Authenticity comes with a steep price in my family.
I just found out that my Grand Aunt Ruth passed away.
It happened a week ago today.
I found out by chance while scrolling through Facebook.
I immediately called my grandmother (Aunt Ruth’s little sister), who didn’t answer her cell phone.
I called my mother. She answered.
“Hi. Did you know Aunt Ruth died?” I asked.
“And you didn’t call to tell me? Or mention it when I called you a few days ago?”
“Well, you’re on Facebook.”
I blinked in shock. “Um, Facebook is not generally the place to learn a family member has died. At least, that’s not how I understand family is supposed to work.”
“Well, Beck, you’re doing a lot of things that family members don’t do.”
To be crystal clear, she’s referencing everything I’m writing about here, on Freevangelic.
“Seriously? Are you serious right now?”
“I don’t want to argue with you. I’m at work.”
“Wow. Okay. Enjoy work, I guess.”
She’s the CEO of a medical clinic that provides STD and pregnancy testing and ultrasounds and abortion and adoption counseling. I get that it’s important work – that’s been drilled home to me ever since she helped found the clinic during my high school years – but…but…Aunt Ruth…how do you need to rush to work right now and not talk about this with me?
I’m sharing the price I paid for authenticity today for these reasons:
(1) Those of you who have emailed and texted and called and come up to me at dinner parties and “confessed” to me that you, too, secretly question religion and God and the Bible and church and you’re scared to say it out loud because you don’t want to lose family and friends and relationships…
I get you.
I get you.
I get you.
Fearing authenticity is valid. Embracing authenticity has real repercussions. You’re not crazy to worry about it.
And (2) Rest in peace, Aunt Ruth. You were an awesome aunt to have. I wish I’d spent more time with you and I loved the time I did spend with you. I love you. I’m sorry I missed your funeral. I’d have come – I swear I would have come – if I’d known. I’m really sorry I didn’t. Maybe I should’ve just been quiet about all this if for no other reason than to have been able to be at your funeral and pay you the respect you deserve.
(And – now that I’ve had some time to cry and rant and Hubs has hugged me and all that, it’s important to say this, too: I still love you, Mom.)