"History repeats itself, first as tragedy, second as farce." ~ Karl Marx
Amongst the many guidelines I live my life by is that I respect the way others choose to practice their religion. I may not agree with the way others practice their religion, but I will not tell someone it is wrong, nor will I push them to practice their religion in a particular manner. In return, I expect the same courtesy.
A long time ago, I receive a lot of pressure to practice my religion in a manner that I did not feel fit where I wanted to take my spiritual journey at the time. However, despite trying to explain this to others, I received a lot of pressure to change. As a result, I ran the opposite direction and became even more disconnected from my religion -- and some people in my life that were otherwise near and dear to me.
The journey through this situation was long, and I learned a lot from it. Through it all, in my inner-most soul, I still continued to desire a connection to my religion. So, when the time was right, I began venturing back into the world I had ran so quickly from all those years before.
Someone I know, and call a friend, consistently tries to get me to practice our religion (we both have the same religion) on a more observant level. Most of the time I kindly refuse and go about my day. However, this person has been pushing me more and more on this matter and recently "lectured" me on the fact that I admittedly oppose trying to observe this upcoming Pesach on a strict observance level, but yet I talk about giving something up for Lent. (I believe they did this out of frustration that what I "gave up for Lent" this year came about because of them, however that involves another matter that they don't respect my wishes on either and is unrelated to the point of this post.) Whatever the source of their frustration with me is, the fact remains that they do not respect my decision to not practice religion on the same as they do.
In past weeks, all this has been upsetting me. I've had an adverse reaction to all of it. Thankfully, not as adverse as I did the first time. I am not running for the hills in a completely different direction like I once did. Instead, I've consistently communicated my position on the matter in the a clear, firm and concise way without being disrespectful. (To make sure this is the case, I've shown some of my communication to another friend for feedback.)
I'm not sure if this repeat of history is coming to an end with the last communication regarding Pesach -- I sure hope so! Either way, I stand strong on one promise to myself (and myself alone) . . . I promise that I will allow the actions of another derail my connection to my religion as I did in the past.
This is one time, for sure, that I will not let history repeat itself completely.