Back to the story. The defining moment of my relationship with my mother was when we went to see the movie "Ghandi." By this time I had learned that my mother was someone I could actually be honest with and I stumbled upon a moment that I will never forget. As we drove home from the local theater together, I wondered aloud how someone who was clearly so good could be going to hell according to my religion. Even though my mother up to this point had allowed me to ask, there was something different in her answer that night. It was the first time I heard her voice questioning as loudly as mine. How could it be? Even though my mom never gave me what many would call an answer, her ability to discuss and question out loud without accusations flying was a novelty in my world and I felt like I had finally broken free. I was now free to think and to question. For the first time, I felt like God gave me a mind to seek truth and that truth might not always be exactly what I was expecting. And that was exciting.
By the fall of 1983, my bags were packed and I was off to college. It was no surprise that I was heading off to Calvin College, a small Christian liberal arts school. I opted out of Wheaton for many reasons. It was too close to home, I knew too many people there and they made the sad mistake of asking me about some of my past "sins." Even at 18, I knew that I didn't need to be judged for things that I had done in the past. I already knew that part of growing up is learning and changing. I didn't want to be dragged down by things that I had done in the past. I'm all for personal accountability, but what's the point if there are no lessons to be learned and only punishments to be dealt out.
So off to Calvin I went. Little did I know, but my faith was about to be rocked to the core, not by the "world" that I had been warned about, but by the Christians I went to class with every day. Those three years taught me the real world meaning of the word hypocrisy. I saw people who in the name of the same god I was claiming, behave in ways that I found shameful and yet, they turned around and called me a heathen because I wasn't a member of their church. Suddenly, all the words I had spoken to others flooded me in a sea of regret. The judgementalism that I had grown up embracing was a little harsh on the receiving end. Suddenly I realized that our beliefs when taken out of the context of our personal culture, became a target for others, who believed their agenda to be as valid as my own.
And so it was at Calvin College, the safest place my parents could have put me, I learned to think for myself for a change. I was fortunate enough, or intuitive enough to find a group of people who helped me to think for myself. They were all Christians, but a kind of Christian I had never met before. For the first time, I met people who put action before words and reserved the judging for God. I had my fill of being judged by people here on earth. My ego had been torn down again and again by people for whom I never seemed good enough. I had been given a chance to really examine what my foundation was made of and if some repairs were in order.
Next time, The Seether Part Quatro, where yours truly thinks she has figured it all out.
Monday, September 07, 2009
Posted by Tenacious S at 12:35 AM