Monday, March 31, 2008

Here I Go...

Well, now. I will first say that I need another blog like Britney needs another haircut, but yet I'm here. Stunned, but here all the same.

As I recently said to my very devoutly Catholic father, "I feel like I'm being slammed by a spiritual tsunami." I'm not kidding.

Quick info about me: I was born and raised Catholic, attended Catholic schools, an all-girl's Catholic high school and a Catholic university for two years before transferring to a larger secular college. It was at the latter when I discovered inter-denominational groups and decided that Rome had fallen short in my oh-so-wise 20 yr. old eyes and I wanted "something more." I made a quick turn to a Presbyterian church, a sidestep into a Conservative Baptist church, and then a casual stroll into the Vineyard Christian Fellowship where I spent years in various ministries and serving on a church-planting team. I dallied with the thought of becoming a missionary but when the Presbyterian church said I had "potential" but wasn't ready yet, I promptly threw a spiritual tantrum and pouted for about two years before finally moving on. The Presbyterian church was right. I didn't belong in some Papua New Guinea jungle and really - did I truly think I could be satisfied with socializing (ahem...fellowshipping) with just one person for four or five years?

Gimme a break says my inner Italian.

Bottom line: I spent 25 years away from the RC Church. I married a very good man a little over six years ago. My first marriage. His second. And yes, you guessed right. Of course he isn't Catholic. (Why simplify my life...well, ever?) He was a Church of Christ minister for many years and I had lovely visions of finding a good church and ministering together. After about five years of waiting for him to want to go somewhere, anywhere - I tried on different churches like prom dresses. I felt exhausted. The Vineyard didn't fit anymore. Nor did any other church I visited.

My dear mother, who absolutely corkscrewed her lovely modified beehive into the ceiling the day I announced I was leaving the Catholic church in 1982; passed away in March 2007. This caused quite a bit of emotional upheaval in my life, not the least of which was the beginning of such spiritual longing that it propelled me straight into the arms of Rome. But I didn't want Rome. thought. Not that cold and impersonal institution that had no idea how to carry a tune. Please! Not that!

I have fought this for a year now. I started to attend Mass last year in tiny droplets. A Sunday here. Drip. Another Sunday a few months later. Drip. And then finally, this year, during Lent - I attended Palm Sunday. The following week, I attended Easter Sunday. I felt slightly saddened that my husband had no interest at all but it wasn't a total surprise. For the past five years, he never seemed interested in celebrating this most holy of seasons with me. But I couldn't wait anymore. Something was calling me and I knew enough from my spiritual history that it wasn't AT&T. God was calling me home.

Before Palm Sunday, my brother's wife lost her father to cancer. For some bizarre reason, I felt impressed to pray the Rosary for her. I had no idea why it was the Rosary. I hadn't prayed the Rosary for decades, and yet I couldn't resist. And so I knelt by the bed and prayed. A few days later, I spoke with one of my cousins, a vivacious twenty-something who worries far too much about life for her age, and again - an impression upon my spirit to pray the Rosary. So I did.

I prayed the Rosary four times last week and once today. I find this all so strange because after all my Evangelical and Charismatic training - I haven't taken the Rosary seriously. But somehow, I know I'm to comply with this inner insistence to pray it.

There is so much I'm trying to absorb. I'll be attending a special "Coming Home" program for prodigals such as me. I'm discovering there are "liberal" and "conservative" Catholics. It's as though I'm being introduced to a new game but not sure which team I belong to yet. I do know what has drawn me back to the Church are the Sacraments. And of course I had to complicate matters by marrying outside of the church, but I'm working on it.

This blog will be the most personal I've authored yet. It is going to be about my journey back to the Catholic Church, and loving her once again - warts and all. Because I know that deep down, she has always been there for me, warts and all.

She just was waiting until I ran out of food and shelter.