An ode to my parents

My parents gave me a zillion things—physically, literally, and otherwise. But one thing that they gave me that I’ve long-valued but never expressed my gratitude for is the absence of a religion to belong to.

My mom was raised Catholic and my dad Episcopalian, but as far as I can tell—absent my baptism and godparents—there was never a thought about indoctrinating me or establishing me in a creed. In fact, I remember in elementary school, I once forced my folks to take me to church because I felt so left out of the religious world. My piano teacher abruptly stopped my lesson one day when I told her that we celebrated Christmas but didn’t go to church. For a brief time, I thought something was wrong with me. After all, my mom’s older brother and his family went to church. And my mom’s younger sister and her family sent their daughter to Catholic school. But not us. Although my mom said she’d wanted to be a nun for a time, we didn’t spend our valuable weekend time in a place of worship.

But I was encouraged to take the Bible as literature in high school, learn about Jesus as a historical figure, study religion and its effect on civilizations, and fall in love with Renaissance art. But I was not ever schooled to be a follower of a religion.

And while I sometimes find myself jealous (I know, so awful) of folks who feel faith in a way I never will or for whom religion is a source of comfort, I’m grateful for my parents’ gift. To be truly devoid of religion—I’m not Christian, I’m not Jewish, I’m not Muslim, I’m not mormon, etc.—is a gift. Even though it’s confusing to people sometimes (there’s this assumption that I’m Christian), but I’ll take it. While I don’t always love her, her non-religion is part of me and I’m proud of that. It was by my parents’ design and I’m grateful to them for that decision.

Now, lest there be no confusion, I’m not an atheist—I’m not! How could I be so bold?!—but like in nearly everything, I’m learning, growing, and messing up. I just think I was given a religiously blank slate on which I could write my own story. And I think that’s a magnificent gift.


1 Response to “An ode to my parents”

  1. 1 Mary Lloyd July 19, 2021 at 10:10 am

    I’ve tried to post something 3 times but with no success. Thank you. Glad it worked out. ❤️👌👌

    Sent from my iPhone


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July 2021

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