Date: February 08, 2019 01:42PM
I was hard at it during my weekly physical therapy appointment this morning and we were chatting as I did the repetitions that are somewhat boring, but quite necessary. He lights up when he talks about visiting grands and seeing various sights in their area. He is an uber TBM, but is well aware of where I am in life. He attempts to be supportive and understanding of that, which I appreciate. He told me about a brewery they toured (I found that odd, which amused him, and he said they also make a lot of sodas - that part was what interested them), a great place for amazing custard, and then he mentioned a monastery. He said he knew I'd probably want to pass on it, though - I disabused him of that notion immediately. He described it and it sounds fascinating - enough so that we will put it on our itenerary for the next time we're in that area (we also have grands near there). The monks sound interesting, the architecture sounds compelling, and the view from the top sounds like it is stunning. I can't wait. And then, I wondered...
...where is the line?
We've discussed this before, but it's on my mind today. Those who know me know I'm a hardcore atheist - anti-theist, actually. Once my shelf collapsed I instantly became passionate about taking on religion and attempting to undermine the LDS church in subtle and overt ways every chance possible. I loathe religion. And yet, there are things connected to religion I don't feel the need to leave behind or blatantly reject. We will tour this monastery, if possible. I find beauty in many religious structures, and, more than anything, I miss the music.
I played the organ much of my life, in various wards, and I miss the physical act of playing the organ (especially the last one - I spent 18 years on that thing). I miss it so much. It's almost a physical pain. I miss playing the hymns - I had our ward trained to sing the hymns properly, although it took years to get them to that point. Visitors were amazed to hear this little ward in this tiny little hamlet in the hills sing like a divinely inspired choir. You could always tell the visitors because they would sing through where we had taught the congregation to pause just a bit, for emphasis. They sounded incredible. I miss many of the hymns - the words are appalling to me now and I hate that I didn't realize what I was promoting all those years. But some of the hymns are gorgeous. They're swiped from other religions, I know, but, as a Mormon, they were as familiar to me as the back of my own hand, especially because I played them thousands and thousands of times. I miss playing for truly amazing singers performing some of the most beautiful music - O Divine Redeemer, The Lord's Prayer, Ave Maria (less often, because it's not technically a Mormon classic), and many others. The singers I played for did such an amazing job the hair would go up on MY arms, and I was the one playing for them! I miss all that. I had a network of music people, so I was always able to branch out and play for many situations outside the church as well - community musicals, high school musicals, bands, orchestras, and so forth. All that is gone and I can't gain any traction where we live now.
O.K., so I'm not playing any more and I miss it all intensely. But, that's not only what is difficult. Where are the secular Christmas songs for people like us? I enjoy some of the usual Christmas music, but it almost always lapses into the religious bent, which I can't stand now. It is painful to hear, now, what I took for granted for so many years. I miss hearing (and performing) concerts in amazing places, like tabernacles and such. Now I don't play or go, but I miss the amazing acoustics and general feeling of being there. (BTW, I had a proud moment a bit ago - a 10-yeard-old granddaughter was participating in a school program, did very well, and then, as everyone stood to sing Silent Night, had to sit down and hide within her class somewhat because she didn't know the words - her parents won't teach her religious songs of any kind. I loved it.)
My physical therapist assumed, as so many do (and probably rightly so) that I would never be interested in seeing something like a monastery, or a very old church, or similar situations, but I am. But, should I be? Where is the proverbial line? It's different for everyone, but I wonder how everyone else handles this. I reject, utterly and completely, anything to do with religion - when I left the church and all religion behind I purged our house of anything and everything that had anything to do with that life. Books, hymnals, study materials, posters, even my old banner from Primary that had badges on it from memorizing scriptures and stitching I did, poorly, that outlined a religious phrase (anyone remember THAT??) - all of it went in the trash. My g's went and I actually stood in my kitchen and watched the trash truck lift the bin and dump it into the big storage area, where they would be smashed, left at the dump, and plowed under so the ever-present birds and bugs wouldn't find them. It was an amazing and freeing feeling.
And yet...I miss the music, I'll tour a monastery, I'll enjoy the architecture of an ancient religious building. It doesn't make a lot of sense to me. I'm sorting it out and, like I said, it's different for everyone. There's no right answer. But, I wonder where the line is for all of you. It's a somewhat peculiar netherworld I exist in where some things are rejected outright, sometimes angrily, but other things are embraced. It confuses me. I don't spend a lot of time hashing it out in my mind - I just live as I feel the need to and take each situation on its own merits, but I wonder how solid the line is for all of you. Does it move? Is it hard and fast? Do you have a line at all? It's a curious world in which we live - the choices and situations we find ourselves in can create some thought-provoking discussions.
Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 02/08/2019 01:45PM by Cathy.