interesting conversations, part II

30 juillet

That was Sunday afternoon. Today (Tuesday) in the office, I chatted with Alain (the ~45 yr old accountant who is my pal because he shares his cheese with me and teaches me little bits of French grammar etc.) and Margot about the economic crisis and money laundering, what they thought of François Hollande (why the public doesn’t like him very much… M said that she shook his hand at a parade of some sort and it was basically like holding a dead fish XD, therefore he has absolutely no presidential stature/character lol), and finally also what they thought about manif pour tous (which is the movement against mariage pour tous). I was very proud of my ability to partake in such a conversation, thanks to the vocabulary I gained from FRE215 ;D, even though to ‘chat’ about anything mostly still means listening very carefully and asking lots of short questions. In short, I was again impressed by the flat rejection of the christian ideal of marriage/family, and by the shared belief among my coworkers that good/happy/healthy families just don’t exist—to prove this point, Al shared an anecdote about some sort of political proponent of the sainte famille who supposedly had a model family, until the papers revealed the scandalous fact that one of his sons had been continuously violated by his older brother…

I don’t really know what to say to things like that, or how to express that I have great faith in marriage as something beautiful that God created for us so that we could really learn how to love in relationship with Him and with each other. That it’s about way more than a contract (I asked about the difference between marriage and PACS—which is the not-really-marriage version of a marriage contract for gay couples currently accepted in France, and it was interesting to hear marriage described as 3-4 agreements and nothing more). My view of marriage in general may be more optimistic and tinted by the fact that I am blessed enough to come from a happy family and to have a mother whose calling is marriage counseling, but I’m still pretty taken aback by the stark contrast between my colleagues’ views on marriage and religion and what I perceive to be the attitude of most of my American friends (‘religious’ or not). I also recently met a Belgian mezzo-soprano who declared that she refuses to have children because she believes that there is no (better) future. That basically the world is doomed to this cycle of evil and destruction, and to bring children into the world would just be adding to the suffering. It’s a pretty hopeless world without the promise of redemption.

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