves of course. I had failed my son.

Because while Religion may not be something that is promadent in the house-who says it has to be really?-I would like him to know who God is.. He has the right to know.

Whether he will want to believe in him or not will ultimately be up to him.

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