Filed under: Part-time Catholic and full-time sinner, Too liberal for the Bible belt
Warning: This post is a little, hm, heavy (that’s about the best word I had to describe it) and probably more personal than most I’ve written. Read if you wish. Skip if you wish. I just had to get it out of me…
For many, the Easter holiday marks a celebration of Jesus’ life and death. And living in the “Bible belt,” it’s obvious that this time of years carries much significance for Christians as they spend the entire week at various church services, solemnly observing their faith and the beliefs they grew up with. Prayer and family become particularly focal as they recall the sacrifices Jesus made.
And while I’m more than aware of these principles and might even take some brief period of time to recognize them, this Easter holds a certain weight that no other before it ever has.
This marks ten years since I last voluntarily stepped foot into a Catholic mass. Yep, one decade.
I was 13 years old and in eighth grade. That’s a pretty damn young age to feel as though your religious values are crumbling, but I was an intelligent child and began to see the church in a different light than I ever had beforehand. And despite my mother and grandmother’s absolute best efforts, I’ve never been able to regain that same sense of urgency I had during those formative years to attend a service even though I spent much of my childhood in those wooden pews for two hours, or more, each week.
I could sit here and speculate the plethora of reasons I turned my back on “keep holy the Sabbath,” but recalling what went through my mind ten years ago is almost as likely for me as completing a Rubik’s Cube in less than three minutes. Do I remember questioning my time spent reciting prayers with nearly 100 other followers? Sure. I also recount the moments where my particular church seemed to place more importance on money than its loyal believers. And while I’m more than certain all of these memories played a vital role in my disconnect, it baffles me even now to see how I could have pieced those together as a young teen and decided to skip Sunday masses forevermore.
My belief system remains very shaky. I see myself most often as a typical 20-something who cannot help but doubt the majority of standards other Catholics hold so dear. But I’ve never stopped believing – not knowing because truly, how can we ever undoubtedly “know”? – in a power higher than myself. I haven’t once thought that what I do on this earth doesn’t play at least some greater role than even I’m aware of. Yet those two ideals are about as far as my system of faith goes. I can’t just pick up today and be the Catholic girl I was a decade ago. My logic and personal sense of reason and judgement prevent that from ever happening.
And perhaps all of this is the reasoning behind my aggravation when others attempt to push their faith on me – which happens far too often living in the south – or my annoyance when I hear others discussing their beliefs and the importance God holds for them. Then again, maybe not. All I do know, however, is I get this strange, distant attitude toward people when I hear they are “deeply devout,” and it simply could be because I know I will never, ever be like them because of my own personal experiences and reformed relationship with Catholicism.
It was yesterday when I realized that ten years has passed since my eagerness to attend mass waned, and it’s plagued my mind a bit. I love the person I am, anti-ish church standards included, but it remains somewhat bothersome that I cannot fathom the individual I was when my religion actually mattered. And it’s a little sad that Easter means bunnies and candy rather than personal reflection and prayer. Yet maybe there’s some comfort in knowing I cannot be the only one in this world who feels that disconnect. But I wonder if only myself realized it and separated from that world at such a young age.
Ten years. Damn. I cannot believe it’s been ten fucking years. That’s a long ass time to be left fairly faithless.
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