Saturday, January 12, 2013

Carrying My Own Suitcase

1. suitcases, trunks, and personal belongings of travelers
2. things that encumber one's freedom, progress, development, or adaptability

We all know about baggage.  We all have baggage of one type or another.  Of course, in this post I'm referring to the encumbering kind of baggage and not necessarily the kind that goes in the cargo hold -- despite that both types can be accurately described as the "personal belongings of travelers."  My mind has been racing lately, taking stock of my baggage, testing the handles, feeling the weight, wondering how I accumulated such a mismatched assortment.  I am still working on how my baggage, full of my unraveled or unraveling messiness, is going to work its way onto this blog.  But right now, I'm thinking about one of the major things I need to address this year: what I'm going to do about church.

When I explained previously that I'm not attending church, I wrote,
If there is one thing I've learned over the past year it is that if you don't learn to own your faith, to truly understand what you believe and why, then you may as well not believe anything.  When your faith is based only on what other people have told you that you should believe, you have to close yourself off from people who think differently from you, lest they ask you questions you can't answer or find gaps in your story.  I don't want that and I don't want it for my kids.
But here is what I'm questioning: can we choose our kids' baggage?  Of course I know that part of being a good parent is doing everything in our power to raise our kids in an environment that grows them into healthy and well-adjusted people and that there are obvious things parents should avoid to prevent the baggage that results from things like abuse or neglect.  I'm not talking about those obvious, universal things.  What I'm worrying about is if by trying to avoid something so specific and not-universally-avoided, if my kids are just going to end up with the same baggage I have anyway?  Or are they going to have some kind of opposite baggage (is that a thing?) because in trying so hard to make things different for them they will pick up something else along the way?

I honestly have no idea.

This is just one of many reasons I need to work through my church issues.  At this point, I'm completely unclear about what it is all going to look like on the other side, but I do know that I need to make some decisions.  I don't know if we will be regularly attending a church by the end of the year, but I know that Christian community is one of the foundations of the Christian faith and that I need to figure out how to incorporate that into our lives.

Into my life.

That's really what it boils down to.  These issues with church are my issues.  Sure, when my kids are older, I'm sure there will be discussions we have where I will reference some of my baggage, but at this point, it is my responsibility.  My job is to live out what I know is right and bring my kids along with me.  Some day, they will have their own baggage about something, as much as I try to prevent it.  But this church thing, this is mine and they have no obligation to it.  With this church thing, I need to suck it up and carry my own suitcase.

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