I've been reading Mrs. Dashwood's advice on how to handle insults from family. Her post of Jan 15th offers Elinor's Strategies for Dealing with Relatives. As usual, she offers excellent advice, but I wonder when (if ever) it is appropriate to defend your choices. Mrs. Dashwood?
Of course, when my hubby and I got up enough nerve to tell our families (both sides umpteenth generation Pentecostal/Assemblies of God) that we were becoming Catholic, both sides came a hair away from divorcing and disowning us. And while the smockmomma may be prone to exaggeration, please believe there is none here. For years we tried to explain, but it usually ended in frustration or tears.
The ninth anniversary of our Confirmation will take place this Easter. What we have finally learned is that (to use a good ol' Assemblies phrase) lifestyle evangelization is the best ecumenism. My beloved grandmother, Nonny, always taught me, "You are your neighbor's Bible. You must live your life as if you are the only Bible your neighbor will ever read." It finally dawned on me that I am also my family's Catechism. For years we tried to debunk the myriad anti-Catholic myths (we ourselves had grown up with) for our families by arguing with them. Eventually, we realized that the best way to debunk the myths was to live our lives as faithfully as possible to God and His Church and let our families see for themselves what a load of hooey they'd been fed by anti-Catholic propaganda. For the most part, they've come to respect, if not accept, our Catholicism.
That is not to say that we don't defend our choices when we feel compelled; but after almost nine years, our families realize that, spiritually speaking, we're doing pretty well. As far as they are concerned, our and our children's relationships with Jesus are practically Protestant. High praise that! At any rate, they feel freer to simply ask questions (rather than accuse) if they don't understand something. Their mere curiosity is much easier to handle...and answer.