Overcoming Religous Differences

Evaluate a significant experience, achievement, risk that you have taken, or ethical dilemma you have faced and its impact on you.

First impressions mean everything, I’ve been told from elementary school on. A person forms their opinion of you in the first few moments of meeting, and it’s important to make a positive initial impact. I suppose that’s why my classmates seemed surprised when they met my junior prom date, James. In school, I have the reputation of being the friendly nerd. In “getting to know you” activities, I was always described with vague adjectives, like “nice” and “smart.” I dated infrequenly, and everyone, including myself, just assumed that, eventually, I would find a nice–but average–guy. But James was not average. Not only did his height make him stand out from the crowd, but he dressed in all black and wore thick eyeliner. At one point, I heard someone ask who the “tall Goth kid standing next to Audrey” was. Based on appearance, not many people would have assumed we were together. And yet there we were, friends at the prom together. One of the most memorable moments occurred at the post-prom party at a friend’s house. Gathered outside around the embers of a dying fire, we talked about religion and spiritual matters. Among all the differences between me and James, this was the most striking: I was Christian, while James practiced Wicca. Knowing little about Wicca, the only connotations I had of the practice were negative. I even had heard it was evil. Yet the more I talked to James, the more his true–and non-evil–nature became apparent. Despite his dark appearance, he was very kind and protective of those that he cared for. When he went home the next day, I found myself missing him right away. I had to face the realization that I liked him, a lot. For the next week, I fought with my emotions. I wondered if my family would approve, if our beliefs would clash too much, and if this was what was right for my life. I spent several days obsessing, praying, and asking for advice from my closest friends. One week after prom, the decision was made: We officially became a couple. James and I are unsure of what the future holds, but we know that, so far, we have made the right decision. Being with one another has made us each develop morea s individuals. I remain secure in my beliefs, but I now know that everyone must seek the truth for themselves; I am more open-minded toward other faiths. And, now, I see that first impressions sometimes tell little of a person’s true character. I am more willing to get to know others for who they are, not who they seem to be.

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