Ever had a change of opinion?

Ever had a change of opinion?

Two weeks ago I had the privilege of reading a “Change of Opinion” essay written by the mother of a very good friend. My friend sent it to our small group of women the night before her mother was set to read it in front of her church on a Sunday morning. She wanted it to be just right and made a few revisions before speaking the words out loud. It was received well, despite the topic she’d changed her mind on still being perceived as a sensitive one. Her bravery was noted by me.

I’ve changed my opinion on several things as I’ve tumbled into unintentional deconstruction. I have found the process quite liberating. Many of you read me to see what’s inside my head on any given week, but some things I don’t give away freely, holding them tight to my chest. When you come a distance in loosening the hold certain ideals have on you, there is no going back. You can’t unsee or unhear the new things that have caused you to question the ways in which you were raised. You also don’t want to hear people telling you you’ve strayed when you know you haven’t.

When I was in high school, I don’t remember being pushed into going to college. I do remember my mom saying something about “if you do, it should be a Mennonite college” or some such wordage. The thought then and even now is that if you attended a college with the same morals you were raised with, you wouldn’t stray off the path.

I digress just a bit because I know for a fact that many of the Mennonite-affiliated colleges of today are doing good things. But when our kids went off to higher learning, we shoved them out the door to somewhere that had nothing to do with anything. Go learn something new you’ve never heard in your life.

I’m a questioner and was never one to sit still and have someone tell me I had to do something a certain way. If we were told to stand in line, I’d make sure I had one toe outside of it. I think this just makes me stubborn, not disobedient, which we all need a little bit of to keep ourselves thinking.

I saw the film “Women Talking” and became unraveled after watching it. Miriam Toews, the author of the book with the same title, was raised as a Mennonite in Canada. Her own personal story is quite something to read about.

Esther Zuckerman writes for TIME magazine that “The film (‘Women Talking’) is a striking interpretation of a novel that is loosely based on a horrifying true story about women in a Mennonite colony who were raped persistently by the men in their community while they slept, attacks the colonists initially blamed on Satan or hallucination.”

What struck me the most about the film is that religion was used to make the women believe demons were assaulting them at night, or worse, that they were imagining it. Despite the horrors they faced, the movie repeatedly showed them singing hymns as they discussed what to do. Should they forgive the men for drugging and raping them? Should they leave? They were scared if they left — believing they were disobeying the men and God — that they wouldn’t make it into heaven. I couldn’t help but sing along with the hymns, the unbidden yet known lyrics bubbling up in my mouth.

In the end, at least in the movie, they left. A quote stayed with me and always will: “Our faith is more important than the rules.”

Stepping outside a sphere, especially one that is cozy and arrogantly sure of itself, is hard to do. As the process of disassembling takes place, the good pieces that remain from the rubble will be reused. There are so many good pieces to rebuild with.

A change in opinion can be a scary place to dwell inside of, especially when the majority of those around you firmly believe you’re in the wrong. But I believe we were meant to question everything, dissecting it, unlearning and relearning, growing and reshaping what we’ve outgrown, and reinterpreting what no longer applies or should.

And because I’ll always be a questioner, I’m thinking of inviting some people to share their “Change of Opinion” stories in this space. If you have had a change of opinion you’d like to share, email me at junkbabe68@gmail.com.

Melissa Herrera is a columnist, published author and drinker of too many coffees based in Holmes County. You can find her book, “TOÑO LIVES,” at www.tinyurl.com/Tonolives or buy one from her in person (because all authors have boxes of their own novel). For inquiries or to purchase, email her at junkbabe68@gmail.com.

Loading next article...

End of content

No more pages to load