Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Je Suis Catholique

I got asked a while back about the fact that while I'm Catholic, my family is not.  It's a simple complicated story (aren't they all?).  I've always been Catholic. I was baptized as an infant and spent a couple years in the church.  Apparently I liked to polish the pews during mass rather than go to nursery.  Then my parents left the church, and when I was younger we spent a lot of time at one protestant church.  I remember spinning in circles until I fell down in the basement where Sunday school was.  I remember ugly pastel floral frocks from the 90's.  I remember Easter egg hunts and cake walks and going to the pastor's home for dinner.  I remember we left when the pastor left and the new one didn't suit us as well (the church became less family friendly, if I remember correctly).  And then my parents looked for another church unsuccessfully.  In fact they didn't find their church home, the one they attend currently until I was in college. 

The in-between period was filled with doubt.  When bad things happened I questioned why.  When I was 13 I began developing bulimia nervosa as a way to handle how out of control my life felt.  When I was 13 we moved to a small town that I hated and cried everyday and wrote letters to my parents I never gave them begging them to let me move back to the city with my grandmama.  I now know that God put us there because it was written long before I existed, and G was in that town.  In fact that first day in history class was the first time his heart fell in love with me.  But I didn't know that, in fact I wouldn't know that until long after this, nearly 10 years. 

High school was fine, I am not one who looks back and dreads reunions.  When I was a freshmen in high school a friend was killed in an accident.  It hit hard with us all.  I remember hating God then.  I remember feeling lost those couple of years.   I remember rocking and crying in a closet in my room because I didn't know what to do.  I felt my life was out of my control.  Then I began researching different religions.  I read a lot of religion books, thank God our small town library had quite a few.  I really liked buddhism, it's peacefulness and read book after book about it.  It was almost settled on.

But the Catholic church back home is down the hill from the high school.  And those last couple of years in school I found myself drawn there.  I would go in, sit, and pray.  Sometimes I would quietly cry.  Sometimes I would sit in silence.  I think no matter what I did, I was praying in a way.  And what I found there was peace in my heart.  I calmed.  For those minutes I was not stressed, I relaxed and could breathe.  That's how I knew.

When I went to college I quietly signed up for our local church's RCIA classes (Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults).  In fact it was a couple months before I told my parents, and even then it was hesitantly.  My faith is my own, and I felt it was right.  Since then I have had moments where I went every Sunday and moments where I was angry and didn't want to go.  But I always go back to it.  I've attended church with my parents, and their church is fine.  But every time I am reminded that it isn't for me.  Mine suits me, theirs suits them.  

When G and I were getting married, he was an atheist.  We had many conversations about religion.  For the sake of future children he agreed to attend mass with me.  He warned me he wouldn't change his mind.  But before the wedding without my knowledge G spent a lot of time on his knees praying.  He felt a peace.  He began to believe in God, though I wouldn't know it until after we had been married for a few weeks.  One long night we were talking (he was back in England, I was still in the US waiting for my visa), and he talked about it.  We both cried a lot that night.  I had not pushed him, I had accepted him, trusting God, until that night I felt called to do so.  We talked about Jesus.  My husband became a Christian that night.  

Once in England he attended mass with me.  He liked the ritual of it, the quietness of it.  Neither of us is really suited to loud churches with hands raised high.  Both of us are more private, and though we've began to share our faith with others through our words and actions, we still aren't loud about it.  After we had been married a year G began RCIA, and right before our 2nd anniversary he was baptized (he had never been before), and annointed with oils.  He became Catholic.  

We both love our faith.  I find great comfort in it.  Our little two person family is Catholic.  And our children will be raised in the church.  I do not agree with all things about our church, or even our faith for that matter.  But it is what is the best fit for me.  We've taken flack for it, but we felt called, so we answered.  I could go on and on, but I do think this is far too long already!


  1. I'm so glad you wrote about this. It's a great story and I love hearing how you came back to it and it felt like home. I'm a catholic convert of about 8 years and it truly is one of the best decisions I've made.

  2. So interesting to read your story! Thankyou for sharing. I have never been to Catholic mass (I'm protestant) but would like to one day. I think it's so sad that there are so many walls up between different denominations. Same Jesus, right?

  3. You can't imagine how pleased this Baptist is that you are so happy and at peace with your choice of worship. God Bless You Both.

  4. Thanks for sharing your faith journey. As a Christian, I always say we are different parts of the body of Christ so we're not all going to fit into a cookie cutter shape of a denomination. (I also believe the same about other faiths, as well.) We've all been put on earth to fulfill different missions and can't do that if we all think and look alike.

  5. I am so happy for you that you found a place that is comfortable and feels like home. That's so very important and not always easy to find! Glad you kept looking until you found the fit for your family.

  6. Yes, your faith is your own. Thank you for sharing about here.
    Having been raised Buddist. My dad is buddist and mom catholic and a bit of animist thrown in. I went to Catholic school in Illinois and went to protestent churches. Confused for awhile then finally decided for myself that Jesus is my Savior in Laos.