Walking out of the local farming store the other night I realized the sight in front of me was so American I could smell the hot dogs on the grill. The lush green corn field and red farm equipment with the local water tower looking over it all was USA 100% – at least for me. The sound of the American flag popping in the breeze over my head was the cherry on top of the vision before me.
I think the scene popped for me because I have recently been out of the country traveling, and so the differences between life in America and elsewhere was more obvious to me. What made it distinctly American? It wasn’t the view, I could be standing in Poland and most likely see the same thing. It was the subtle energy that flowed from me; the expectation of how those around me would interact with me. One big defining factor is the banner of religion that many people I know and interact with daily fly in their daily lives.
Where I live, when chatting with a person you may have just met for any period of time religion will more than likely come up in the conversation. They will ask what church you attend, or mention something that happened at or after church, or they will state the fact that they are religious. Last weekend when we rented kayaks for the day, the guide notices my son’s Pink Floyd shirt stating what an awesome music influence they are, adding at the end that he didn’t listen to them anymore because he’s a christian now. WTF?
I have had other mother’s ask me what church we attend and apparently snub me when I respond I don’t attend church. I had a man tell me that I was in risk of sinning when I told him I was struggling in my marriage. I have had people ask me to pray for them when they are sharing some hardship. And I have used it too.. recently I was negotiating our families withdraw from a club with the owner who wanted us to pay more than we thought we owed and when he challenged my integrity I respond with “We are a christian family!” I was a little shocked at myself for pulling that card out – but the fact is it ended up working in our favor.
I am spiritual, I belive in a higher power and doing the right thing. I am uncomfortable with dishonesty and people who seem to lack integrity. I sleep well at night knowing I hold up my end of the bargains I have made in my life. I also believe in karma and synergy, that everything has energy and you need to create pathways for energy to flow thru you and the events and items in your life. I had a girlfriend describe it as the native american way of spirituality, and it makes sense to me. I would like to learn more about that by the way!
I don’t feel the same weight of religion when I am outside the US. i am sure that is my own perspective and expectation in part. But I also think there is something to the idea that Americans think differently. More to chew on I guess. I would like some perspectives.. Please share your thoughts!