Downton Abbey Portrays Reality of Interfaith RelationshipsBy Gerri Miller
Go inside Season 5 Episode 9 where the story line of Atticus and Rose's interfaith relationship comes to a head.Go To Pop Culture
As the daughter of a Christian father and a Jewish mother who both had wanted me to find my own path to God, I didn't think that my choice to marry Chris was going to be taken as hard as it was.
Chris and I got engaged on our one-year anniversary, in front of the campus police station at my college. I didn't tell my mother for three days because I was afraid to. The only reason that I ended up calling her and telling her the "good news" was because I was going home for the weekend and I didn't want her to see the ring on my hand without having told her first. It took me about an hour to get the nerve to call her. I was shaking when I did tell her, and she could tell that I was not as excited as she would have wanted me to be.
My mother and I had a great and open relationship, and until then I had thought that we could talk about anything. She let me know that she thought I was making a mistake. She did not like the fact that I was going to be marrying someone who was so into Christianity, and whose father, a Southern Baptist Minister, in her mind was out to convert all the Jews in the world.
Chris' parents also disapproved of the marriage. His mother didn't like the fact that she would now have Jewish people in her family.
So there I was, a Jewish girl getting married in a Nazarene church, having my Jewish mother walk me down the aisle (my father was no longer living), knowing that both of our families disapproved of the marriage. Although my mother agreed to walk me down the aisle, she did not show up for the rehearsal and didn't know what to do until the day of my wedding. I felt she had turned her back on me and was only going through the motions because people would disapprove if she didn't show up or participate.
A few months after I got married, I accepted Christ as my personal savior and was baptized a few months after that. My mother and stepfather were not there for that ceremony because they still didn't understand my faith. It hurt me a lot to be making this kind of change in my life and not to have my parents there.
My husband and I became youth leaders in our church, and I later became a Sunday school teacher for first through third graders. I became very active in the church and began praying daily.
As time passed I got pregnant and had a little boy named Caleb Daniel. He was confirmed but not baptized in church.
When Caleb was two months old, Chris started to have an affair. I am now divorced and have moved back to the town my family lives in and where I grew up.
I am now a twenty-eight-year-old single mom, trying to pick up the pieces of my shattered life while raising a Christian child close to his Jewish grandparents. I still believe in all of the ceremonies of the Jewish faith, but I also believe in Jesus. I want to raise Caleb to know his Jewish heritage as well as Jesus Christ.
Caleb and I recently started to go to church in our town, and, as my mother would say, "if you're not going to synagogue, it's not a bad church to go to." I have experienced more pain and fear in starting over with a young child then I thought I would be able to deal with, but God never gives us more than we can handle with His help.
My faith is in knowing that God is taking care of me by leading others to me, by guiding me, loving me, and giving me the strength I need to pick up the pieces of my life and to deal with life day to day, sometimes moment to moment. I know that God will provide all that I need, not all that I want.
I have found new meaning to the Serenity prayer that I learned while accompanying my father to Alcoholics Anonymous meetings so long ago. God is giving me the serenity to deal with life and the things that I can't change, the strength to change those things that I can, and the wisdom to know the difference between the two. Thank you God for bringing me here.