Saturday, September 01, 2007

Why She's Worth It, A Few Reasons Why I Hope She Says 'Yes'

Given my willingness to make the sacrifices necessary to overcome a prior impasse, I left her a voice mail asking if we could get back together. It took me a few months to reach these conclusions and so I expect it'll take her at least a few days to reach her own. This is a major cross-roads in life, and I'm simultaneously excited about our potential future together and outright scared she'll say "no." While it's useful to document the thought process that has lead to these conclusions it also serves as a list for why I hope she says "yes." Bottom line is that I'm not asking her to marry me, I'm just saying that I'd like to keep dating without a deadline or a restricted potential.

Here goes, in no particular order and non-inclusive:

Why She's Worth it,
A Few Reasons Why I Hope She Says 'Yes'

Several of my life hero's would make this decision. If Warren had been Jewish, knowing that Susie was the love of his life, I bet that he'd have converted. (What would Warren Do?)

I'm finally thinking about what I want and how I can achieve it rather than how I can make other people happy.

Maybe it's naive, but I believe love can prevail. If we're madly in love 30+ years from now, it's extremely unlikely that either of us will have regretted our decisions. (Not to say I won't experience occasional pings of nostalgia or sadness.)

When we broke up, this would have been a decision I had made for her. Given my clarifying thoughts over the last few months, this decision is just as much for her, as it is for me. I don't feel any bitterness or anger directed towards her and I'm certainly not having the Sex in the City moment where I'd want to yell "I gave-up Jesus for you," except in reverse.

I believe in raising good children in a moral family. This isn't limited to Judaism.

Despite my hesitancy to raise a non-Jewish family, I actually like Christianity. It's been a great moralizing force for civilization. Jewish people could learn a lot about being nicer to their neighbors. We got a little lost in self-preservation and money making. That's one trait I seem to have down fine and I don't think I'll have trouble passing it, and hopefully not the proceeds, onto my own children.

I want to marry a woman committed to teaching values of responsibility, love and kindness.

I have very fond memories of going to the Easter Sermon with her. I really liked the lessons that were taught that day and I feel that my kids could really benefit from hearing the same things:

A.) Charity
B.) Most the noise in life comes from the shallow end
C.) Love thy neighbor
D.) We don't live in a perfect world, but it doesn't mean we should hold ourselves to lower standards

I can't remember the last time I went to Synagogue and months later still remembered key highlights.

She knelt before praying. I'd want my kids to see that type of respect and devotion to a higher spirit.

I can say the Prayers, but I don't understand the words. How can I pass a religion to my own kids if I don't understand the words? I don't really speak a word of Hebrew. I mix up all the stories. I don't want to be more Jewish, and I'm not making the time to learn.

On Friday nights, I "bench" after the meal with my family singing Hebrew songs I don't really understand. I like the tunes, the family connection, and the amazing foods but the words are, yet again, lost on me. Are these tunes effectively any different than saying grace in English? The main connections I have are through cultural observances and reading the text, in English, on a weekly basis. Of which, I have two additional thoughts:

A.) I'd like to read both the old and new testament with my own kids. My decision doesn't really effect this.

B.) I'm sad that I'd lose my Jewish cultural experiences, but I'll also gain new Christian ones. The morning excitement of Christmas sounds amazing as I can see myself smiling over at Her while our kids open up gifts under the tree.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Wow, dude. That's a huge step.

Query whether marrying a non-Jewish person necessarily means that you will forgo the Jewish holidays and traditions. What would prevent you each from sharing both religions with the children.

I've always thought that it was unfair to impose a religion on a child, anyway. Instead raise them in both. And then, when you feel the child is responsible enough, let the child then choose what he or she feels is correct.

We believe that our kids have to be a certain age before they engage in consensual sex, marriage, or even drinking. Yet, we'll let them determine their worldview and religion as babies -- or sometimes impose it upon them without any choice whatsoever.

(For the Christian ethic, I've always thought that that choice, the Timshel, was the most crucial part of the religion.)

And who knows, perhaps being "alone" in sharing your religion with each other will not only make you stronger in probing your own religious convictions, but also make the pairing and relationship all the better:

"Once the realization is accepted that even between the closest human beings infinite distances continue, a wonderful living side by side can grow, if they succeed in loving the distance between them which makes it possible for each to see the other whole against the sky. "

-- Rainer Marie Rilke