This year dinner was at my parents house as per usual. My mom invited my sisters and their spouses/kids, plus my aunt who lives in town here with her family. Then my one great-aunt was also invited. Then, because apparently that’s not stressful enough for my mom, she invited a few other people that she knew were newer to town and most likely had nowhere else to go. And last and very least, my Grandpa showed up.
I’m not a fan of dinners with my family in the normal every day, apart from the fact that my mom is an excellent cook, a trait I definitely did not inherit. But the actual family time? Not my favorite. So imagine the lack of excitement I had leading up to this “event”
My mom and my sister R don’t get along. My Aunt and my Dad don’t like each other, thanks to a previous business venture gone bad . My brother-in-law D can only stand being around my family for max like 3 hours before stressing out because we are a loud rambunctious bunch (can you believe I’m the quiet one outta the bunch? Yeah you probably can). There’s 6 kids between the ages of 4-11 running around. And to top it off, I’m avoiding my Grandpa at all costs. So you can imagine the thoughtfulness that had to go into the seating arrangements lol.
But even more than that, I realized that my family really doesn’t give two shits about being thankful. There was no going around the table saying the things we were thankful for, even after I suggested it. Twice. TWICE.
I feel like I need to remind you guys that the majority of the group that was present call themself “bible believing Christians” with 2 of them even being Pastors. In fact apart from myself (and my kids), my sister N and her husband D, and my Grandpa (Duh)… the rest of the people at dinner attend church on the regular. And that in and of itself makes me more confident of the decision I made to stop attending church this past summer.
I’m in no way saying that Christianity and people who claim to be Christians are the same thing. Because they aren’t. The people who attend the church and claim to be Christians are just that. People. They are humans who make LOTS of mistakes. Just like you and me (in the mistake making way, not necessarily the claiming to believe in Jesus same way). But if they really believe what they say they believe, they would be making a continual effort to correct those behaviors as well as being “more like Christ.’
But being Christian isn’t claiming to be perfect. I get that.
But I think sometimes Christians forget that.
Which is part of why I made my decision to stop attending church a couple of months ago. I completely understand that it is not my place to judge, and please know that I’m not placing judgement right now. What I’m making is an observation that I used to make informed decisions for me in my life choices. Previously when I was at any type of church function, whether it was my own church or a different one, I felt the people I met presented an aura of “upityness” if that’s even a word. It’s not. I know that.
But it’s like they always felt like they were better than others. Or they had no issues in their personal life. And for years that has always bothered me. Because I know that that’s not possible. I know that everyone has problems at home or school or work or whatever. I know that marriages go through rocky times. I know that not all of your kids can be straight A students (well they can but it’s not likely), I know that not everyone makes enough money to cover basic bills. Among everything else human have thrown at them in life.
So how is it that nothing was ever wrong for them? Now when I say they seem good all the time, I’m not talking about the ‘joy of the Lord’ or peace or something. I’m saying that there was a fakeness to most individuals I dealt with. I should remind you guys, that I attended church pretty much every Sunday (except while in Kenya, when it was sporatic, and when dating W) of my life, until just this year, and this feeling still stands. This wasn’t a once or twice feeling. This was growing up in it, being immersed in it. Then being able to compare it to the world, and realizing that it’s almost like the Christians I’ve met are always trying to put on airs.
It’s like if their life doesn’t seem perfect, who would believe in, well like I said before, the “joy of the Lord’ or the fruits of the spirit, or even just their God in general? And if they don’t seem happy enough, then the advice they get from the Pastor or even their other Christian friends while seeking help, is to pray more, or believe harder. So they act like everything is good, so their ‘faith’ seems strong. Seems stressful to me.
On the other hand. to be fair, I have met some Christians who seem very genuine and happy in their
religion relationship with God, although few and far between. But to be fair I’ve also met some ‘non-believers’ who are also very genuine and at peace without that same faith.
So there’s that.
But heading back to the start of this VERY off topic rabbit trail, I’d like to tell someone what I’m thankful for, since I haven’t been asked this whole holiday season. I did ask my kids what they were thankful for, but once they were done the doorbell rang, so I didn’t get a chance to say mine. So without further ado,
- Little E, even with his growing attitude that I’m not sure how to handle, this boy is the smarted, kindest, most handsome little thing I’ve been blessed with. He challenges me with his intellect and we have in-depth conversations that allow me to pass along my knowledge to another human that trusts me completely. This power has caused me to really question what I believe and what do I really know, and what I want other humans to believe. And for that, I can never repay him.
- Z, oh Z. This bundle of joy is always smiling and dancing and still comes and cuddles me in the morning which I need so much. Most days she’s my only hug and kiss and I’m a very big touchy feely person, so I’m so grateful for her for getting me through this time and being my only source of human intimacy, and many more times to come I’m sure.
You know, I was gonna continue on with the whole friends, job, house thing, but I think I’ll stop there instead.
They are what I’m truly thankful for.
-VeggieTales/The Thankfulness Song-