When I started blogging again, I promised myself – and you, my beloved darling readers – that I would be above all things, REAL. Except that I haven’t. Well, I mean I haven’t been in-authentic in what I’ve written here, so much as I’ve been in-authentic by omission.
So now, I want to share something with you, namely cos it’s something that’s a really huge part of my life yet unless you’re in my close circle of real life mates you probably don’t know about it and secondly, because I’ve begun to think that it’s unique enough to maybe (MAYBE?!) even bring onto the stage. I’m actually nervous! Weird. Okay, here goes.
My hubby is a Christian.
That fact alone is not what’s unique, what’s unique(ish) is that I’m not.
I believe that there is something more than this life, I believe in God (even though it’s not very “cool” to say so and many of my closest friends do not), but when it comes to the specifics: my jury is out. It has been for a while. And for the moment, it doesn’t show many signs of moving. And I really am okay with that.
But my hubby: very devout Christian.
Now generally speaking we make things work pretty well, I think. To give you some background…
Long before I met the future hubs, I myself became a Christian in my second year of university, when I was invited to a church that was so far from the cold, traditional, hymn-singing boringness that I’d been raised with that I was immediately hooked. These people played ROCK! They were SMILING! They were speaking in TONGUES! (Whaaaa????) I dived in like a lost explore in a desert would into a well; i.e. passionately, excitedly and…blindly. A few months later the alarm bells started to ring, only marginally louder than the preachers’ weekly 20-minute motivational talk to give more money. And something strange started to happen – I started to think.
Shortly after, I left, and – completely disillusioned with it all – decided that church wasn’t actually about God at all, but about money.
I was done.
Not long after that, I met my future husband, Tim, who was at the time not a Christian, but in fact, a practising Tibetan Buddhist.
This was absolutely a hugely appealing part of his whole package (that and his waist-long hair….mmmmm….my grandma was mortified and refused to speak to me for the first six months we were going out) – I was really drawn to spirituality, but my recent experience had left a really nasty taste in my mouth (seriously, traces of it remain to this day), so to meet somebody so devoted to something that was nothing to do with churches, money or hypocrisy, was a breath of fresh incense. Tim was fascinating (not just cos of the Buddhist thing, mind you). We fell in love.
Fast forward a few years and he gradually fell away from Buddhism, until one day, literally OVERNIGHT – while I was away in Sydney doing a scriptwriting intensive no less – he became a Christian.
I was shocked.
I was sad.
And…I was angry.
Those damn Christians, they’d done it again!
I believe I may have even shook a fist.
To cut a very long story short, our desire to be together somehow over-rode these differences – I should point out here that we do, in fact, share a lot of the same values, even if the ‘religion’ part differs – and we eventually settled into a semi-easy kind of acceptance.
Then when our first-born daughter was six months old, we decided to move to Melbourne for a bit of an adventure. I’d always wanted to live there, so…we did it. It was jawsome – and while there, Tim was very, VERY eager to find a church.
Enter the St Jude’s Estates Church in Lygon Street. Located in a tiny room down the bottom of a housing estate, there were no lights, no stage, no fancy schmancy rock and roll, just a guitar and shakers, drums and sticks for the kids to play at leisure. The preacher’s words were never of the self-help variety (what I came to realise about the other church was how their sermons just seemed to tell you what you wanted to hear, to make you feel good and uplifted, I presumed enough to motivate you to open your wallet), but were indeed very confronting, yet – even when I didn’t agree, I somehow just respected his integrity in telling it the way he saw it. At the end of each service they would put on lunch, upon which anybody, including a number of homeless people who would turn up reliably just post-service, could come and share a meal. They had a volunteer group who would help refugee’s children with their homework and English, because their parents weren’t able to. They NEVER asked for money. They focused instead on putting their beliefs into action by helping people however they could. And so…they restored some of my faith that not all churches were bad.
So…since that time we’ve gone to several different churches, both here and abroad.
I still don’t consider myself a Christian, but I’m willing to go (for the most part, some Sunday mornings I just need to myself) because I know it’s important to my hubby.
The difficulties come when people there either:
a) assume that I’m fully onboard the Christian train too and talk to me as such – I feel like I’m going to disappoint them if I tell them the full truth of the matter; or they
b) find out where I truly stand and decide to invest every effort into bringing me over to their team. And as my hubby puts it, I “don’t like being a project!”
We do have some Christian friends and family who know where I stand and are wonderfully and beautifully cool with it. And the great thing is, I can actually swear in front of them have an open, honest discussion with them about spiritual stuff and it really is all good.
Other notable “issues” on the marriage front though, include:
– feeling like I’m letting hubby down, like he’d be so much better off with a good old Christian girl, who could do all his Bible studies with him, instead of being all stubborn and calling him out on some of the more, let us say, “challenging” aspects of his beliefs;
– battling with hubby for ownership of the radio. While I can dig some Christian music (Steven Curtis-Chapman and Sons of Korah being cases in point) too much Christian radio, like bad pop music with good intentions, sends me to the liquor cabinet;
– feeling very self-conscious when the kids publicly declare something like: “Mum! You don’t believe in Jesus! You said the ‘s’ word!” (Let’s just overlook the fact I swore in public for a moment and focus on the task at hand…ehem)
– feeling generally uncool.
Which I think is what it comes down to in the end. Why, oh why, do I have issues with my husband being truly devoted to what he believes when it’s Christianity, when I was totally down with the whole thing when it was Tibetan Buddhism? Ah yes. Because Buddhism, in our culture at least, seems so much ‘cooler’.
It’s worth noting that Tim could probably write his own thesis on the struggles of living with a comedian when their world is so full of anti-Christian sentiment it is/ain’t funny.
So anyway, I’m done with hiding it away. Or at least, I’m trying to be. Sharing it here is a start. Maybe I’ll bring it onstage sometime. Because really, it is kinda weirdly amusing – that we are destined to a life where we are at constant risk of embarrassing the living shizz out of each other.
The crazy thing is, I feel like this would make a brilliant reality TV series: “The Christian and the Comic”. It’d have laughs. It’d have tears. Certainly bread and wine.
But there is NO WAY ON THIS FREAKING PLANET I would ever do it. Did you hear me? EVER. EVER. EVER.
Pity. I’d love to watch it.