I’m not sure if this is the correct category for this, but I think it fits here (however, that could just be newbie optimism for ya). If not, could a moderator please help me out and put it where it needs to be. Thanks in advance.
Ok, I’ll try to make sense of this as best I can. Here’s crossing all my fingers and toes that I don’t sound idiotic.
[backstory] My grandfather passed away when I was 12 (I’m almost 35 now) and it scared my mother into action. You see, she’s one of these very over-the-top take-charge (among other multiple negative traits, but that’s another thread entirely, for another day – I’ll limit this one to only the pertinent quirks, I swear! :p) kinda people and was intensely close and loyal to my grandpa. After his death, that fear motivated her to get us back into the church of her youth and save us all from the possible hellfire and brimstone that he might have been currently facing.
You can guess what kind of church that meant we started attending. So, longstoryshort, I became saved when I was 13. Although one could argue that it either wasn’t sincere or it was motivated out of the same fear mom had, all I can offer is that it was the center of my entire life until I was 20. Everyone knows the type; carried my bible to school daily, NEVER let nary a profane word cross my lips, listened only to Christian music, etc., etc., ad nauseum. I believed one should walk the walk, so I did my best. And my position on things could have been summed up by saying that I pretty much believed like what’s described as a fundie. Hope that makes the ‘before’ picture pretty clear.
Now, cut to when I began feeling differently (early 20’s). I did finally notice that my mother’s choices (as would be evident by when we started our religious trek) were strongly and mostly motivated by said fear. It’s been a recurrent theme my whole life. She put a whole new spin on being over-protective for one. For example, I never even had spent a single night away from home, at a friend’s house, until I was a junior in high school. :eek: She strong-armed any dissent. Her views on virginity made me terrified of ever having sex outside the benefit of marriage. Hell, so much so that I was still wimpy enough to hold on to that until I was 24!! Everything, like flying or going to bed without speaking on the phone, falls under the same heading. Therefore, I would say that she probably would make Hughes look positively outgoing and non-phobic. Countless other examples are available, but I’m hopeful that everyone will get the gist.
‘After’ picture; anyway, I decided I didn’t want to emulate that. I wanted to be free of fearful thinking and motivation. So, I’ve busted my ass for about the past 15 years to circumvent her teachings. Like; I’ve had bout after bout of night terrors where I wake up thinking I’m already dead and on my way to hell. (Can right here I just say, “gee, thanks mom”? :rolleyes:) It’s only been in about the last year or so that I’ve completely irradicated that. Finally. Thankfully. I’ve also worked very hard at ending those prejudice beliefs she instilled. Some of the ol’ homosexuality is sinful stuff and no interracial dating and the like. It’s been terribly difficult, but worth every bit of effort. Needless to say, empathy and compassion weren’t something I ever saw much of and understood even less. Gratefully, my outlook is a 180 degree difference today. :::huge sigh of relief:::[/backstory]
I would say that these days, I am beyond content with my spirituality. My connection with my higher power is truly great. And which is, by all intents and purposes, much deeper and more real than what I experienced before. I’m happy with where I’m at and hope to only broaden my horizons every day up until the time of my demise. I will defend staying in this state vigorously.
Which brings me to my question… I remember an old adage about “raising up a child in the path that he will go and one day (if he strays, I presume) he’ll return to it” and that absolutely freakin’ worries me endlessly. I don’t want to abandon what I know now to be right and true for me because I become scared later. I certainly don’t want to lose my critical thinking skills (ie: if I were to be diagnosed with Alzheimers) and revert to what I knew as a wee lass. I want to remain steadfast and true. Therefore, what’s the take on this? Does anyone know anyone who’s made a sea change in their life and stuck it out unto death? Or, have they gone back at the last moment or once, say, found to have a terminal illness, switch due back due to fear? How about anyone that’s simply changed again once they’ve gotten considerably older and felt that, for whatever reason, that which they’d heard/learned first was best? (Side note, I realize that reads really awkwardly, but I couldn’t think of a better way to word it – please forgive me and for clarification’s sake, I’ll be more than happy to attempt to mangle it again.)
Please help me out here, because as I’ve already stated, this has now become the one question that keeps me up at night. It’s so incredibly important for me, to know what the odds are and, to plan ahead. Because whether or not I’ll be able to stand strong, despite whatever I may face ahead in my life, will be an issue I will just have to resolve. At lease, as best I can.
P.S. The only thing I ask (guideline-wise) is for no one to preach at me. Share all you like, but condemnation holds nothing with me and I promise not to put up a fight if someone does. I’ll just move along. So thank you for following my only ‘rule’.