Saturday, November 3, 2012

Do we trivialize tragedy?

Tonight I am missing my parent’s birthday celebration and I’m not even sure it’s by choice. This story begins over two years ago as I started dating my wife-to-be. My family did not approve of my choice; it came down to the minutia of their beliefs. The irony of the situation is that my wife is very similar to my family. Our wedding, just over a year ago, was not attended by my family as a statement. However, the implications were that after the wedding there would be acceptance, not embrace but at least acknowledgement. However, as the holidays and birthdays approached and past, it became evident that we were not accepted or even acknowledged. We were finally invited to Christmas with the family, both extended and immediate. As the festivities passed it became clear that we were there as a token, invited but not interacted with. As a new husband and as a socially conscious individual I was not going to stand silently by as my wife was passed over, glared at and not conversed with. I stood and called attention to this tragedy and afterwards my wife and I excused ourselves. This action instituted multiple series of emails and meetings with family members and myself. At the end of the day we are regarded as the disruptive force, as if calling attention to the atrocity occurring in a Christian home was unprovoked. Recently I was considering taking a position out of town; my mother spoke to me and asked that if I was offered this position that I would speak to my sister (who hasn’t spoken to me or even looked at me in 4-6 months) so things wouldn’t get swept under the rug, “we’re praying the she would hear you” were her final words on the subject. My mother called me today to invite us tonight to the birthday celebration, her words on this occasion were “make sure you are in the right place and you won’t get upset.” Most invites are ended with similar statements. My choices are join my parents and siblings for a meal or have my wife respected? Is this even a choice? How has it become common place to not welcome a Christian bride to a Christian family? How do two siblings not speaking and barely being able to occupy the same room not bring family interactions to a screeching halt until things are resolved? We are a people called to stand for justice and mercy, to long for God’s solution on earth. How is it that we pass over this type of situation with the greatest of ease? This is a tremendous tragedy to all parties! However, if an affected party was encountered on the street, it wouldn’t be mentioned or referenced because it doesn’t register as something important. But what is more important than redemption and restoration?

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