A Battle of Faith & Love

Love, Life & Religion

Archive for Family

Ready to Explode…

Every few weeks the stress gets to me for a few hours and I feel like I’m going to explode. I have the urge to call my mom and just spill every thing to her, and deal with the consequences and repercussions afterwards. This evening I’m having one of those moments. Doubt and confusion surrounds me and I question whether or not I know what the hell I’m doing.

Interestingly enough, most of the time I have a moment like this, I don’t focus that much on the whole religion aspect. I’m more concerned about the impact that all this will have on my relationship with my parents. I don’t want to disappoint them, but at the same time I realize that I have to live my life for myself and no one else. Not my parents, not Ivan.

I need a vacation….

p.s. Thanks to everyone that commented on my previous posts. I got a wide array of input and suggestions, and although I don’t necessarily agree with everything that people said, it still means a lot that there are people willing to give input on a rather touchy subject while remaining polite and considerate. Please keep the comments coming!

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Back in Academic Action

Classes started last Monday. Tomorrow I have class at 8:30 in the morning. So far it seems to be a decent semester, I’m only taking 12 credits this time around. I’m taking:

Geology 120

State & Local Politics in NJ

Western Political Theory

If anything, the last course will be the toughest, but I only have that once a week and it’s just two exams and a paper.

I added a countdown ticker to my Google start page, and I apparently have 110 days until graduation. Which means that I have like 85 days max to tell my parents. I’ve gotten some really interesting and supportive comments from my “Losing My Religionposts, and I’ve spent the last few days thinking over things, and considering all the possible outcomes.

I’m thinking of talking with my aunt about this situation. She’s my father’s sister, and a non-Muslim. She and I are very close, and her and my father are close as well, even moreso since the passing of my grandmother this past November. She has no children, so I’m the closest thing she has to a daughter, and she’s always there to give me advice and support. I’m thinking that by talking to her I can get some well needed feedback, and she could possibly support my decision when I go to my parents.

Ugh, class bright and early tomorrow!

I installed Windows Vista Business today!!! Wooo hooo!

Losing My Religion? Pt. II

I’ve already received a comment to my most recent post. Let it be known that I welcome all comments, as long as they have something to contribute.

Anyways, the part of the comment that stuck out the most for me was this: “Can you see how this situation is moving further and futher away from Islam?”

I may be being naive, but I think that this whole situation has helped me sort out how I really feel about religion and general, and more specifically, how I feel about Islam. I personally believe that no religion is perfect because they are applied and practiced by man – and humankind in general are not without sin (meaning no one is perfect). There is a lot going on in Islam right now that I do not agree with, and I think that with the ways things are in the global arena, we are more able to see how peope are misusing Islam on a much wider scale.

Anyways, I honestly believe that if I was a true devout “religious” muslim, I wouldn’t have ended up in the situation that I am currently in. In fact, Ivan and I joke about how we wouldn’t be with each other if either of us was very religious. I mean, how many strict Orthodox Jews do you see running off with shiksas?

I hate to say it, but I think one reason that I don’t have the “conviction” that others have is because I never chose to be Muslim. I don’t mean that in a way like “I never chose to be born,” but rather, my parents made a conscious decision to be Muslim. For my siblings and I, Islam was the status quo.

This may or may not make sense, but don’t flame me!

Losing My Religion?

*Warning: The following may upset some readers. Please keep in mind that this is not meant to insult anyone, rather it is a way for me to process my thoughts/doubts/fears/etc.  This will probably end up being a multi-part post.*

Since I started this blog, I’ve been reading more and more blogs that are focused on religion. Some of them are the blogs of disbelievers, but most of them are blogs by Muslim women. You can find a mix of both on my blogroll. I consider all of these blogs though provoking and enlightening, although I may not agree with some of the views, and this goes for both sides of the religious aisle.

Through reading these blogs, I’m impressed and intrigued by the deep conviction that is expressed by the authors – atheists that are staunch in their belief that there is no god, Muslims devoted to opening minds and presenting new ways of thinking, Muslims that find nothing wrong with polygamy – in short, a wide range of views, but all with the same grounding and conviction that they are right. Well not “right” in the negative sense, but “right” in the positive sense.

While I may have more concrete beliefs on other subjects and aspects of life, I have to honestly say that I don’t have the deep religious conviction that I see expressed elsewhere. Religion has always been an interesting topic for me, I’ve worked at a center for interreligious understanding for almost two years (yesterday was my last day). I consider myself very knowledgable not only about Islam, but about Christianity, Judaism, and Buddhism, to name a few.

I was raised Muslim by observant Muslim parents and I have wonderful memories of Eid festivities at the small masjid we were once a part of. We spent evenings during Ramadan reading from the Qur’an, my favorite sura is Al-Bakara [The Cow]. I even went to two different Islamic schools for 3rd and 4th grade.

But through all this, I’ve always felt that I’m Muslim because my parents are Muslim, and because I don’t want to be a Christian or a Jew. I do believe in Allah, but when I see truly devout Muslims at the masjid, I feel like I’m lacking something. Like I’m a half-assed Muslim, which I probably am.

Adding this whole love/Ivan situation in the mix, I’m wondering where I will go from here. I don’t feel the need to be an atheist or denouce Islam, but I know that if I am to marry Ivan, I won’t really be welcome in Muslim circles. Have no doubt, I am aware that what I am doing/will do is considered a sin by many. I have dreams that I’m going to burn in hell because I love this man and because I will disappoint my parents.

There’s a saying that being a mother isn’t for everyone.. I wonder if being religious is like the same thing. I do have inner faith, but I’m pretty sure that I would not pass for “religious.” But does that mean I’m no longer Muslim?

To be continued…

Time to Act?

Just spent about an hour on the phone with my mom, helping her work on her Henna webpage. She had a free site hosted elsewhere, but I promised her twenty times over that I would set up something nice and easy for her to use. So while I orginally called to tell her a funny joke, our conversation turned into her website. I decided to set something up here at WordPress.com for her, it’s pretty easy to use and manage, and very simple, which she likes.

I would put the link up here, but I’m worried that by doing that somehow she would gain knowledge of this blog. I’ll be taking care of most of the management of her blog, and this week she’s going to henna my hands and feet and take pictures to post.

While on the phone with her, I wondered exactly what it was that was keeping me from telling her and my dad about Ivan now. I’ve stated that I’m waiting until the spring to let them know, but I’m wondering why I can’t tell them now.

I originally feared that I would be disowned, so my original plan called for me to tell them when I graduated, when I would no longer be dependent on them. But I’m not financially dependent on them now. Well not counting health insurance, as I’m on my dad’s wonderful federal health insurance plan. When I say it’s wonderful, I mean it’s really wonderful.

Now that my main fear of being disowned has calmed down a bit, I don’t have much to lose by telling my parents now. I don’t live at home (though I visit every week or so) and I have a job. For all intents and purposes, I’m supporting myself. That’s what the federal government and the IRS feel, since I’m an independent student.

While writing this, I’m thinking that if I tell my parents now that may give me some time for tempers to cool, vs. telling right before my graduation, which would put their attendance at my graduation at risk. If I could, I would tell them today, but I’m so afraid of the unknown, and if they do cut me off that would be devastating to me and would probably have a negative effect on my performance during my last semester of college.

So really, I’m paralyzed by fear. But I’m going to give this some thought, and maybe I’ll tell them sooner than I thought. Maybe next week, maybe when/if I get an acceptance letter to law school.

I just hope that after I tell them I can still have hour long phone conversations with my mom.

Meet & Greet

I’ve been wanting Ivan to meet my mother for a while now. I want him to meet both my parents, but think that meeting my mom first would be less intimidating. As I mentioned before, my parents know that he is a good friend of mine, and every now and then when I mention him they say “Oh we want to meet this mystery man.”

Needless to say, Ivan is nervous about meeting my mom. I’ve met most of his family (been to dinner with his brother & his brother’s family), but not yet his parents. His parents know about me though, he tells his mom about me, and I’m sure that his brother has given his input too.

Now that it’s a new year and my time is running out, Ivan’s gonna have to meet Mom. Soon. Ideally it’ll just be a brief meeting so she can see who he is and what he looks like and have proof that he’s not an imaginary friend of mine. She’ll probably tell a funny story and tell him he’s cute and that he should marry me so she can have Russian grandchildren. My mom is funny like that.

The Countdown Begins..

So I figure that I have less than four months to sit down with my parents and discuss all of this. Hopefully I’ll get up the nerve and strength (and have everything figured out) by the time April rolls around. I want to tell them before my graduation so that they will have some time to react, etc. Hopefully they will still come to my graduation.

I’m thinking that the reaction by my mother will be a lot calmer than my dad. She knows that Ivan is a good friend of mine, and she always jokes with me that I should marry him, “he doesn’t have to be religious.” I wonder how loosely I can interpret that statement!

Things with my dad will no doubt be more difficult, but I’m starting to feel that he wont disown me. He’ll be super pissed and our relationship will definitely change, but I’m hoping that if things don’t go well that eventually he’ll calm down and participate in my life. I think most likely reaction is “You know this is wrong, you will become an apostate if he does not convert, etc etc etc.” Hopefully he wont forget how much I’ve accomplished and how hard I’ve worked over the past few years and how I’ve always tried to make both him and my mother proud.

Is that too much to ask?