Sunday, February 8, 2009

The road to hell

I grew up in a religious house. We attended a mainstream Methodist church weekly. My parents strove to instill in my sister and me a strong sense of morality. While I eventually rejected their religious teachings, it would be silly to deny that the sense of moral obligation remained with me. You do not do something 52 times a week for 18 years without absorbing at least some of it. Yet, aphorisms like “the road to hell is paved with good intention” are more likely to spring to my mind than the apt Bible verse

Both my sister and my therapist, students of Buddhism, talked to me about intentionality in relationship to my abortion. While the strongly individualistic protestant influence of my childhood makes me focus on the consequences of my choices, Buddhism and much Asian philosophy emphasizes on the motivation behind decisions.

In one of those odd confluences of life, my son selected the Veggie Tales Jonah movie this week at the library. As I skimmed the back of the case, for anything scary, or frankly too overtly Christian, I laughed at the description of the story, in which Jonah apparently learns “that everyone get a second chance.” No vengenful O.T. God here, plunging Jonah into the belly of a whale in a fit of pique because Jonah disobeyed, just a cleaned up version of the story for the kiddies. However, my four year old was not fooled. He took from the movie not the idea of redemption, but only the scary story of a person stuck in a whale, that he announced he is never watching again.

I wish Buddhist made kids videos. In the meantime I am trying to let go of some of my Protestant inspired feelings of guilt, not that I had an abortion, but that I got pregnant in the first place, and focus on my intentions.

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