sticky subjects…”God, Football and Politics”
I grew up in Brazil in a time that soccer was almost more important than God. We would argue about soccer, be passionate about it, go to filled stadium games, cry over losses, dance over wins.
On the big national games the country would stop to watch it. When I say the country would stop to watch it, I am referring to banks, public offices, schools, public transportation, shopping malls and everything that you could possibly imagine, would close to watch a football match. Forget about giving birth at that time.
Brazil was a very different country than we know today. It’s an unstable economy, politics was a very hot subject since we were under dictatorship (not hard core as some of the South America countries). In my high school years all we thought and spoke about was how to bring democracy back. One of our greatest past times was to meet at the corner “boteco”, a mixture of cafe-bakery- bar filled with drunks, young and old, poor and rich mingling together. It was a place to eat but also to talk about anything, everything, but mostly politics and obviously soccer. In the end we would never change someone’s else opinion. It was all energy to be dispensed, a need to defend our irrationality and passions.
Once, while I was still a teenager, someone taught me that soccer, politics and religion shouldn’t be discussed considering how passionate and emotional I could get about my views. Most Brazilians are very passionate about “everything”…
At times, I miss those days. I no longer care for soccer as I did once upon a time; I now love American football. I still hold in my heart a space for those great Brazilian national games, especially if it is the World Cup.
When I first learned about American football I felt the desire to pick a team to root for. I wasn’t born in New York nor New Jersey so I picked the Patriots for no apparent reason. I liked the demeanor of the coach and the class of the team. I didn’t know that my pick would eventually cause me so much trouble. It may be helpful to interject that the Patriots are a team from Boston, Massachusetts. I live in the New York/New jersey area and the Patriots are the number one rival of the local teams, therefore I picked the wrong team to root for…or did I?
When I talk with friends or acquaintances about the Patriots or American politics “I am a republican” wow… what a cause to spark emotional, irrational anger towards me. It is almost cute.
The other subject is faith. I am not afraid to express my faith despite knowing full well that it can be a sticky subject in which people can become sensitive towards. I am no longer that stubborn, inflexible, irrational teenager. Well…my children wouldn’t agree with that statement. I did travel different paths along my journey in this earth and it gave me great insight and understanding.
I was born catholic (my family wasn’t much of mass goers and in truth I didn’t know much of Christianity), years later as an adult I converted to Judaism. In my teenage years I gave up God and embraced the evolution theory that I was a descendant of a monkey. That didn’t last long though. I never bought into this monkey thing.
Once in America I fell in love with eastern philosophies, worshiped yogi god’s, did the California thing, peace, love and no much rock roll because I was born a bit too late for the rock and roll despite my love for Bruce Springsteen. Oh, by the way no pot smoking either since I tried once back in Brazil and got so sick that I vowed never to touch that crazy stuff.
I learned my lessons way back in the boteco’s of Brazil, that it is ludicrous and a waste of energy to impose our opinions on others; however one should always take advantage of a country in which freedom of speech still is protected (is it?), with that said I will write about faith.
In my humbly opinion faith is not something that can be proven. It is not a tangible thing. It is more of “gut feeling”. It is more of a personal discovery, personal experience, personal revelation, personal aha moment. Each person needs to find the truth for themselves. If they so desire.
I do have faith and just like bread that needs to rest and rise before baking it, so was my journey into what I now believe. I did study Judaism, converted and love Israel dearly, did my yogi thing for several years, worshiped cows, oceans and all earthly things, nevertheless I eventually took the time to learn about Jesus and his teachings. How can I ever explain what Jesus did to my heart? It is impossible. It was not love at first sigh but more like a friendship that grow into trust and love.
I do love and respect Jesus position in History and for better or worst He is one of the most well know figures in History with the most amazing teachings. I am not ashamed of it nor my faith frees me from trials, turbulence and failures, neither makes me holy and pure. I fail miserably many times and I can be harder on myself than God could ever be.
I will however agree with whoever taught me to not argue about politics, religion and soccer. It is a very polarizing subject and deceives the point. What is the point? Respect, love and acceptance.
There is a famous verse in the bible that says: “Love covers a multitude of sins”. If it is a sin to root for the Patriots at least love should cover my sin and my fellow friend should have mercy on me.
My 18 years old and I have completely different opinions about many subjects and the most heart breaking reality as a mother is when I recognize that I have been exactly in his position not too long ago. Somehow life and experience changed me into thinking totally different today. In no shape or form I can change his opinion, and we sure disagree about many subjects. It is almost as if he needs to walk that path for himself without my interference with no guarantees he will ever think how I do today.
Thanks to motherhood I got to understand that we all have a path to walk with different experiences and some of us seek God in a personal way and some don’t. Some of us have a relationship with Him and some don’t. Some of us are Patriots and some aren’t but that doesn’t make me or you better or worst.
There are days that I use Jesus as a crutch or as a savior that should, could, and most likely will come down to save me from my troubles or messes, yet for the most part He is a friend that I talk to.
I much prefer believing that I am a child of a great God that created heavens and earth, open oceans, transformed water into wine other than believe I came from some evolution stuff, but then again it is my journey and just like my grandma advised my mother to not try to stop me from flying into the world when I was barely 21 years old, so should I let not only my teenagers children fly into this world but each one of us to walk it’s own journey of discovery and self reflection.
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