Tuesday, June 25, 2013

A Visit With My Mom

Great gal, my mom, even if I do say so myself. 
Well, today was her over-the-phone-pacemaker-check, which is always done at my place because she doesn't have a land line. Because I don't get to spend as much time with her as I'd like, I took a vacation day from work in order to mix a little personal visit into the occasion. (By the way, her pacemaker battery is still working fine.)
Now of course, as always, the subject of religion was brought up. We have something of a truce on this. I encourage her church work and attendance - it seems to add quite a lot to her life. Meanwhile I continue to insist to her that I am much more of a religious pluralist than she is.
Mom is very careful in trying not to offend me, and I appreciate that. She also does quite well tolerating my expansive view of the subject (no matter how much she inwardly disagrees). At the same time I try to tippy-toe around her feelings and pitch the biggest tent I know how in order to keep us somewhat in fellowship on the subject.
That's not so hard for me. Her religious viewpoint, of course, was the starting point of my own journey - although I've branched far, far, far away from that starting point. What's more - unlike some religious or spiritually minded folks - I'm prepared to say: hey, it may all just be one big illusion; I may be totally wrong in my worldview. (Being wrong wouldn't be difficult for me because a lot of my belief system is tentative and malleable - and purposely so; it's a work in progress, and nothing more.)
Sometimes my mom surprises me with her candor in admitting that she doesn't really know all the whys of what she believes. She seems - as best I can tell - mostly to trust her inner light, but she uses that only to validate her very-narrow Christian worldview. I should explain that. By narrow, I mean there are some things that are nonnegotiable, and really that is, I believe, due to a very consistent underexposure to rival viewpoints. As for the conservative viewpoints she has been exposed to, she discriminates rather pointedly among them.
Now the above is just my perception. I sort of dread to think what my mom's take on my outlook might resemble. I think she thinks, as one of my friends at work put it, that I'm too broadminded, falling almost into that "if you don't stand for something you'll fall for anything" category.
I feel that Mom - and I lovingly told her this - has, and has always has had, a difficulty in stepping outside her viewpoint to allow others a difference of opinion. She seems constantly surprised at how much the world has changed, especially with regard to what is deemed right or wrong and proper or improper. Heck, I sometimes marvel at the changes, too, but remember that she has nearly three decades on me! The difference is: my morality is more in line with humanitarian thought, whereas she spends way too much time (in my opinion!) trying to please a deity. 
My mom and I are just never going to agree on religion, and that's okay. But we have learned to disagree in an agreeable fashion, for the most part. Love bridges any spans between our viewpoints. Love, and the acknowledgment that humans are quite fallible in their reasoning.

Love can do some amazing things along this line. 

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