I grew up with a wonderful, vibrant, caring extended family. I knew without a doubt that I was blessed. My grandparents had 13 children. One died as a small girl, but the other 12 are all still healthy and strong minded.
As you might have guessed ours is a Catholic family. Our faith is important to us. It flavors our view of the world, of morality, of life.
My mom often tells me that when she was a girl, her Uncle Bill and her dad would argue until they were ready to take it outside to settle the matter using their fists. Then Uncle Bill would admit that he agreed with Grandpa, he just felt like arguing. That strength of conviction got passed along to all of his children and, if my guess is right, all of his grandchildren.
I never met Uncle Bill. I do remember Grandpa arguing at the dinner table though. One time my cousin Bob left a small piece of meat on his plate. Grandpa ordered him to eat it. Bob said that he wouldn’t eat that fat.
“It is meat.” stated Grandpa definitively.
“It’s meat!” he roared.
“Fat!” was the reply.
“Bullsh**!!!!!” exclaimed Grandpa in disgust.
Yep, firm minded, that is us. Unfortunately, sometimes, I find my close held opinions vary from the prevailing family wisdom. That can be lonely. They’ve stopped telling me that I am wrong. I don’t know if that means that they have accepted that I have my own mind, or if there are just so many of us, that they feel no need to argue with such an outlier as myself.
It is of course my own fault. I do differ on several fundamental things. My original departure is the most offensive of course, I am not Catholic anymore. The faith of my childhood is still very much a part of who I am, but I found that sometimes my theology, based on my understanding of the Bible, differs from the official stance of the Church. It was easier to step out of Catholicism than to argue every time some disagreement arose within me. That doesn’t mean that I think the Church completely wrong, nor does it mean that I think Catholics are silly deluded people destined for hell. It means simply that I find following the Lord simpler when I follow who He says He is in the Bible without having to figure out the official stance of the pope or the bishop, or the local priest.
The second thing that causes me to be a quiet outlier in the family is that I am quiet. I actually enjoy a good argument. I really enjoy a good argument. But I refuse to attack. I understand that other people see the world differently than I do and I am okay with that. I know my views are strange to most, just as my life experiences are strange to most. So, most of the time instead of talking and sharing, I listen. Of course that makes me the weird lady who eavesdrops on other people’s conversations.
Sometimes I get tired of being that lady. Sometimes I want to shout my opinions from the rooftops. Sometimes, I want to make a difference in somebody’s life. Sometimes, I just want to be heard and acknowledged.