How do I sum up the past eleven years of our relationship history? I've been trying to decide the best direction to take in telling our story. Sharing it in such a way you will truly understand the very unique and special dynamic of our Atheist/Christian marriage. I suppose a good start would be to share how and why we chose to be an Atheist and a Christ follower.
I am a realist. I am analytic, sometimes to a fault. I am very spiritual. I knew even as a child of 5 years old there was a God who loved me. Not because the bible told me so....because I didn't even know what the bible said at that age. I knew out of the pure existence of this absolute that was hidden deep in my little spirit. Those who know me well (regardless of religious or non-religious association) would say this is because I am so in touch with the spiritual realm. Perhaps, but it was deeper than that. I could feel His love and security, even when very bad things happened to me. I know how the Atheist or Agnostic might rationalize this....they might say it was the workings of the human mind to cope with difficulties or loneliness. I actually do believe our minds are capable of disassociation and such when trauma, fear, and/or pain is inflicted. This is a medical and scientific fact; however, there is no science that can convince me love is simply a chemical or biological induced emotion. Love, not to be confused with infatuation or even fascination, but love, as in a person who would willingly lay his or her own life down for a friend. A decision to do so for whatever circumstance is not made on pure emotion, but from the depths of the heart. It surpasses all understanding. It is selfless. It is tangible.
This love was confirmed to me when I was 10 years old. It was late Spring of 1980. Mom began taking me to church. I was extremely shy and I didn't want to go to the children's Sunday school. I sat in the cold aluminum fold out chair trying to hide my legs beneath it because I was the only ten year old with dark hair growing on her legs. Why wouldn't mom just teach me to shave?! My heart's attention was quickly shifted away from my hairy logs when the Sunday school teacher began telling us about the love Jesus had for us. How He came to earth not to condemn us, but to save us. Save us from our sin for which we were born into. Sin that separated us from God. How there was nothing I or anyone could physically do to earn salvation from sin. How God gave his only Son as a sacrifice to take the punishment for my current and future sins. The kicker for me was when the teacher explained that Jesus wasn't forced to be a sacrifice, but that He made the choice to be. I believed and I gave my heart to Him....I accepted His gift of life. Thank you mom for taking me to church (even with hairy legs), and allowing the message of hope to be shared with me. It is because of you I know my precious Lord.
He is logical. He is a problem solver. He is meticulous in his work. He is a software engineer/administrator. He taught himself computer programming on a Unix platform when he was in Junior High. He's a nerd for Heaven's sake! He's a cool nerd, but don't tell him because I don't want it to go to his head ;) He is patient and, very rarely makes a decision on a whim. He is completely loyal and has an amazing integrity. I often wonder how his big heart can fit in his small frame.
He and his little sister were raised Catholic by two AMAZING parents. They are two of the most giving and loving people I know. (I'll share more about these two precious people in a future blog)
In his Catholic school he enjoyed rolling candies down the floor between the rows of desks to annoy the teacher. He didn't pay attention to the bible lessons and to this day he has no real knowledge of what is written in the bible. One day, his sister's classmate who sat behind her tried to light her hair on fire. When Sister realized she was being turned into a burning candlestick she stood up and began cussing out that little snot nosed Pyro! (Ok, I don't know if he had snots, but it sure sounded good) Well, Sister ended up getting in big trouble with the school for cussing out the fire-starter. I suppose the clergy person felt she sinned in her anger, and that was reason enough to punish her. This really angered her big brother. He had already seen the major faults and hypocrisy in the Catholic church for which he tried to tolerate, but when his little sister was not shown the grace and protection they preached he turned away from God, the Church, and all organized religion. From that point on, he decided to hold fast to his commitment.
"Free will, though it makes evil possible, is also the only thing that makes possible any love or goodness or joy worth having." ~ C.S. Lewis