Sunday, September 5, 2010

singing at family dinner

We went to family dinner this past Sunday. It's usually a fairly large affair; I come from a big family a good number of whom live close by, and a lot of tradition is embedded in this weekly meal . One of those traditions is singing a hymn as a prelude to the blessing of the food. We all stand in a circle around the table holding hands and sing. EVERYONE knows the hymns, all of us deeply steeped in our family's religious tradition from our earliest years, even if we choose to leave that tradition later on,.

I know these songs by heart. My husband knows these songs by heart.
My son, however, not being raised in the church, does not know these songs.

This Sunday, in particular, it caused a little hitch in my heart as I watched him try to play along during the singing... try to catch the tune and the lyrics that everyone else (including the other children his age) knew. Trying to fit in, to not let on that he was an outsider to this tradition... Yes, I may be over-analyzing it, or projecting my own fears and insecurities. But the fact does remain; my actions make an outsider of my son.

I thought of this again as I read Jessawhy's recent post about changing the words of the hymns. I used to do something very similar when my son was younger. I would change the words to A Child's Prayer and sing "Heavenly Mother, are you really there?..." as he was going to sleep. But even then, I had similar conflicting feelings about making my son an outsider; what would happen when, in primary, they sang that song, and he sang it "wrong"? (And wrong in a fairly provocative way, imho).

And so...

Well... We're figuring it out, bit by bit. Finding ways of being with family that doesn't accentuate the differences, participating in communities where religious traditions aren't part of being included, and strengthening our own little family unit (gonna head out in a few minutes for lunch together, just lover, son, and I).

Btw, random, but have you read this post about the Gay post-LDS guy who is trying to get along w/ his Devout LDS fam, and having it all blow up over a cup of coffee? It's a pretty good post.