Kistaro Windrider, Reptillian Situation Assessor (kistaro) wrote,
Kistaro Windrider, Reptillian Situation Assessor


So instead of work today, I biked to the morale event at Vasa Park; I'm now halfway back, chilling out (literally, I'm mostly enjoying the AC and plenty of water) at the Starbucks at Crossroads Mall, having just visited the Half Price Books. I've got no intention of going back to the office; I left the picnic early (after eating, before getting drafted into any of the various games), it won't end for an hour yet, and in any case, my last day of tasks for the milestone was "3-day weekend". (I'd booked two of those, and only got around to using one. It's a massive stress relieve to just know I can take a day off if I get too fed up with everything, y'know?)

Biking to Vasa Park was interesting mostly because it showed me that West Lake Sammamish Parkway is pretty mediocre for bikeability (the wide shoulder is pretty good, but it's got debris and random obstacles that required a brief merge with traffic), and Northup Way just plain sucks. (It's got sidewalks- until it doesn't, but at least it has a shoulder- until it doesn't. None of these are smooth, and the blind downhill curves are terrifying.) So I took a different path back, which mostly served to show that the water I'd brought pack from the picnic wasn't nearly enough and I needed to smuggle at least four more bottles, and the "hills" in Lake Hills are not in name only. Hence, the break.

It's good exercise, though. It also highlights to me that I really can handle moderate-length hill biking (complaining and sweating all the way) as long as I'm in no real hurry, and I need to dedicate more time to just biking around. The local area is pretty in a Pacific Northwest treeful kind of way, but in a commercial sense, it's just suburbs from here to downtown Bellvue and I haven't missed much.

As part of my birthday gifts, my relatives purchased me a giftcard to Half Price Books, tucked inside a (poorly-bound, but interesting) cookbook they bought from there. I took the opportunity to spend it today, while I was here; my backpack's a little crowded, but I'll figure it out. I bought two books, plus software.

Which I probably shouldn't give my relatives details of. I know they'll ask, though. They'd object (slightly) to the video game, but be mollified by my also buying actual books; I have no idea how they'd react to discovering that both of the books are on Buddhism. Remember, my family still thinks I'm Christian, although I haven't actually privately held that faith for over a decade now. I'm wondering if I shouldn't take an opportunity soon to be more honest about my spiritual beliefs. It's an ironically convenient thing; it's something that would have been an absolutely bad idea when my religious identity was neo-Pagan, but now that I label myself as Buddhist (with surprisingly few actual changes of opinion along the way), it's a lot safer. I know my (largely atheistic) father's side of the family wouldn't have any trouble with it; actually, I'm pretty sure one of my slightly more distant relatives on that side converted to Buddhism five-ish years ago, and it was a "huh, interesting" and then completely ignored. I can confidently expect identical treatment.

My mother's side of the family, though, is sincerely Christian. Not the loud intolerant Evangelical sort- actually, opinions have shifted enough that I'm almost okay with them being aware of my sexuality (with my grandfather dead, that should already be okay on my father's side)- but the sincere quietly faithful sort who focus on Jesus' message of love as their primary guidance. Which is part of why that tiny church in Indiana keeps cycling through pastors; they keep getting ousted when they offend this small congregation of opinionated little old ladies. Two of them went out with anti-gay messages, intolerance for Muslims kicked out a third, and a very unfortunate sermon on adultery, of all topics, claimed another. To be fair to- Bill, I think it was- he had little way of knowing that his statements that a woman who is cheated on by her husband is partially complicit in the sin would strike a nerve, since he didn't know the history behind Pastor Tom getting kicked out 18 years ago because he was cheating on his wife. (These are definitions of "kicked out" involving "run out of town".) His wife has since become the actual most influential figure in that church, and the disrespect to her was all it took...

But I've drifted from the topic. I honestly have no idea how well they'd accept Buddhism. Or how my mother would, for that matter; I think she's been under the assumption I've been basically agnostic for years, or tending towards the casual atheism of my father, who would, after establishing I haven't been taken in by the Buddhist equivalent of an evangelical nutball or Scientology-esque cult, be curious and quietly amused. I guess my mother's the wild-card here, because religion has always been a marginally awkward subject.

I don't know what the right thing to do is. I don't know how much it would hurt my family for them to know of (some portion of) my current belief system. How much pain would it cause them around their terrified concern for my now-condemned eternal soul? They love me and I know they wouldn't disown me over this, but that same concern brings pain if they believe me to be damned, under the sway of a false religion. At the same time, it at least brings honesty, which is, in any sense, a right action, and removes this wedge of a falsehood by omission driving us apart.

Y'know, maybe I should actually start reading these books instead of contemplating my personal social context around them. I'd be less than surprised if at least one of them contains some perspective on exactly this subject, to which I of course retain my right to disagree.

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Tags: books, buddhism, faith, family, religion, spirituality

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