Wednesday, February 6, 2008

honor thy mother and father p-deuce

I wrote about honoring thy mother and father last year and how it was a blessing to have what some might call a "bad" or dysfunctional relationship with my parents because it caused me to put all my trust, hope, and faith in God at an early age. I was thinking about that again while speaking with my older sister the other day on the phone. I have been praying a lot for my parents, my dad just celebrated his 75th birthday on the other side of the country.

I always joke that it's okay that I'm not courting, dating, engaged, or married at this point in my life because "my dad said I couldn't date until I was 32." Basically my father wants my sister and I to be self sufficient before we get married, not that he expects us to marry duds that will need their wife to support them, but he wants us to be able to take care of ourselves regardless of what they are like. He has said multiple times that we are to marry a Chinese doctor, lawyer, or engineer. I have no problem with marrying a doctor, lawyer, engineer or someone who is Chinese or both. I just don't want to be confined or base my choice on something external. I want to marry someone who 1) is grounded in their faith, will be a Christian spiritual leader in my life, and has the humility to admit when they are wrong, 2) I am compatible with, will be best friends with (basically they should enjoy some of the same things I do - sports, outdoor activities, music, kids, etc) and can make me laugh. There are some other minor requirements that I have, but they don't cover race or career specifically.

Now that I'm more mature (I like to think I've gotten more mature over the years even though I still look 16), I understand the thought process behind my father's wishes. He wants his two daughters to marry someone who they are compatible with, will be committed, and be able to provide for their family. He only knows the Chinese culture and it is taught to us (I cannot say for other cultures since I only know my own) at a very young age that family is important and regardless of what happens, you are always there for your family. Honestly, I've often wondered about my future husband whom God has prepared long ago for me and was concerned as to whether or not my father will approve. I would like to think that whom ever I choose my father would be comfortable with "giving me away" to them because they are steady and able to convince (and prove) my father through their actions over time that they are trust worthy and they are faithful. I do worry that he will not approve of someone simply because they don't carry the same breeding background, but I trust that God will honor my decision and my father will see that it's not only Chinese people that we can trust (should that be the case).

I understand that he was subject to a lot of discrimination when he was growing up and his experience has led him to believe only family and the Chinese culture has honor. However, the world doesn't work in absolutes. It's not true that all Chinese people are loyal, nor is it true that all loyal people are Chinese. No matter how many times I've tried to explain this, it's fallen on deaf ears. I just pray that God moves within my heart and his. I want to honor my father to the best of my ability, but not compromise who I am, who God made me to be, or who God created me to be with. Its as though I am straddling the world's principles and God's principles. I guess one could argue that I am trying to live God's principles by attempting to honor my father, but I feel so wrong even thinking about people based on race or career path. Weird, I feel like I'm growing up.

ps. I decided I like putting a picture with each entry (I added pictures to the last two posts too). I need to take more pictures so I will have a plethora of pictures to choose from. All of the pictures are and will be ones I've taken.

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