I try to not project my insecurities, prejudices and general psychoses on my children. I really do. But I often fail.
So when the Roo asked if we could go to church, I sent a quick SOS heavenward.
“Why do you want to go?” I asked.
“Because all my friends do,” she replied.
So I wasn’t thrilled that the request was prompted by pack mentality, but at least it wasn’t because she’d realized what sinners we are and we must immediately go cleanse our souls before Tio Diablo shows up to call us home. And the more we talked, the more I realized she has a genuine curiosity about that aspect of her friends’ lives rather than a compulsion to follow the herd.
I have a Protestant hangover that won’t quit. I attended a private church school throughout elementary. My family did the church thing while we were younger, then it faded to the background. In high school I usually attended on my own, often with real hangovers. While there were good times in the light of the stained glass windows, church rarely moved my soul or inspired me to new spiritual heights.
As an adult, I’ve become increasingly disillusioned with organized religion because so many seem to use it as a weapon or reason to deny love to others. I want my kids to ask their own questions and make up their own minds about the bigger picture. I don’t want that to be programmed into their impressionable young minds. As the Roo once so eloquently told her devout Catholic friend’s entire family, “We don’t go to church because we don’t like people telling us what to think.”
Is there an echo in here?
So I had a very quick, intense chat with myself before wrapping up our talk.
Me to myself: Oh crap. This is what happens when you live so close to Focus on the Family. She’s been infected with the Joy, Joy, Joy, Joy Down in Her Heart. How do I keep her from going crazy cracker Christian on me?
Myself to me: Easy there, St. Prejudicia. Don’t teach your kid to discriminate against people who don’t think the same way you do. You and Jesus still love each other very much, you’ve just agreed to see other people. Fortunately he’s secure enough to not feel threatened by your attraction to Buddha.
Me to myself: But what if she likes it? What if she wants to go every Sunday and I have to give up my time in the Church of the Open Saddle?
Myself to me: If she likes it, that means she’s happy. Isn’t that our entire reason for being? And you’ll find other ways to sneak out to the barn and get your equine therapy. You may even like it, too.
So I took a deep breath and told her we’d hit the pew on Sunday. As a compromise to myself, we visited the local gay church. They were kind, welcoming and put on a pretty good show. The singers were amazing, the piano player was FAB-u-lous and the drummer was way too much.
Riley loved it.
As for me, myself and I, it was a bit too traditional for our taste. I was a little disappointed that nobody stepped up to the mic with a feather boa and a Bible. But I’m willing to give it another try. And if somebody knows where I can get the sheet music to the gospel version of “It’s Raining Men,” please post a link in the comments section.