Okay, this is a kinda heavy post. If you don’t want to hear about emotional upheaval, or anything to do with the church, turn the channel now. You have been warned.
I have gone to church the past three weeks in a row. I hadn’t gone to church for a long time. Many reasons, all valid, for not going, but only one for me to go: Bubba. We’re raising him as a Catholic, just like all our other kids, and he’s supposed to make his First Communion this year. If I have to make him attend religious ed every week, I had better set a good example and go to church regularly, I figured. It’s only fair.
It was a pain in the ass to make myself, and Hubby, and Bubba go to church the past few Sundays. But we went. The first two weeks were okay. Not too awkward, the rituals and routine felt like an old glove. I was pretty comfortable.
This past Sunday, we skipped mass and Bubba and I attended a family religious ed meeting that would include a tour of our newly-built church, explaining the reasoning behind how it was built, the materials used, the mural behind the altar, etc. I was curious, so we signed up.
The meeting began with pizza. Bubba and I ate together, then they took the grade-schoolers to a different class and left us adults to attend two lectures: one by the pastor, who is a self-righteous asshole, and one by the musical director, who I had never met.
The first lecture was fine. The charming, super-tanned priest answered lots of questions and showed he had put a ton of thought into every detail of the church. The second lecture, however, blew me away.
The musical director spoke eloquently and sang beautifully about the importance of song and music and praise as prayer. He touched a nerve in me. I had always been in the choir, or the guitar group, or just belted out the songs at all the masses I had attended. I have always thought that music was the purest and most beautiful, meaningful way to offer praise.
Suddenly I felt like crying.
I felt such abandonment, such rage, toward the Catholic church. I had been through so much in the past few years, and the church was not there. It did not help, it did not offer support, it would not baptize my grandson when he was born. I was so ANGRY! I am still angry. I still feel like crying.
During the rest of the meeting – the tour, the speakers – I was on the edge emotionally. I wanted to be loved by this church, included by this community. But I was so MAD!
The comfort of the church, the beauty of the songs, the kindness of the people I met, it inspired such rage in me! Where were you when I needed you? I thought. How can you judge me? I thought God was an all-forgiving, always loving God? Who are you to refuse my grandson, who is all the love in the world – as innocent and holy as the purest angel? Why didn’t God stop what was happening a few years ago to us? Why did he leave us when we needed him the most? And why did he let all that happen to us? We are good-hearted people who always try to the right thing.
You people are so loving and wonderful – where were you?
I still just don’t get it. I approached the music director after his lecture and told him that I found his speech inspiring and exciting. During our conversation, I told him we were trying to find our way back to the church. I told him I thought music might be the way, but I wasn’t sure. I told him were slowly taking tiny steps, to see how it felt. He was kind and thoughtful and I knew he would help me if I asked him to.
But until all the emotions swirling viciously around in my soul abate, I can’t do anything. Is it a good thing or a bad thing that the church has stirred all this up in me? I certainly don’t like how I feel right now. It feels like desperation. It’s not as bad as the panic and fear I used to feel, but I can’t seem to pin it down and identify it and resolve it.
And I don’t like that feeling at all.
Right now, I am just going to take it easy on myself. Maybe I’ll go back to church, maybe I won’t. But I will not make any decisions until I feel strong enough to. I’m just too close to cracking.
No wonder I’ve avoided the church all this time.