Appearance – Not always what it seems
November 20, 2017
It is November 20th, and it was just a short 5 days ago when I last wrote about the issue of Trust and letting go of the past. At that point when I wrote on the topic, I had finally started feeling better about a lot of issues from my past, things that had influenced how I felt about myself and the thoughts about previous relationships.
I thought everything was fine up to that point or so it seemed. Then I was met with opposition to who I am, the life I’ve lived and the way I raised my children. The discussions between me and yet another person I had met online turned into a heated discussion about faith, Christianity and whether there was a Heaven or Hell. I was not ready for it, as a matter of fact, this was the first time that someone had approached that subject with me in a very long time. It left me feeling very sad and alone but only briefly.
I felt alone because this person appeared to be everything that I was looking for in another person. Caring, concerned, creative, intelligent and vocal about his thoughts. By all outside appearances, he was handsome and accomplished. It is in these things that appearances can be deceiving.
During our conversations, I had a personal family emergency related to one of my children to deal with and informed the person I was talking to. He seemed genuinely concerned and asked questions. So I, with my new-found sense of trust, explained what was occurring and that was a mistake on my part. I expected concern but instead became faced with a personality that was fervent in his religious beliefs. This was in contrary to our initial conversations when I stated I was a spiritual person but not religious and I felt like I had just been ambushed without provocation. So I defended myself, my children and the way we lived. Even though at this point I realized that when a person is close-minded the effort becomes pointless.
That is the part that made me feel sadness the most. Acceptance is a very big deal to me. It is something that I’ve battled with my whole life because I’ve never been like everyone else, always going against the grain and never following the same path as others. This is just who I am and it has always been this way. I believe everyone should be accepted for who they are with one exception. If the person is toxic and intentionally hurts another with no remorse. There are plenty of people out there like this and what the world needs is more understanding between us.
So this non-acceptance of my children made me feel this sadness. These are the human beings that I raised. To others, they see the fact that I raised them with no faith-based belief system or religion. I was raised as a Christian and their father was raised as a Muslim. Two very different states of belief but at the same time, we understood the need to not force one or the other on our children like it had been forced on us. We wanted our children’s thinking and logic to be free from influence. They are intelligent beings capable of discerning their own beliefs no matter what that is to them. This is how we wanted them raised.
This person argued that my children could not know the difference between right and wrong. This type of logic is why we have failed as a society. Who and what religion determines the “right” and the “wrong” that we live by?
Before me, I see four very smart, men and women. They care about others and want to fix the things wrong in the world. They want everyone to live up to their own potential. They are kind and considerate of others feelings and their beliefs. They think everyone should be able to live however they want to live. They believe people shouldn’t harm others, animals or the environment. They are inquisitive about others and tend to learn more about them so they are informed and open-minded. They believe everyone should continue learning every day. They surround themselves with the same like-minded people who come from all types of backgrounds, races, creeds, religions and economic classes.
All of this sounds vaguely like tolerance, acceptance, and love for others.
So if this is how I raised my children to believe, then I guess I was wrong. I was wrong to raise them in the ways that I was taught by my own Christian grandmother.
The only thing I did not instill in them was a belief in one specific religion. I have given them the opportunity to become people of the world, unbiased to some extent and not just accepting that life is set in stone. Whether they one day develop a belief in God, Heaven or Hell is not up to me, it will be up to them because that is the one thing about most religious systems, you can always decide one day to believe it in, change it, or walk away from it.
They have been raised to be logical thinkers and want to see the proof in what they are seeking or in the knowledge they gain.
I was told they were not “good” people because they did not believe in God, Heaven or Hell. Once again, I believe that sounds like judgment. I know it’s been a long time since I attended a church service but from what I remember, only God can judge us in our belief or lack of belief in the teachings. So that is still yet to be determined for them.
So now, today, I sit here and ruminate on that discussion. The connotation that the way I raised my children is wrong just doesn’t sit well in my thinking. I put the things I wanted for myself on the back burner to raise my children. I wanted to be there for them, before, during and after school. I wanted to be everything to them. That is what I did and maybe I was too cautious with them. I was overly protective of them and raised them in this bubble that I created where I made them believe they could do anything in their life as long as they worked hard for it. Isn’t this how the American Dream is supposed to work? You work hard, save your money, get an education, treat others with respect, accept others and do your best. You live your life this way and you will be rewarded with success.
Now, I will continue moving forward, maybe rethinking this “trust” that I’m supposed to have in others. Knowing that I raised my children the best way I knew how. That only time will tell who they are to become. Also to the outside world my appearance is one thing and may not be as it seems but my heart and soul will always seek the goodness of others.
Thank you for stopping by.
May peace, love, happiness and good vibes find you always!