What mean ye, that ye use this proverb concerning the land of Israel, saying, The fathers have eaten sour grapes, and the children’s teeth are set on edge? As I live, saith the Lord god, ye shall not have occasion any more to use this proverb in Israel. Behold, all souls are mine; as the soul of the father, so also the soul of the son is mine… – Ezekiel 18: 2-4
The transmission of disease or of certain idiosyncrasies of mortal mind would be impossible if this great fact of being were learned, – namely, that nothing inharmonious can enter being, for Life is God. Heredity is a prolific subject for mortal belief to pin theories upon; but if we learn that nothing is real but the right, we shall have no dangerous inheritances… – Mary Baker Eddy
I realized today that even in our own families there are things we skirt around in conversation. The things it’s okay to talk about are trips we’ve taken, hikes we’ve hiked, how much money is in the savings, what books we’re reading, and what movies we’ve seen. The men in the family bond over talk of sports and car up-keep, and the women bond over talk of politics and flowers and pets. And I mean in no way to belittle any of those conversations – they are legitimate, they have a place, they bring us together. But there are other conversations that we skip around, things that would be helpful to say, and that maybe should be said – but we’re afraid might bring confrontation or discomfort, or make someone feel hurt or attacked. And so we don’t go there.
Today as I sat at breakfast with my oldest son and my husband – as they talked sports and car up-keep – I realized I was standing at a sort of verbal crossroads – I could go the safe direction and throw in my two cents about the Seahawks and Pete Carroll, and the price of petrol, or I could go that other direction and maybe hear something that would hurt, but might be helpful to me.
I took a deep breath, and plunged towards the scary path. I’m not going to tell you what I asked, or what was answered, because I do not want to. But because I went down the scary path, I had an epiphany this morning.
Speaking from a materially-genetic, hereditary standpoint, I guess you could say that I’ve inherited two very different natures from my very different parents. Mom is a wise, nurturing, loving, compassionate empath –a defender of the down-trodden, and champion for truth, justice, and equality. She is Frodo Baggins in a Superman cape – a homebody without ego or the need for adventure, although she has had her share of it. Dad is… Dad is a little more complicated. He’s an explorer, an adventurer, a Renaissance man – artist, mountain-climber, geologist, hydrologist, ski instructor, cartographer, author. He’s always up to something. Last summer, at the age of 95, he finished a mural he’d painted on the side of their shed – and this mural covered a space that was 12 feet high – so I’m guessing there was some ladder-climbing involved. He’s traveled to six of the earth’s continents, hob-nobbed with politicians and celebrities, and lived a most unusual life. There are certain traits he possesses that have allowed him to lead this unusual life.
And, speaking from a materially-genetic standpoint, I might seem to be a weird combo of these two antipodal individuals. Sometimes these two natures seem to be at odds in myself. I can recognize the good stuff I seem to have inherited – the kindness and empathy that are qualities of Mom; the need to explore, discover, and create that are qualities of Dad. And I can recognize the other stuff – the not-so-good stuff – I seem to have inherited, too.
A lot of people have labeled me “sweet.” Sweet is good. I kind of wish I was wholly that person. But I am not. People are sometimes surprised, and disappointed, when they realize at some point that “sweet” is just a part of my human personality. My human personality has also been known to be impatient, angry, self-righteously indignant, opportunistic, cranky, and reactive. There have been battles with ego. The human personality is not always “nice.”
Does the bad of the human personality totally negate the good? Does the cranky negate the sweet?
Geeze. I really hope not.
So a couple things:
Regarding genetics – I don’t think I ever fully recognized that I even had this belief until today. But this morning my belief in heredity was exposed. I saw that I had allowed it to make a claim on me – had, without being aware I was doing this, allowed genetics to be an explanation, and maybe an excuse, for being who I am. I had made it some kind of law that I had to follow. And, as Mary Baker Eddy writes in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, the textbook for Christian Science, “Heredity is not a law.” It never was a law, and I never really was thrall to it.
Regarding the nature of man – In reality, we are all the children of God – the image and likeness of Love – and all we can inherit are the qualities of Love. There’s nothing Love, God, can create which could be in any way unlike Love. That’s the truth about all of us – Mom, Dad, me, and you, too. In reality, there IS no dual nature of man.
I recently changed my “author’s bio” on Amazon – removed the part about my up-bringing and how I was raised . I am responsible for my own behaviors at this point. Genetics is a two-headed coin – if you accept the heads of it, you also have to accept the tails. And I don’t wanna. I’m not dependent on inherited glories. I don’t need to accept inherited pains, either. I am my own self. And the only real inheritance I have comes from my Father-Mother God.