I never ever bring up religion... ever! Most of my life I've walked this line of belief, non-belief, unsure. I don't know how to explain it. I've always known there is something greater, something better, definitely something smarter than us out there. I mean, seriously, this can't be it - right?
Well, I was baptized catholic and made First Communion in the catholic church... all alone, in a BIG catholic church. Unfortunately, the day the rest of the my class made First Communion, I had developed the chicken pox. This meant that as soon as I was better, I got walk that aisle alone (my big brother said he'd already done it, and was NOT going up there with me). Great!
I don't remember going up to the altar, although, we have pictures. I just remember sitting in the pew and then being called to go up there alone. It was daunting. Oh well, I got over it. From that point, my grandmother would come over our house every Thursday night and teach us CCD. She had the books and we were assigned homework and readings. Most of which, I didn't do. I wasn't a great student at school and to be assigned MORE homework by Nana... seriously??
As a family, we didn't stay in the Catholic Church because both my mom and my stepfather had been married previously and obviously, had children. The priest would only marry them if they were both willing to get annulments, which they refused, so we moved on.
This brings us to some of my fondest memories... St. Peter's Episcopal Church in Dartmouth, MA. Our reverend was Rev. Ben. He was an amazing man. He made it fun. I was in the choir and helped with the coffee hours. I was even an acolyte. I helped set up the altar for the masses, prepared the readings (ok... put the bookmark) filled the bowls and pitchers. It was fun and I loved to listen to Rev. Ben speak. It made sense. At least in church.
I never really understood the whole prayer thing. I mean, when I was in 3rd grade, I moved to Dartmouth from Fall River and got picked on. I prayed that it would stop, but it didn't... not for a while. Then I made a friend and she had tattered clothes and wore her shoes on the wrong feet and was never really clean. I prayer every night for her. I still remember sitting in bed begging that she wouldn't get picked on the next day. I prayed that maybe her parents would help her, the teachers, someone. But nothing happened.
I started to think that the whole religion thing, God, all of it was a scam. And I declared myself an "Atheist"! Which ended up making my grandmother cry. Sorry. I just didn't know what to think. He wasn't helping, was he?! I was angry. I kept seeing it happen over and over. I was bullied on the bus in middle school. Then I made a friend in 8th grade that was in a foster family. She would sneak clothes and make-up to school because she wasn't allowed to wear that type of stuff. We all knew, if her parents ever found out, she was "gonna get it".
How could my grandparents "know" there was something out there if this was the type of stuff that happened to people?? Why bother?? I went through the motions, and made confirmation at St. Peter's. Rev Ben moved to Florida, I think... and the new Reverend seemed significantly more concerned about the amount of money going into the basket. She didn't really talk to us anymore. She just "was". And we stopped going.
At this point, I realized that there probably was something. God, Budda, something, but didn't really care. I discovered the word "Agnostic". So when I got engaged and my husband said he wanted to get married in the church, I said "why not". I signed a form saying we would raise our children in word of the Catholic Church. We were married. We didn't go to church, we were pregnant... then it happened.
I had a baby. I looked at this little blessing and realized that there HAD to be a God. There had to be something. There was no way this could happen without something amazing. I wanted to go to church but the one we were married in was HUGE!! Even bigger than the one I had to walk in alone for First Communion. I wanted a church that people knew each other and chatted. I wanted to get that feeling that I had when Rev. Ben would speak.
We started going to Holy Name of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and I love Father Bob. He is so nice and open. He high fives the kiddos as he goes down the aisle at the opening of mass. We see friends and neighbors, and know some of the people that you say "God be with you" to. lol. I feel better after mass. I feel like we're doing the right thing. We are raising our girls the way they should be raised. But I still have a problem... I have never received communion at the church because I have not reconfirmed myself to the church. I have not gone to confession. It scares me.
Now, don't get me wrong; I haven't killed anyone or done anything really bad, but it terrifies me. I also am quite sure still why it is, I can tell this mortal man my sins, my thoughts, etc and he can "forgive" me. I am still in the mindset of a conversation between me and God. I guess I need to have a chat with Father Bob, huh? lol
Well, we are in the middle of becoming official parishioners and making arrangements for my girls to be baptized and preparing Phoebe for CCD so she can make First Communion with her class... in a church that she is welcome and comfortable in. We say our prayers together each night and although I know His job isn't to change the things that happen around us, I know that we are changing as people, because of him, and I'm ok with that.