Monday, September 16, 2013

There are many paths to the top of the Mountain

There is a parable about a man who crossed a wide river in a canoe. When he arrived at the other side of the river, and set out to continue the remainder of his journey on land, rather than continuing to carry it on his shoulders up and down mountains and canyons, he left the canoe at the water’s edge  He left it because it had served its purpose for the portion of his journey for which it was useful.

There are over 7 billion people in this world, it is unlikely we're all going to see things the same way, it's unlikely we're going to travel the same path up the mountain.  But I think that's okay, because I believe that there is strength and value in a diversity of perspectives.  Rust and I have lived in a lot of different places, among a lot of unique cultures and religions.  As we've met people who are different than us and who have a different set of morals or values than we do, we have gained helpful insights and have come to a broader, deeper, fuller understanding about life than we could have on our own.

I didn't support marriage equality until I met a gay person and could see and feel the love she had for her partner.  I spoke poorly of illegal immigrants until I met a mom, who so much like myself, wants the best for her children.  I mocked democrats until I realized that they were voting their consciences as much as I was.  In short, I hurt people because I didn't know them, and I didn't take the time to know them or understand them, I just assumed they were wrong because they were taking a different path up the mountain.


I am a better person for knowing so many of you.

But we will never have unity, we will never have peace, we will never become one, if we all just close our minds, cover our ears, and remain cloistered within our separate schools of thought, zealously advocating for the supremacy of our own at the expense of all others.

And I've felt that expense.  I wrote earlier this year about how Rustin and I took our children and left our canoes at the side of the river.  We looked at the landscape around us and it seems more fitting to leave it at the water's edge as we continue our journey.  It is a different path than so many of our friends and family are on, but we know it is right and we have never been more happy.  The most that any just, merciful, and loving God can expect from us is to live in accordance with what we believe is right and true as best as we’ve been able to figure that out. We are doing that, and we have a peaceful conscience. My heart and mind are not troubled about where we are today.

People think I lost my faith when I left Mormonism. I feel I found it. I have faith that I can make things happen in my life. That my destiny lies within me.  I'm confident in my ability to use my judgment to choose good over evil and make 'moral' decisions in my life without an organization or person trying to tell me what that is.   I have faith that people (and especially my children) can be good, honest, true, generous and loving much more easily and readily without fear-mongering, and hope of a greater reward.  I have faith people can still make good choices when they are freely given all choices.  I believe in the higher power of love.  The power of humans to 'do good' for each other. 

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4 comments:

Beth said...

I'm a Christian pastor who, of course, values my faith. That said, I am also quite aware of the fact--and yes, it is a FACT--that it ain't just Christians who manage to rear children who have high moral standards, care for others in their time of need, and live just & honest lives. I would argue that anyone who claims that their faith--regardless of where they align themselves--is the only source by which that can be accomplished is (1) completely self-centered, (2) unrighteously self-righteous (how's that for a turn of phrase), and (3) blind to the reality of the world that surrounds us.

Carrie Aragon said...

That was beautiful, Brittany.

Kate said...

Well, shoot. This post has me in tears. It has been valuable to me to have you as a friend as we have both moved past religion, leaving our canoes at the side of the river. Yes, it is hurtful to be misunderstood, it is painful to experience disapproval, but the peace I have gained in following my conscience is worth it. You and Rust are awesome people, raising awesome little people. I'm proud to know you!!

Candace said...

Thanks for this post! It was beautiful!

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