Thursday, June 3, 2010

Religion and her relationship

Shelle Edit: Genevieve's personal blog is a plethora of information.  She talks about so many things and is involved in so much, it's a crazy ride through Neptune Blue.  So go check her out.  I love this post she wrote for us and can't wait to see what you guys (commenters) have to say!  Thanks Genevieve for taking on such a difficult topic with such grace!

"Can I get a Jesus around here somewhere?" is a question my husband recently asked me. I looked at him curiously and he said, while pointing at pictures and little statues around our house, "There's a Buddha, there's a Buddha, a Krishna, a Krishna, I'm just looking for some representation from my man."

I went over to the credenza in the living room and took out a gold cross with the crucified Jesus on it and gave it to him. It had been laying on a shelf next to the American flag that was folded and presented to me at my Dad's funeral. I also reminded him that hanging on a picture of my Mom in our dining room were a couple funeral cards with Jesus' picture and a rosary with the crucified Christ on the end of it.

You could say that many religions are represented in our home, however, we do not practice any of them. My husband was really just being cute in his request. If he had a personal relationship with Jesus, it would be in his heart, and he'd have no need to display any particular item of belief. He does have a Bible and has read it many times, but quite frankly, he keeps it in the bathroom. What can I say, that's where he reads. If you were to ask him though, he would probably tell you that while the many things he's read on Jesus from the Bible and other sources are quite interesting, he is currently an Agnostic. He doesn't reject different possibilities, he's just not sure at this point in his life. He says if going to a heaven or hell after death or having to deal with a judgement is what happens, he wants no part of it. I'm sure he thinks my bitching and nagging in the here and now is torture enough and is just looking forward to a long quiet REST.

Growing up, he was raised Catholic, but left the church probably by his college years. His parents haven't practiced for some time either. Actually, I think his mother was the one who originally told Satan where to go and how to get there and he's a bit afraid of her to this day. She put the 'ick' in wicked. ;-)

My mother was a practicing Catholic most all of her life but she kept many of her beliefs to herself. I was baptized but not given any instruction after that. I was told if I wanted to learn about her church, or any other, one of my parents would take me, but I wasn't forced to believe what they did. I never became interested in the Bible. I've tried on numerous occasions to read it, or parts of it, and it simply does not speak to me. However, at some point in my adult life I did take an interest in Eastern religions and philosophies and am still quite into reading about those things.

As for our children, we have not raised them in any particular faith either. They are free to follow whatever path they choose with regard to their own spirituality. Like my parents, neither my husband or I feel we should be in charge of that. And both of us are uninterested in attending regular services at any one place of worship. We've been to Catholic masses and other services, we've hung out at Hare Krishna functions, we've stood for our neice as Godparents, and stood for others as BM/MoH for their weddings. In our home are Bibles, Bhagavad Gitas, Buddhist writings, and countless other books and magazines on everything from Harry Potter to poetry. We're very laid back and open-minded about alot of things. Religion included. And our children have grown into very kind, loving and tolerant young adults. So, in our opinion, it's working for us. To each his own though.

One subject the hubs and I do disagree on is astrology. Even though it's not a 'religion', I feel it does speak of things we're to experience while we're here, the birth chart being a sort of 'map' of one's life. What traits or skills we've come here with, how easy or hard it is for us to navigate different areas of life, etc. I've been involved in casual study for over 15 years. I don't do it professionally but have all the basic knowledge about signs, planets, birth charts, etc. When Mercury goes retrograde and I make a comment, his eyes roll right to the back of his head. When I start talking about someone's personality traits, his fingers go in his ears and I hear... la la la la la la. LOL He is absolutely not interested. But I'm cool with that. We don't fight about it. We don't discuss it much. I belong to a group but always go to those functions by myself. He will happily attend a Hindu festival (eh, maybe for the food??) but will never accompany me to a lecture on astrology. We respect that we each have different opinions on that subject and leave it alone.

What about you guys?  What kind of influence does religion have on your relationship AND your home?


Anonymous said...

My husband is Catholic and I am United. Neither of us are practising; as in, we do not attend church even close to regularly.

We both pray. We both proudly believe the things we believe.

My son goes to a fully French Catholic school and both our children are being raised to follow the Catholic religion.

Having said that, we agree, like you and your husband, that they are free to follow whichever path they wish to. I can hope they choose to believe in SOMETHING and will admit that I'll be disappointed if they do not believe in anything, but it will then be their choice and I will accept it and respect it.

We have crosses throughout our home. Both children have rosaries that were brought over from Scotland. They both also have crosses (though they've never worn them). I had a cross but it's been misplaced and I feel utterly horrible over it. I feel naked not knowing where it is. It was a huge comfort to me.

DCHY said...

My wife and I are atheists. My mom used to go to a church but stopped. My dad never cared for that. My in-laws lost faith when a relative told them that they didn't believe hard enough after losing their son to ALS.

My girls will be allowed to explore whatever interests them...unless it's a cult. ;)

Shelle-BlokThoughts said...

I am definitely not as cool as you.

Religion defines me. It is intertwined in every facet of my life. It is me.

I don't know if I could not have the hope and peace and joy it brings me--or the lifeline it is when I am steruggling in my life.

So I married someone that believed the same as me because I HAVE to live it, my religion, I love it--i completely believe it.

So naturally my children are raised the same. I don't think I turned out that bad and I want to give them a base... I want that solidity in their life, I want them to definitely find out for themselves the truth on their own, but until then-- I am their example and they have the foundation... Something to anchor them... Something to know that even if this world is against them-there is something bigger someone more important who loves them-who is there for them-who cares truly for just them--that this life is just scene in a very long movie of their life.

it was great to read and very interesting how you guys deal and how it works for your family.

(I'm typing this from my phone, so please excuse the errors!)

Shelle-BlokThoughts said...

Okay, so I'm still on my phone... And I re-read my comment and the first thing I said may come across wrong, so what I meant by "I am not as cool" is " I couldn't be as laid back" about religion.

There I feel better.

Although, I'm probably not as cool as you also! ;)

Genevieve said...

Alex, it's cool that you are both allowing your children to be given instruction but also being tolerant about them maybe following another path at some point.
My husband prayed the Rosary years ago. I even made him one with beads that were made from trees in Jerusalem.
Don't feel bad about losing the cross. If you are comforted by one then go in search of another to replace it.

Thanks for commenting!

Genevieve said...

DCHY, cults can certainly be very scary so I hope your girls never have connection to any!
My Mom went to her church for many years and my Dad never had anything to say about it. When she died he became a Catholic, I think to honor her beliefs in some way and keep some religion in the home although he never really talked to me about it.

Thank you for your comment!

Genevieve said...

Shelle, I have felt the hope, peace and joy you speak of and I certainly do pray at times and have found comfort in my spirituality. I just can't say for sure that I believe any one thing consistently. Some days, Buddhist ideas really speak to me. They don't believe in a 'self' or 'soul' but rather in coming back again and again as a sentient being until finally reaching enlightenment. Buddha was a man, who through a 'trial and error' type of process, became free of the cycle of life and death, or so the writings say. In Hinduism, there are various traditions and beliefs and there are many Gods and Goddesses. There are even atheist Hindus, those who believe in the written sanskrit literature but not in one particular 'creator'. I've always liked Hindu art and am partial to the God Krishna but, again, not in a daily worship type of way.
I can absolutely appreciate that you love your religion and live it every day and have found someone who shares the same views.

Being tolerant of different beliefs and trying to understand various religions is just something that works for me.

Thank you for the guest spot today and for your comments!
Of course you are WAY COOL!!!

heelsnstocking said...

not an overly regious person, the kids go to church of england school though and I love the values they teach. I kind of fell out of love of the church over here as the hubby wouldnt go and its so old fashioned and stayed.

I wish they would spice things up a bit. I do my bit though for the church when I can and Im there for all the big churc holidays.

As for the relationship it has no influence at all. I think your love for each other anyway should be your own religion.

nitebyrd said...

My/our views are pretty much the same as yours. My ex was brought up Catholic, I never had much religious instruction. Our children were baptized Catholic and that was it. If they were interested in any religion, we let them explore. I have issues with "A God", I belive there are many although they might only be one. The Bible is open to interpretation, it is not fact.

There's no "Jesus" in my home, much to the continued dismay of my ex-MIL.

The Bare Essentials Today said...

While I don't have these issues on a relationship basis, I am not a very religious person. I like to think of it more as spiritual, but I don't believe in organized religion. My mother is a devout Catholic, she kicks herself in the arse every day for not raising my sister and I Catholic (for some reason she got married in a Catholic church, but raised us Methodist, my fathers religion.)

I try to please her and go to church with her on the big holidays, but it's just not for me.

Ron said...

Faaaaaabulous post Genevieve!

And as Shelle shared in her expressed yourself with such GRACE. Brava!

I feel exactly like you. I was raise Catholic, but always sensed that my relationship with God was going to be personal, not governed by formal religion.

It's just as you shared...

"Jesus is in the heart."

So, I follow my heart.

Thank you for this post. And YOU, Shelle...for having this very special lady speak.

Genevieve said...

Heelsnstocking, that's terrific that you are happy with the kids' school and it's teachings. And of course that last line says much.... love each other! YES!

Nitebyrd, agreeing that the Bible is definitely open for interpretation. While I have not read much of it, my hubs has and he has his own views on a few things that are not taught in church.

My MIL definitely doesn't come over now, but I'm sure the huge picture of Lord Krishna in the living room made her very nervous in the past when she did visit for a birthday or holiday. I find much beauty in Hindu art but she would just find it weird. It's not my job to expand her narrow mind so I don't ever even try.

Bare Essentials, being part of a specific religious group and following those teachings certainly seems to work for some, but those who find no comfort in it should honor those feelings as well. It can't be forced. Just having a basic spirituality is a nice thing. As is going with your Mom to her church for holidays. It probably makes her happy!

Ron, thank you so much for the compliments. I know what a wonderful person you are and very spiritual too. God gave you the gift of healing hands so in your work I know you are connected to the Universe!

Thanks all for stopping by to read the post.