The other day, driving home from somewhere, Wyatt gazed as we passed the large, brick building with all the stained glass windows and asked, "Mom, why don't we go to church?"
Now, I am driving. I have been waiting for this question for lord knows (pardon the pun) how many years, but I do not want to have a philosophical, spiritual, worldly conversation with my 9-year-old while I am behind the wheel.
So, I bide my time with, "let's talk about it when we get home, okay?" and move on down the road.
When I began explaining my beliefs, or disbeliefs, it became glaringly obvious that I didn't know what the heck I was talking about. I could see his mind begin to wander as I rambled on.
"I want you to be able to make up your own mind about which religion you choose to believe, or not. I want you to know that I support whatever you believe, even if I may not agree with it. There are so many, many choices out there and it is good to explore all of them until you find one that fits, or not - and that's okay too."
It is so hard, when religion follows us everywhere.
It's not that I am opposed to organized religion, it just doesn't fit me, us. There are some traditions that I take hold of, like saying prayers at bedtime, and uphold, like not taking "the lord's" name in vain (even if I don't necessarily believe in "the lord" - it's offensive and I don't want my kids to offend another's beliefs). I find comfort in chruch when I visit for funerals, weddings and holidays.
But this comfort, I believe, comes from the coming together of the people, the fellowship, who are there listening to a positive message, not from "the lord."
I believe in people. I believe in right and wrong. I believe in honesty and truth and being a good person. I believe in karma. I believe in peace. I believe in freedom and choice and not telling others what to do. I believe in taking deep, long breaths and being grateful for the world in which one lives. I believe in friendship and family. I believe in acceptance. I believe in humanity.
I am fine not "going to church" to validate my beliefs.
But, as a parent, it is so hard to explain these things. And even though I think I've exposed my children to beliefs of all types, I realize that I have a lot more work to do.
Most of all, I want to give them the choice, as I had, to make up their own minds without sullying them with my intentions. I want them to know that it is okay to believe what one wants, after all, this is America, right?
I pray (non-Christians are allowed to pray) that these freedoms aren't taken away from them.
Oh, but it is so hard. So very, very hard.
So, after our little conversation, rather, my rambling diatribe, Wyatt turns to me and says, "Mom, if the girl I marry goes to church, I'll go with her."
And I said, "That's very nice honey."
We've a long road ahead of us. We do.