Wednesday, June 16, 2010
"Without our traditions, our lives would be as shaky as... as... as a fiddler on the roof!" - Tevye
Madame Curie and I went to watch "Fiddler on the Roof" for our weekly date night. The company did a great job and we enjoyed ourselves immensely. I have seen "Fiddler on the Roof" several times, but I came with a very different perspective this time. In many ways I am a "traditions" person, as well as a "truth" person. Since becoming disaffected with the church, I feel like I have lost a lot of my traditions, and life often feels very shaky. It is a very precarious position when you are a traditions person and a truth person. I wobble back and forth, when I seek to observe the traditions, the truth side of me reminds me of the futility of the traditions. When I follow where truth leads, I long for the traditions of my youth.
But it was also obvious in the play, that while traditions provide a sense of stability and comfort, they can also be harmful. I think of Tevye disowning his daughter because she married outside of the faith. And I think of the things I did sincerely believing they were the right thing, but which were wrong, harmful, and judgmental. I see many ways in which our religious traditions lead to harmful behavior.
I also thought about how life is a journey that continues throughout our life. Often it seems that the church's Plan of Happiness (TM) ends at parenthood. Everything in the church leads toward the temple, marriage, and having children. But once you start having kids, everything focuses on the children and the parents are largely left to stagnate. However, that isn't how life works, it keeps throwing stuff at you. I think of Tevye and his family with their challenges. And I think of my parents and how learning of their kids' disaffection will be a challenge to them, and how it will be a challenge for them to learn that they have a gay son.
I thought about how Le Petite Curie is sure to throw some curve balls our way and challenge us. And I thought about how the big challenges right now seem to be adjusting to my disaffection, accepting that I am gay, and figuring out how to make my MOM work. While it feels like these are huge challenges and that I just need to endure and get through them, there are sure to be additional challenges on the other side of them. Life is like that.