For years I have battled an internal struggle revolving around returning to church. I was raised a devout Catholic where church doctrine was never questioned and mass was always attended even on vacation. I taught Kindergarten CCD for my oldest daughter and started having problem with the prayers I was expected to have them memorize even though I didn’t know some of the vocabulary. I attended the children’s mass a few times and sat in horror as I watched these children stand and recite these same prayers without comprehension. Then the sex abuse scandals broke and I watched in horror on TV as the accused and convicted were shuffled around and moved to more prominent positions as if to be rewarded for their crimes.
And I said no more. At this time I committed to the girls all receiving their First Holy Communion, basically so everyone would have the picture in the white dress and a big party to remember. We started attending a family program at our local Presbyterian Church which had a stellar Youth Group component, and I suddenly found myself no longer a practicing Catholic for the first time in my life.
I was no longer watching the hypocrisy of Democrats accepting communion (this always bugged me) – the cafeteria Catholics who took prominent positions in the church and then left the building and then no longer lived a Catholic life. I didn’t care what they did at home, I just hated that they acted one way in front of the cross when others were watching.
When we moved out here to the sticks I attended service at the Lutheran Church…it was deserted…the Presbyterian Church was so stuffy and sort of reminded me of the folks in The Purge…and then I went to the other Lutheran church, which was as deserted as the first. I resolved to find a church when it felt right again…
Last year I found myself actually returning to the Catholic Church. Not for mass but to light candles and talk to God…actually beg God to save him. To spare his life and bring him home so that my children would not have to walk a path without their father. This fall I returned to cry in those pews and light candles asking for John to move college applications for our middle daughter into the “yes” pile so she didn’t know rejection after losing him. Needless to say, John passed away and she was rejected from her first choice..the candles did not work. As a realist I was not lighting candles asking for help, I know God rewards all. I was there out of desperation and reaching back to a world that I knew – because there was nothing else I could really do.
And now, as I enter 2018, for many reasons and almost no reason at all it is time. I’m making the rounds…sitting in services among the few and the uptight…looking for a spiritual home. But this time I have a different mission…and that is just to sit. Not expect to much and everything that I would want in a Christian community. As long as I have a place to go, even if it is a different place every week for a while…well that is good enough for me.
I’m not giving up because I haven’t found perfection – I’m adjusting my expectations and staying true to my cause here – find a place to go and be at peace once per week. And it is all the better if the community I sit with doesn’t mind if I’m a bit off key.