When I was a child, I went to Catholic School, and learned at an early age that the time between Noon on Good Friday and Easter Sunday is the most sacred time of the year. As I’ve become more serious about my religion, albeit now as an Episcopalian and not a Catholic. Now, I’ve admittedly waxed and wained on this topic over the years. I can remember one long discussion with family over opening day at Yankee Stadium one year, but over the last 5 or so years, I’ve firmly come over to the “you really shouldn’t be working or celebrating” side of the fence. I’ve made an effort to take Good Friday off (or at least wrap up work by noon). Although Sr. Mary Benedict, G_d rest her soul, might not be happy in my choice to become an Episcopalian, she must be at least relieved that I try and observe Holy Week.
So, today I was exchanging IMs with a potential client and this came up. I’ll cut and past the conversation below (CL = Client, Me = Me):
CL: So, I need you on a conference call on Saturday, to talk with the designed.
Me: Sorry, I’m not available on Saturday, Monday’s better for me. I can make time early if you need.
CL: I thought you said you could work weekends.
Me: Generally that’s the case, this is just not a good weekend for me.
CL: What could be so important that you can’t work on Saturday?
Me: I’m taking a long weekend for Easter.
You’ll note at this point I haven’t pointed out a Religious reason. “Long weekend for Easter” can be anything from family obligations to flying to the UK to watch the Dr Who Easter Special. There is no proselytizing, no mentioning of Christ hanging on a Cross, no mentioning of a tomb Just “I’m taking a look weekend for Easter”.
CL: I’m not sure I feel comfortable with that
Me: I’m sorry, I don’t take much time off, so I need to take advantage when I do.
CL: No, I don’t care that you need time off, I care that you’re Religious.
Now, I do have an opportunity to back pedal, to say “Oh, I’m going to Aruba because I figured my clients wouldn’t need me” or “I have to go to dinner at my Grandmother’s” and in retrospect, that might’ve been the wise choice, it certainly would’ve been more profitable However, considering it’s Maundy (Holy) Thursday, that was a level of irony I wasn’t prepared for. I also was worried that a cock crowing would disturb the neighbors. (You know it’s not every day I get to use St. Peter in comic material).
Me: Why is that a problem? Other then a few hours on Sunday mornings this next time this will be an issue will be Christmas. By then this project will be finished.
CL: I don’t want you trying to convert me, that Religious talk makes me uncomfortable,
Me: I won’t, I don’t proselytize, quite frankly I don’t discuss religion unless asked.
CL: You’re discussing it now.
Me: Because you asked.
Not the most mature response on the planet. I guess I didn’t think of “I know you are, but what am I”. I’ve also figured this is no longer a job I’m getting so I let loose a little.
Me: Notice I didn’t say I can’t work because I’m Religious. I haven’t used the words God, Jesus, or Resurrection. All I’ve said is that I can’t work on Saturday. I’m not telling you not to work on Saturday, I don’t think you’re a heathen for working on Saturday, all I’m saying is that I can’t. I fully respect your feelings on religion, spirituality and philosophy, I ask that respect mine.
CL: I’m not sure I can do that. I don’t understand how someone smart like you can believe in God.
Now, this is something that always annoys me. I have never tried to convert a Soul in my life. If someone comes to me with a crisis of faith and wants to discuss it that’s fine but I don’t don’t introduce the conversation. One line of The West Wing from President Bartlett, “My Christianity works for me, I don’t expect other’s to follow it” (OK, he may have said Catholicism). I do have an odd belief about the afterlife however. I don’t believe you have to be Christian to get there. I often say when this comes up “you can’t convince me that Jim Bakker gets into Heaven and the Dalai Lama doesn’t”.
However, many agnostics and atheists take it upon themselves to try and convert me. I don’t know if it’s self defense from dealing with aggressive, Evangelicalians but let me try and convert you before you get that way. As I said, although I found it later in life I’m Episcopalian. To quote Garrison Keillor we’re famous for our “blandness, [our] excessive calm,
[our] fear of giving offense, [our] lack of speed and also for [our] secret fondness for macaroni and cheese.”. Perhaps he fears the mac and cheese?
So I closed up with:
Me: I’m sorry you feel that way. I have nothing else to say on this topic, I’d still like to work with you, if you are interested I am free on Monday Morning.
And I’ve heard nothing since and don’t expect to.