I want to share something with all of you, because I finally made what feels like a small step towards freedom, especially when I hung up the phone after talking to my mother.
The night before she informed me that my younger son would be better off if he became a Christian and blabbed on and on about it as though it would cure his problems. I asked her, “What if he chose Buddhism?” She responded, “NO! There is no Christ. Blah, blah, blah.” And so it went with me making yet another excuse as to having to get off the phone in an effort to run from her. I proceeded to go on a rant, which led to a good shift kick in the butt by someone else. Figuratively of course, not literally.
I took a deep breath, as suggested, and said to myself, “It is time to grow up” and then proceeded to call my mother before I lost my nerve.
I picked up where we had left off the night before.
Even though it was her birthday I still took a step towards coming out to her as a humanist and told her after her comments yesterday about my younger son, I did not want her imposing her beliefs on either one of my sons. She asked why and I told her I never raised them as Evangelicals and I never allowed anyone to take them to an Evangelical Church when they were little. The first time my older son attended one was at my grandmother's funeral and he did not like it anymore than I did.
She asked why again. I told her I do not like Evangelical teachings, never have, and as a child, I wanted to run out of church, but I was afraid she and the other adults would get mad at me. I further explained that I got baptized because I did not want to make her, Uncle Richard, or anyone else mad. I also told her that I only went to church so I would not make her or anyone else mad. Finally, I told her why I took my sons to an Episcopal Church and how I would rant about the crucifixion being barbaric and communion being cannibalism to priests, etc etc, right up to her saying, "But I want you and my grandsons to go to heaven." I stopped short of saying I do not believe in heaven, though I pondered saying it for a brief moment. Instead I said, "Mother, you are welcome to your beliefs, I just don't want you imposing them on my sons like you have me, even if they are grown."
Then we started talking about my step-cousin who committed suicide. She does not believe they were part of what drove him to suicide. She was in denial and said her preacher knew more about his being brain dead than I do. My older son responded after I told him what she said, “I would have laughed about that one.” He has read my college textbooks and knows almost as I do about the human brain.
That part of the conversation did not get too much further, except she accused my step-cousin of being on drugs because he was taking narcotics. I told her doctors do prescribe narcotics when a person is in extreme pain- like the pain after four back surgeries.
Our conversation did not get much past that, but I did slip in that the virgin birth is a myth. I think she had shut down by that time and did not hear it. However, she did thank me for telling her all of that though, but I could hear her breathing hard, as though she were having one of her asthma attacks.
She did not ask if I believed in heaven. She did not ask what I believe at all. She did ask if that was why I quit going to the Episcopal Church. So I told her that was one of many reasons and then proceeded to tell her that I taught my sons to think for themselves and when they quit going to church around fourteen, I had no reason to go. I also explained that it was because how that particular church treated my younger son too. However, the biggest reason of all is that I have studied religion and its origins, especially that of Christianity.
She interrupted with, "Well good!" I almost laughed, but did not tell her that last was the end of any belief I did have. I also added that I even got the esoteric in the process of studying religion. She asked, “What's the esoteric.” Sigh. I just said, "What the common people don't get." She still did not ask me what I do believe though.
I am letting her chew on what I did say. If she thinks about any of it or even stresses over it, like it sounded she was about to, she will probably be calling me and asking questions. Who knows, but I think she might be in some shock right now or maybe it is because I refused to argue with her. I do not know, but I do not think this conversation is finished. It has probably only just begun, because I only told her the tip of the iceberg and I think she will realize it once she digests some of what I said, because there were several clues in there, but she has not asked anymore questions yet.
She now has all the reasons as to why I do not attend church, save one- the big one and that is the exact words “I'm a Humanist.”
I brought the topic up this time or rather started it from where we ended- with my younger son and all the night before. She was asking questions, I refused to argue, and she ended the phone call this time. Without any further questions... yet.
My older son came home from hanging out with his friends and I told him what happened between his grandmother and me. He laughed and said, “Grandma is in need of clue in the form of a baseball bat," after I told him what all was said and her reaction. I replied to his statement with, "Well, I could use what's her name's clue-by-four, but I think if we give your grandmother time, she might hear what I was saying." She was obviously a bit off-balanced by it and was the one who ended the phone call, instead of me, this time. I don't think it has quite sunk in yet, at least not beyond asking "Why?" like a child.
I am not sure exactly what happened, but I believe I told her I do not share her beliefs. Not in exact words, but she will probably get the message once she has had time to process it all. I am leaving the ball with her and whatever happens next happens. I have no clue how she is going to react once it hits her what I was telling her, but I feel like a weight has begun to lift and am starting to taste true freedom.