A Tale of Many Paradoxes

Things have continued to progress this week as I sort through the many artifacts and memoirs found in my in-law’s home. Also continuing are the a-ha moments and the reminders of my mother-in-law’s many passions.

…and the paradox of contradiction so many of her passions hold.

It fascinates me that a woman who is so passionate about the right to life movement is also very anti-government regulation when it came to seatbelt laws. Even late into her seventies she would sit across the street from the local Planned Parenthood office with her right to life poster. She sent letters to every Catholic congressman scolding them for their Democrat views on abortion. And yet, a couple of days ago when I took her back to her house to pack a few more things, she gave me that look of disgust when I reached for the seatbelt to buckle her in.

It fascinates me that someone who was such an avid co-producer and preserver (with my f-i-l) of locally grown food was quite the cheerleader for the proposed nuclear waste dump site near our community. (Thank God we were deprived of that one.)

It’s both a fascinating and fortunate-for-me paradox that this beautiful lady who carried no less than eight babies, delivered six live births, and saw five of the most handsome men on the planet into adulthood is very outspoken against anything that resembles sex education in the schools.

And the one that strikes me as most ironic and yet which links us in so many ways…..

This amazingly passionate woman so fiercely believed in maintaining all of the traditional Catholic ways. She wrote letters to priests and bishops. She stood up strongly and with great conviction in the face of people who weren’t very nice to her, and eventually walked away from her church home because it didn’t seem right to continue participating in something that didn’t align with her conscience.

Then a few years later, she acquired me into her family: Staunch Church of Christ and anti-Catholic, right-to-lifer who prefers women have freedom of choice (no legislating morality for me), total seat belt advocate (hey, it’s a safety issue, not a morality issue), health educator who participated in teaching the sex ed classes at school, grateful user of non-hormone birth control methods (yes, I really did use something–if I hadn’t, there might be 15 instead of just four!), and the real kicker……

A daughter-in-law who ultimately left “The Church” because of it’s refusal to change at a rate with which I was comfortable. Or maybe it was because I changed and the church couldn’t, wouldn’t, or wasn’t supposed to keep up with me. Either way, it seems sort of funny that both of us walked away from a church, yet for reasons that are so polar opposite .

So many conversations have gone unspoken or unheard (if they were spoken) because it has always been easier to ignore the differences than to engage in a passionate hurtful debate. We have instead simply chosen to love (or sometimes tolerate) one another. Our common link is a gorgeous hunk of a man whom she birthed, I caught, and we both adore.

And for the record, I was, of course, ALWAYS right. ;-)

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