The Real Nervous Reason

10 Sep

Okay. It’s time I explain why I’m really nervous about meeting TDH’s parents. I will say this as eloquently as possible without stirring up too much controversy or anger, I hope.

Here’s the deal: Growing up my parents did an awesome job of exposing my brother and I to different churches, religions and faith-based ideas. My parents are from two different churches: Dad was raised Catholic, Mom a Presbyterian. They decided that they would let us choose which religion, which faith, which beliefs we were going to practice and frankly I think that’s pretty awesome. I’ve been to many different churches, Sunday Schools, Youth Groups, Prayer Groups, Church outings. Young Life. Bible School. Vacation Bible School. You name it, I tried it. And I liked at lot of it for the most part. I enjoyed being part of a bigger something, making new friends, having a place to go on a certain night of the week.

TDH’s family, on the other hand, is the complete opposite. They all went to Christian schools their entire life. Two of his sisters are in Australia studying at a Christian School and working for religious organizations. His sister that lives here is the Director of International something or another for one of the biggest religious groups (Joyce Meyer). TDH does not go to church anymore. Apart from a really awesome painting in his apartment about Love, which actually has a passage from the Bible painted on it, and a cross in his living room, he’s not really big into religion. I know the religion question is going to be a topic of conversation at the dinner table tomorrow.

Despite my parents best efforts, and much to my grandmother’s dismay, I haven’t declared one particular religion as “mine.” My relationship with God became more personal as I got older. I go to church when I need to and as it turns out, it’s not on Sundays. It’s usually on a random day of the week when work, life, school, family and friends seems to be too much handle. I sit in the pew and for a few moments the chatter, the noise, the lists, the traffic in my head stop. I  let the beauty of the Church wash over me, enjoy the quiet and I suppose I meditate. Most of the time I get tears in my eyes when I walk into Church and I can’t really say why. Maybe it’s the power of feeling connected to something bigger than us or maybe it’s the stained glass, the organ music, the prayer candles or the sanctity of it all. I light candles at home and say prayers for my family and friends who are hurt, suffering, need support and etc. I read my devotional Bible when I feel lost or confused or need guidance from someone other than my parents.

And apart from writing this blog today, I don’t talk about how I worship, what I believe, what I think because it is what I think. I don’t feel the need to share my practices with others. It’s not really any of their business so far as I’m concerned.  

I guess I’m just afraid that they will judge me based upon my upbringing, my relationship, my thoughts and feelings and think I’m a heathen that is dating their son. So that, my friends, is why I’m really nervous, as trivial as it is.

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5 Responses to “The Real Nervous Reason”

  1. Liz September 10, 2008 at 11:36 am #

    I once dated a Jewish guy and that was a tension point in our relationship – but not so much because of his family. But I understand where you’re coming from.

    If TDH’s parents and family are really the good Christians they seem to be, then they won’t judge you. Religion may come up and they may ask you if you go to church, so be prepared for those questions, but I doubt they would get into it with you much more than that. Your goodness will shine through, regardless of how often you go to church or how you worship.

  2. Kyla Bea September 10, 2008 at 11:51 am #

    This is one of those times I give advice to people that sounds like dealing with bears more than anything: they’re more afraid of you than you are of them and if anything goes wrong, don’t break eye contact and start backing away slowly…

    Lol Okay not really.

    I would say that you’re more concerned about this than they probably are though – why don’t you try and have a “sum up” version of your belief in two sentences before you go? It won’t be entirely accurate, but they’re probably just trying to get a feel for who you are.

    Something as simple as “My families both came from different churches, and I still haven’t decided which resonates with me more, both are so beautiful in different ways – how long have you been attending your church?” will fill in the blanks for them, let them know that you’re on the same page as TDH and might let them keep talking about their beliefs without re-directing in an obvious way.

  3. laylou September 10, 2008 at 12:31 pm #

    Liz:
    Thanks for the encouragement!

    Kyla:
    I am sure you are right about me worrying about this more than they are… I suppose I just take my cue from what I hear TDH talk about when he discusses his family. I know his last serious girlfriend his parents met (and the only other one they have met) was very Christian, went to his high school and etc so I guess that doesn’t help, right? I do have a two/three sentence sum-up to use so hopefully it will do the trick! I’m just ready for it to be tomorrow night at 7pm. :)

  4. Nova September 10, 2008 at 2:20 pm #

    I liked Kyla’s suggestion about having a “summary” prepared. Something simple.

    It’s a first-time meeting. I think they are probably just as eager for you to like them as you are for them to like you. I remember when I would meet my brother’s or sister’s boyfriends/girlfriends, my family would usually just see if we liked them first as a person, and then later on tried to get to know their individual beliefs.

    I have no doubt you’ll come out of there with his whole family falling in love with you.

  5. Byron September 11, 2008 at 10:36 pm #

    I TOOOOOTALLY know this feeling. The ex’s family were all Catholic and my house(obviously) was so liberal in the spiritual sense. It did test a lot of things for us… but I did learn a lot from that perspective… like how to, um, keep my mouth shut when they something I don’t agree with. And THAT was a lesson, my friend. A big lesson.

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