My oldest son is sick right now. He spiked a fever a couple of days ago but thankfully is on the mend now.
Confession……in our home, there may be a parent who is a germ-phobe.
It may or may not be me.
Either way, the germ-phobic parent in question has passed on moments of this phobia to our children. I’m sure the germ-phobe would like it if the children had more than just moments of this phobia, especially when the boys are cuddled together around some sort of hand-held electronic item the sick child gets to play. But mostly the phobia comes out in very classic boy-banter.
“Ahhhh! Get away from me! You have germs!!!”
“HEY! Don’t touch me! I have germs!”
“Watch out or else I’ll breathe my germs on you!”
Lovely. Sounds like a perfectly peaceful environment conducive to healing, doesn’t it? During all of this germ-business that has been going on in my home as of late, I have been checking out upcoming writing conferences. I am finally ready to put myself out there in the world and I need some connections in the writing industry if I ever want to get a book published, which I do. Very much.
However, I find myself with a choice to make that I wish didn’t exist. Do I seek to publish and stay within the “Christian” realm, or do I launch into the “secular” world? I have more connections in the “Christian” realm, but personally, that is not where I want to be.
Don’t get me wrong, I know what my beliefs are and I won’t be abandoning them any time soon. My faith and spirituality are a part of who I am and what I write. But does that mean I have to stay sequestered and separate from the rest of the world?
I understand why these two worlds exist. I understand it because I myself have contributed to their existence and segregation. Maybe I still do. I lived most of my life like the “secular” world had germs. I thought it an unsafe world. People who believed differently than me were bad people and I had best stay away from them unless I wanted to catch their disease. No, I liked my safe world where I thought everyone was the same as me.
But now I see things differently. I am not afraid of people with a different belief system than mine. In fact, I am rather energized to be around them. I like to engage with others who are not always sorting people into one of two categories. People who don’t need to evaluate my theology in order to have a conversation with me or say that I am worthy of their time and energy. People, perhaps, like my former self.
And although I no longer look for ways to work my beliefs into a conversation and persuade others to be like me, I do believe in a God who deeply and desperately loves all of the people he has created. Not just the ones I might have previously thought to be “germ-free”. And if I believe in a God who deeply and desperately loves all people, why can’t I? And how can I deeply and desperately love people if I live in a world separated from them? Now, whether or not they love me back and offer me a book contract is another matter entirely. But one thing at a time.
Also, I believe in good hand-washing and generous amounts of antibacterial gel.
No matter if I am the germ-phobe or not.