"All bitterness, fury, anger, shouting, and reviling must be removed from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, compassionate, forgiving one another as God has forgiven you in Christ. Be imitators of God, as beloved children and live in love as Christ loved."
I am reading all types of theology because I want to be able to relate to everyone and spread my thoughts with every type of person from all walks of life in a way they will understand and relate to. Being a visiting nurse has been so very good for me and my growth as a person. As a visiting nurse I deal with ALL types of families from all types of socio-economic statuses, ethnicities, and religions. I treat them all the same. Honestly it fuels my desire to be a human rights advocate; there is so much poverty, there is so little education. Religion is free group therapy. Unfortunately people think that just walking into the building is enough to be saved. I just gotta say some "Our Father's" and eat this cracker and suddenly I'm saved. There is so much truth and guidance and wisdom in theology but people get caught up in needing to be right about their interpretations. This is what all religion in the world boils down to... LOVE EACH OTHER. BE KIND. FORGIVE. That's pretty much it. Everything else are just the little details. We all have the same message, it doesn't matter if we use psychology, catholicism, judaism what have you- the message is more important than fighting over what to eat and what to wear.
Well at the end of the retreats there's a mass where the "candidates" get to talk about their experiences. The church is full of parents who are hoping the good Lord helped their son give up heroin, and wives who hope their husbands will stop drinking and being violent. They are so excited and hopeful to meet their brand new family member. It's nice but sad because I know it doesn't stick. Why do you think religions request times of meditation daily and one day a week for worship? Because weekly therapy is really helpful. So these kids who went to be saved are saved for today... But then life starts up again, and shit gets stressful and they start slipping and wondering where the fuck God went. It's all so clear to me. I feel like all the problems in the world stem from one thing... A lack of knowledge. When you know more you can do better. Why is the whole world not being educated then?
The mass was actually beautiful. The priest was a Mexican-American and he was really silly and funny and everything he spent mass speaking about was what I had written to my dad. He spoke of love and forgiveness and second chances. I was captivated because he was speaking about all the things I have been feeling and I felt oddly reassured that I was on the right path.
During the mass I couldn't help but stare at this beautiful woman who was sitting a few pews in front of me. She was Dominican, her mahogany skin looked so smooth and positively radiant. She was so well put together but there was something else about her. She was a full figured woman but she exuded confidence, beauty and just a warm glow. At the end of mass she ended up standing next to me waiting for someone. I hesitated for a second then put my hand on her arm, she looked at me and I told her she looked very beautiful. Her eyes filled with tears and she thanked me. A few minutes later I saw her with one of the candidates and she was holding him close, tears streaming on both their faces, "I'm so proud of you, I love you so very much" I heard her say. That radiance I couldn't look away from was love.
Educating myself in different religions and belief systems allows me to relate to people. I spent my summer night talking to my father about forgiveness, love and Derek. My father was so calm but it's so apparent that he still sees me as a little girl.
"Tania, you're still young and inexperienced, one day you'll see where I'm coming from."
"I'm your little girl but I'm not A little girl. Don't tell me I'm not experienced. I've had to overcome a hell of a lot more than you ever did. You're 63 and you're just starting to see the message. For example you never gave Derek a chance, "
"Well, you just brought him in my home and I was what? Just supposed to accept it? From the moment you forced an introduction I decided I didn't want to accept him,"
"And so you didn't! You never gave him a chance," This is where it started getting heated.
"You were living in my house and you just brought him in without consulting me or telling me anything first. You just brought him over unannounced and I'm supposed to want to get to know him?"
"No!" at this point my dad stood up and paced the patio.
"Sit down, please... I want to say something but I want to say it in a way you're going to understand me so I need to to give me a second and to be receptive to what I'm saying." He sat and nodded. My mother was on the sidelines watching us go back and forth like a tennis match. "Because of everything my brothers and I have had to live because of your and mami's parenting... I want to focus my career on childhood development and parenting."
"Oh, with the bad parenting stuff... Listen! My parents fed me and clothed me until I was 16 years old after that I was on my own. At 21 I dropped out of college, which I was putting myself through working two jobs to come to this country. I didn't know the language, I didn't have any family or any friends here but I wanted more and I knew mami and papi weren't going to help me get anywhere."
"Yeah, Papi... that was shitty. That would make me very angry. I can see it still makes you angry."
"I'm not angry, it never bothered me. It was what it was. But i learned if I wanted to be something I had to rely on myself. So I'm sorry if I can't feel sorry for you and your brother when I tried to give you all the best things I could afford."
"Yeah, well that's the problem. We didn't want things. What we needed didn't have a price. Love. Giving hugs, letting us know we were important, that shit is free. How many times did you tell me you loved me before I said it to you when I was 18?"
"I dunno, not enough I'm guessing?"
"Did you say it everyday?"
"Once a week?... Once a year? Never?"
"Maybe I didn't say it but I thought it all the time."
"Too bad we weren't mind readers, then... Want to know how I'm going to handle the situation when my daughter brings someone home?... I'm going to talk to him and get to know him and get to know his family and his friends because I love my daughter and I want her to be safe and the only way I will know she's safe is if I build a relationship with her and the people in her life no matter how difficult they are. As a parent it was your responsibility to get to know who I brought home and guide me and teach me the right way of handling a relationship. The Bible says to be imitators of God. To love and forgive."
"I forgive but I don't forget."
"Then you don't forgive. You run these retreats and talk to people about God and the Bible. Since you do that it means you don't actually have to practice what you preach?"
"...I never said I was a perfect man."
"But since now you know better you should do better. Let your sons know they are important and loved. Let people in to your heart without being suspicious of when they're going to betray you."
The conversation went on but it was the most my father has ever told me about his feelings and his past. During the conversation he was open and did tell me a few times he loved him. I told him about my philosophies. He told me the first year he was in the US he would send all his money back to his parents and when he went out to visit the first time they didn't even say thank you. I told him that was shitty too, he shrugged and sadly said, "But I was a good son."
Fuck... Now I get my dad. I really need to talk to my advisor at school and figure out what the fuck I can do with this new talent of mine.