Before you read this post I want you to understand that I do not mean to offend those who are people of faith and who practice their religion. These are my inner struggles and mine alone. This reflects upon me...not you.
I have one IRL friend who reads this blog and she has shared her faith with me on more than one occasion. I have nothing but respect for you and I admire your faithfulness. I admire it becasue I know you have struggled and questioned and continue to THINK and process and find relevance in your daily life. You live your words. You make efforts to examine your faith and the teachings and the manner in which you make your way in the world. I respect that about you.
I also greatly admire the writings of Mrs. Spit. She's a thinking woman of faith. I find such wisdom there.
Did I tell you I getting confirmed? Well, I am attending the classes to qualify to get confirmed. We'll see how I do.
Like many Catholics my age I never went through confirmation becasue they kept changing the age. Every year they kept saying "next year". So finally my mother said "enough" and pulled us out(my little sister and I ) in protest. Truth be told I think she was tired of driving us but that is between her and God.
So since a little extra free time was more important to my mother than my spiritual well being and the maturation of my religious faith I'm now obligated to 20 hours of Adult faith classes. That's every Wednesday night from here until eternity, I mean, the new year.
So here is the problem. All I do is cringe and roll my eyes (internally roll them.....I'm not outwardly rude or disruptive...give me some credit). I don't know what it is but I just can't buy it.. any of it. At least not the way it's being talked about.
After the first class I came home and complained about how simplistic and even child-like the belief systems were of the people in the class. Did I accidentally walk into a 1st confirmation class with some freakishly physically mature 2nd graders? It just seemed so ....unsophisticated and unthinking without any reflection.
Mr. Peeveme's response was, "I don't know why you are doing this?" and then walked away. He's all supportive and talkative like that.
Neither of us would be considered very faithful. We did get married in the church and had Piccolina Baptized but that's becasue that's just what our families do (He's Italian, I'm a Mission Indian). Not becasue of some deep seeded need for involvement in a community of faith. Plus the more sacraments you fulfill the more cake you get to eat. Specifically, sheet cake. Sheet cake rocks. The more you buy the cheaper it gets. I love sending people home with home giant slabs of sheet cake crammed on a paper plate with smooshed frosting under a double layer of plastic wrap. Now THAT's the way to celebrate a sacrament.
So why am I doing this? And why now? Why not in the past 20 years? Why not 20 years from now? I tell myself and others it's becasue it's a loose end. Just want to wrap it up. But it can't be a coincidence that I feel the need to do this now. I am doing IVF after IVF and now Donor eggs. The Catholic Church is pretty clear (and mean, if you ask me) about their stance on reproductive technology and even clearer (and meaner) about 3rd party reproduction. (I'd like to add mis-informed to that as well).
I confess, I'm not a person of strong faith. Clearly I'm not when all I do in cringe and inner eye roll the whole time in confirmation class? Nope, no faith here.
During the second meeting the Deacon gave us little notebooks so we could write things down. And I prepared for what I just knew would be 2 hours of cringing and inner eye rolls.
The session goes like this: The Deacon asks us a question...we share our thoughts with our "neighbors" and then share out to the larger group. And it's hard to listen to the answers of people without physical cringing at the simplicity. I think I have read more thoughtful and reflective ideas about faith in a coloring book about Jesus. And I certainly can't share HALF of what I'm thinking.
Question: Think of a time when you realized you were a Christian. Did that realization make you feel different? In what way did it make you feel different?
My head: Um...still not sure I am a Christian so I'm not sure how to approach that question. But why would I feel different? Different from other people? Because being Christian is not different it's the dominant religion where I grew up. I'm sorry, you're loosing me.
Question: Discuss some of the ways your faith is different from when you were younger.
Answers of other people (summary): When I was younger I did it becasue I had to and because my parents made me. Now that I am an adult my faith is stronger. Pretty much every said that they all have such strong faith now and are ready to commit to the "responsibilities of their faith". (whatever that means...I have no idea what that means but they say it all the time.)
My answer: (I went last)As a youth my faith was inconsequential. There was nothing at stake. No reason to question it. With such little life experience I had no reason to question the teachings of the Church. Unlike most people here I am not here becasue of a deepening of my faith, I am here becasue of a crisis of faith. I'm looking for resolution between my personal beliefs and the Church. I'm here to gain a more sophisticated relationship with the Church and my faith. I disagree profoundly with some of the stances of the Church. If I am truly loved by Jesus and the Church that has to be ok.
This was met with big-blinking eyes and silence. I think one mouth was agape. I was worried the Deacon would kick me out right there....but he seemed impressed with both my honesty and my level of thoughtfulness and reflection.
And then I started blogging in my little journal because I felt I was onto something here.
Notes from my notebook:
Wow, everyone else is here to learn more about their own faith. I came to learn more about the Church. I don't expect to be more faithful after this....or do I?
Why am I here? Do I know? What am I looking for? I gotta be here for more than the sheet cake.
Maybe I think that there has to be more. There has to be more depth and intellectualism to this religion.
Does this sustain me? Can this religion sustain me? Certainly not in my current understanding of it, no. I find little here for me. There has to be more.
So many people find solace in this faith. Why not me? This can't be so hollow and simplistic and sustain so many people. There has to be some substance here. Why don't I feel it?
Will my inner eye-roll ever go away?
I was approaching these session as just hoops I had to hop through to get confirmed. But I actually got something out of the last class. I know why I am there. I have no idea if I will find what I am looking for but at least I know what it is I want. That's something. In fact, that might be everything.
And BTW, I'm not sure I'm completely down with the concept of the Holy Trinity. I know! The central tenet of my faith and I'm not completely on board. Quick, someone call a Council of Nicea.
I'm really hoping the Deacon does not collect these journals. That would be mighty embarrassing.