Witch hunts still exist and pagans and anyone outside the dominant religious paradigm are still fair game. This lesson has hit home harder than ever this week for me. I am being tested.
Like most others, I was raised in a religious, monotheist household. Like most others, I tried like mad to be the person that my parents needed me to be. I also tried to do this for my husband and his family. Thus I found myself caught between religious Jews and religious Greek Orthodox Christians, at different times trying my best to be the good girl in their respective pews, trying desperately to fit in to be acceptable and worthy of love. Problem was, I cannot escape who I am and how I was hard wired to be…and I failed at monotheism. In the end I could not resist the call of my ancestors and my gods, and I have paid a steep price.
When I attended synagogue with my parents, we ate together every week, they enjoyed my company and were interested in my life. When I was attending church with my husband’s family, I was included in what heathens would term the “innangard”, or inside the club. By one simple act; being true to my own spirituality and calling, I became a religious outlaw.
Today I am being tested. My husband who I love beyond belief isn’t sure he wants me anymore. In the past, I would have had the support and love of my parents. When I went to cry on their shoulders, I found only blame. They fingered my spirituality as the cause of my comeuppance. My child added that if I ruined my marriage that she would also walk away from me.
I know better to even speak of this to my husband’s family, for I stopped being worthy the moment I walked out on their way to God. By being who I am I have found myself a spiritual untouchable in the eyes of everyone I love the most. The pressure is unbearable…and I am ashamed to say that in the past I have caved to these pressures and gone into the “broom closet”, so to speak. That is no longer an option for me. All I can do is hold on for my existence and pray that those I love will see me as deserving of love even if I am not next to them every week at church or shul.
Sometimes we are tested. Our faith may draw consternation and fire. All we can do is hope to endure, survive and pass the test with our souls intact. Sometimes in order to be yourself you have to risk having everything ripped from you, coldly and brutally. I will not pretend that this is an easy thing, and that all you have to do is visualize an orb of light around the naysayers and they will melt and hug you. Testing is a violent thing, awash in shame and fear and hot tears. Too many of us have been here, and more will face their time in the crucible. May our gods and ancestors protect us and bless us all, that we may be equal to the task and survive.