Warning: I’m going to talk about my spiritual and religious choices. I’m cool with yours if they differ. Be cool with mine and we can all be happy believing what we need to in order to get through this world.
My spiritual path has been all over the place for a long time. I was raised in a Congregationalist church, and while it was a very nice place to learn and grow, I never felt a relationship with God. When I was around the age of 15 the mother of a friend told me that anything bad happening to me was God punishing me for my sin. I was going through some pretty intense stuff when she said that. I decided at that point she could keep God if that is who God is. I’d find my own way.
I never doubted God, but I did go my own way. I learned about Taoism, Buddhism, Paganism, Wicca, Muslim, and Hinduism. I found beauty in all of them, and I found comfort in all of them. I took bits and pieces of each and I created my own beliefs. I settled on identifying myself as Pagan, or the most part. I didn’t really fit in with the Wiccans or the Pagans. I definitely didn’t fit in with the Christians (I tried Congregationalist, Baptist, and Presbyterian). I fit in just right with myself and that was fine by me.
When Beth was born I started to worry a bit about how she would learn about The Divine. I wanted her to know The Divine and to have a relationship with God/Goddess should she want to. I toyed with getting her baptised but I couldn’t decide on God parents and this was a real problem. Godparents are a source of drama in many families. Godparents are supposed to help with the religious instruction but it seems that Godparents have become more of a social status than a religious thing. At the time I wasn’t close to my family and had no defined religious path myself so Godparents never happened. Baptism never happened. Not for any of the 4 kids.
The girls had very little, if any religious instruction. They went to church with Auntie B a few times and with Grammy a few times but not with any consistency. I don’t even think it averaged out to once a month. It was very haphazard. I say this only to illustrate how little religion had touched my girls.
This past summer I began to get closer to my siblings. Auntie Kris invited the kids to attend MASS Week (like a vacation bible school) at her church. At this point in time I could count on 1 hand how many times I dropped my kids off somewhere that the law didn’t require me to, (0, for those curious). As a matter of fact, aside from the births of my babies, hospitalization, and work/doctor appointments, I hadn’t been away from my kids. I badgered my sister with text messages and Facebook messages about safety, security, etc, but in the end I did drop them off and walk away. The kids had a great time. So great, in fact, that Jolie left there Friday evening (the last night of activities) and announced that we would be attending that church.
I had always talked to the girls about different religions and different beliefs. We do a lot of talking and activities on acceptance, tolerance, and diversity. The girls knew a little about almost every religion I could find. We read books together on the major world religions and belief systems. Jolie was (and still is) absolutely Christian. She never doubted from a very young age that she identified as Christian. I won’t lie, I waited awhile for her to grow out of it. Since she didn’t grow out of it, and she stayed insistent that we go to church I did my damndest to swallow my social anxiety and we started going to church.
Since September we missed 1 Sunday. Just 1. Did I mention I have serious social anxiety? And I can’t be medicated for it anymore because I liked my Xanax a little too much? Did I mention that social anxiety is really only the tip of what’s wrong with me? No, probably not because this isn’t the place for that. Yes, we only missed 1 Sunday. I think I might have made a friend. I attended bible studies. I waited patiently for my children to tire of church.
Yeah, I’m a jerk. I really did wait for them to grow weary of attending church, of the social aspect that is so damn hard. It hasn’t happened and it appears that its not going to happen. My beloveds are blossoming. Beth talks to God when her voices and paranoia gets too intense. Did you read that? Did it sink in? She talks to God to calm her psychosis. Now, its entirely possible that God has become part of her psychosis (any of my long term followers remember Captain Underpants?), but Pastor assured me that its probably not a bad thing if that is what happened, because….. GOD helps her get through the hard times. She’s finding comfort in God. She trusts her Sunday school teacher (who happens to be the Pastor’s wife). The other girls are tolerant of her differences. They are patient with her social slip-ups. They don’t necessarily consider her a “friend” but they go out of their way to make sure she’s included in choir.
I joined the church. I did that when I realized the children had made their home in the church. I am looking for ways to get involved (gonna need valium I think). More than anything, I’m getting something out of attending now. Something more than just for the kids. This has been the path I needed to be on for a long time now and it took Jolie’s nagging insistence to get me there.
I had a point to all of this but I’m confused now and going to just leave it here for now.