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We sat on the couch, both of us realizing the weight of our words. They weren’t uttered without care, but the fact that they slipped so easily from our tongues confirmed something we’d both been wondering. We sat quietly in the moment of honest confession.
My choice, my movement toward Catholicism, was having an unexpected impact: we were beginning to view our similarities as small and our differences as big. Lines were being drawn, items circled, and lists were made. Dissection of faith wasn’t how we wanted to spend each and every conversation; something needed to change.
Neither one of us anticipated that a conversion to another faith tradition would happen during our marriage, but it was happening. I would move forward and become a Catholic without my husband joining me. We had an option to either own what was taking place between us or we could ignore it and hope for the best. We chose to own our new reality that night, sitting on the couch, quietly resolved to build a bridge over the ever expanding spiritual gap.
It is possible to live in the static of theological differences, but I don’t believe it is best done through hazy coexistence. I believe the static is best lived through acts of love.
I’ll be the first to admit that I’m learning what this looks like, and I fail more often than I succeed.
Love is experienced when we choose to foster beauty in our shared values. We share much, and when we lose sight of what we value it is not because it is no longer there; it is because we have stepped in the way of one another’s view. But Love moves.
When we laugh with one another the gap becomes a little bit smaller; humor is a generous bridge.
When our silence is born out of kindness, and not irritation, we move in unity.
When we step to the side, allowing the other to commune with God in their own way, we point them in the direction of beauty.
When we speak of prayer as practice, not as solution, this fosters respect.
Neither one of us wanted to simply coexist in relationship. Do we sometimes slip into passive coexistence? Yes, yes we do. And when this happens, I breathe deep, discouraged breaths, and I ask Christ for mercy. I find the end of myself, and I reach out in hope. Then, once again, I feel Love move.
What does actively loving people look like in your life? Please join me next Wednesday as the “When Faith Looks Different” series continues. Thanks for reading.