The Paths We Take

I tend to not mention religion much on my blog.  I tend to not intertwine my religion with the rest of my life much either.  Religion and faith are deeply personal and something that I don’t take very lightly, which is why I am very careful about when it’s appropriate to discuss.

My father is Roman Catholic.  He was raised Roman Catholic, but isn’t currently practicing.  He stopped going to church before I was born.  He has no problem with the faith, but with the church.  When my parents got married the church discriminated against my mom and he has never really forgiven them for that.  He still believes and has faith, but he doesn’t attend church. 

My mother is Buddhist and still attends temple.  There are different types of Buddhism.  My mom follows a form of Mahayana Buddhism which includes belief in Boddhisatvas.  Boddhisatvas could be similar to Saints I think.  They help those of us on Earth; there are many of them; and they each have their own purpose.  We attend a temple devoted to Guan Yin, who is the Boddhisatva that is linked with compassion.  We believe in God.  When I pray I pray to God or to Guan Yin.  Usually if I feel I need guidance or help I pray to Guan Yin for help. 

Growing up I didn’t attend church and I didn’t attend temple.  My parents were very open with me about faith and about my path.  They always instilled in me that the religious path I choose is my own and I was free to discover what that was.  They preferred that I wait until I was older to decide.  I began to attend temple when I was 10.  It was something that they weren’t going to stop me on, but that they wished I had waited longer to do. 

It was very important to them that I discover what my beliefs are myself and they always encouraged me to attend services for any church or religion.  I took them up on it and went to several throughout junior high and high school.  I was always searching, knowing that the path I chose was my own.  Everyone has their own path, and mine is not yours as yours is not mine.  I view the path more as a way to live on earth than a path to get into heaven.  I think that is why I don’t believe that we can be right or wrong in following any path.

I always went back to temple.  Always.  I always felt at home when attending temple.  That was just a part of finding my way. 

My husband was raised Catholic, worked for a Baptist church, and has explored other religions including Zen Buddhism.  He currently attends temple with me, however, that is in part because he loves the food.  😉

Chloe attends temple with me and my mom, so I’m doing things a little differently than my parents did.  All of my children will attend temple, and when they are older I will want them to explore their own path and discover what it is they believe.  Having my children attend temple is partly to expose them to what I believe and the path that I have choosen for myself.  Their path will be choosen by them later on in life, hopefully after they have fully explored their beliefs and the different beliefs that other religions and faiths hold.  Another reason why I want them to experience temple with me is to expose them to a religion that does not follow the mainstream beliefs because I want them to develop a respect for it.  I don’t want them to fear what is different in regards to their own religious beliefs and those that the people of this world follow.  That is very important to me, that Chloe and my future children can respect the other paths, the religions of the world and not fear that which is different.

It is what my parents gave me.  Even though they believed differently, they always showed respect for one another’s beliefs.  I don’t think that my dad agrees with my mom’s religion and vice versa, but they can respect one another and respect that they have different paths.

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7 responses to “The Paths We Take

  1. Great post! Thanks for sharing your experience. We hope to expose our children to many different religions and cultures, I enjoyed reading about your experience with it.

  2. Wow, that is so beautifully put. Its hard for me to imagine a person on earth of any religion that would disagree with how you view things when you put it that way.

    I would love it if you would share what temple is like! I’ve never been and I’ve always wanted to go but am so shy and know no one else who goes. I’ve always wondered what its like though! How interesting that it is where you always felt at home.

  3. Pingback: Pages tagged "beliefs"

  4. I really enjoyed this post for so many reasons. Thank you for sharing your personal life in this respect. I admire the way your parents raised you regarding religious views and I admire the way you’re raising Chloe (and future kiddos).

  5. Your post reminds me a little of my life growing up in a house with one Repubilican parent and one parent who was a Democrat. Let’s just say we had “lively” discussions at the dinner table on certain years!:) They always encouraged us to find out what we believe. It sounds the same with your parents.

  6. Oh I LOVE this post. I wonder if I could talk Aaron into doing this with our children, thanks for sharing something so personal Melinda!

  7. Pingback: But They Don’t Have Sticks « Crafty Mommy

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