As I have mentioned before, my better half and I practice two (similar but different) religions. We split time between the two churches, and, like many people with this issue, live daily with the balancing act that is required to ensure harmony. This takes a great deal of patience, conversation, and tolerance, all virtues which the Virtue Fairy failed to give me in great measure.
So of course the decision to baptize our children in R’s church comes with some drama, but not in the way one would think. Yesterday, we had an appointment with the Priest to discuss our…shall we say…delicate position- this balancing act we perform daily. Yes, we would like to baptize the children. No, she’s not Catholic. No, she doesn’t intend to convert. No, we didn’t get married in the Catholic church. Yes, her father’s a Protestant pastor. Yes, we intend on having non-Catholic as well as Catholic Godparents. No, the Catholic ones aren’t in this country. No, the non-Catholic ones don’t speak Spanish.
The face of the young priest was priceless…I think he’s probably used to much more submissive parishioners.
I find daily that R and I fit only barely in the many communities we inhabit. We speak two languages, teach our children two cultures, and follow two expressions of faith. This makes a great deal of sense to us, since it is the reality we live and the values we hold. But so much gets lost when we attempt to give answers to others, especially in the two worlds we inhabit, which are both conservative in their own ways. Normalcy, for them, is defined fairly strictly, and deviance from the norm is met with furrowed brow and quite a few priceless faces.
Sometimes, I have to admit, I’d rather fit exactly. I’d like to be like The Gap, which caters to as wide an audience as possible. Everyone can wear The Gap. Their Long and Lean jeans are fabulous on just about anybody. Buying a present from there decreases, significantly, the likelihood that it will be returned. And I think that feeling, of wanting to “fit” like everyone else, is very human.
But…our lives are richer, deeper, more complex as a result of the two influences. As theologically incongruous as we may be to some, we converge on many things- our love for our families, our love for our churches, a deep sense of commitment to faith in Christ, a desire for understanding, etc.
So while I may wear my Long and Leans, I relish the perplexity on many a face. Bridging the two (cultures, traditions, expressions) is challenging, but I’m not stocking up on Gap tees any time soon.