I’m seriously conflicted right now. You have no idea. Here’s what’s up.
I was raised a Roman Catholic. My mother took us to church every Sunday, we went to religious education classes every week, I made my first communion, got confirmed, even went to private Catholic school for seventh and eighth grade. Got married in a Catholic church. The whole thing. And I believed it all up until, I don’t know, my late teens.
Then I started to doubt things, as you do. But because I have all of this Catholic guilt instilled in me, my fear of burning in hell remains strong. So I doubt, but yet I still fear. It’s all very fun, as you can imagine.
I guess at the end of the day, I believe in God. I do. Everything else, I don’t know. I really don’t. I hate the Catholic Church’s stance on so many, many social issues. I haven’t gone to church regularly since my mid-20s. I went in spurts after that – before we got married for a while, and before Jane was baptized for a bit – really, just to show my face, so they would remember me. That’s pretty jerky and hypocritical, right? I know, I know.
But I do feel like something is missing, spiritually, in my life. I do miss taking a moment and just thinking and breathing and remembering and focusing. I try to do that every day but life is so busy and hectic and I feel like I’m doing myself a disservice by not addressing this part of me that feels neglected.
Oh man, I know I’m not making any sense here. Bear with me.
Something else that has been weighing heavily on me is how we plan to raise Jane in terms of religion. I got her baptized four years ago and she has not been back to that same church since. She has only been to church two other times, actually – once for my niece’s confirmation and then this past Christmas, when she kept asking if “the show was over yet.”
And then, the other day, she wanted me to check for dinosaurs in her room. (We routinely have to check her room for dinosaurs, robots, monkeys, etc., before bedtime. Hey, you never know.) I told her there were no more dinosaurs. She asked where they were. I said they were dead. She asked where did they go. And then, because it was late and, basically, because I wanted to watch “The Daily Show,” I said that they were in dinosaur heaven. And then she said:
I feel like I owe this kid something. I would never in a million years force her to believe anything – you can’t make anyone believe anything, anyway – but I want her to know the fundamentals of religion, and what our family has been brought up with, both Greg’s and my own. And then she can decide. I will make it clear to her what I agree with and what I don’t, and that it’s OK to doubt, but I know there is also something very comforting about religion, especially when you are young, especially if you lose people in your life. To believe there is something else out there is a very powerful thing. And when I’ve lost that, I feel very sad.
So next Sunday, I will start to take her to church. And next fall, I will sign her up for religious classes. And we’ll see where this thing takes us.