i don’t go to church

No generation in recorded history has had as much to contend with as the current living humans. My mother was the first person on her block to have a television or a new car. She had a party-line. She probably also had the same school schedule as the average current student. A few changes for sure, but all within a large and largely unchanging core. The world is changing so fast, and we all have our stories about it.

One of my stories has to do with the Catholic Church. I liked growing up going to Catholic school, though, admittedly many of the nuns were full-on mean, many of the priests were arrogant and condescending, and we had just the parking lot for a playground. The framework gave me a taste for spirituality and relationship to the Divine even if the practices of the church, the school, and the congregants more often were just letting me know I wasn’t quite good enough. I didn’t take that personally because I didn’t see them hold anyone but themselves out as good enough. I learned very early that all of this people taking part in this sacrament lost all unity in the parking lot (which I believe was the kind everyone just pulled into, thereby attaching each car to the next to be able to get out – a plan destined for frustration). Anyhow, I was born a Catholic and that was well-enough. My father was a devout Catholic. He was dedicated to the church. He read the readings during mass every other week. He cared deeply. So, when he was dying in the hospital in Detroit, a place our posh pastor wasn’t too into, he went ignored. We would even have to beg the onsite chaplain to visit him. I lost my interest in the Church during that period. He was a power-user and got absolutely no love when he needed it most. His last rites were performed by a stranger.

So that was basically my separation from the church. But it got deeper. later in lifeĀ I met a number of women with autoimmune disease, all of whom had a similar upbringing to my own. Catholic. A thick and argumentative parent/child divide, alcohol in a prominent position on the family alter, and emotional availability not being invented yet. By having children, baptizing them and keeping a roof over their heads, parents were meeting the church’s requirements and so felt completely ennobled by their own behavior regardless of how it was affecting their children. I was always surprised when I met people who grew up feeling valued by their parents/siblings. I don’t doubt my parents valued me, but that had very little to do with how our household went down. Our household, for me, was a mine field. Constantly. It blew my mind that people had peaceful homes. I kindof blame Catholicism that I didn’t, although, in retrospect, it may have been even worse without it.

My children have had no official spiritual instruction. There is a lot I regret about that, but like everything, there are benefits, too. They do grow up in a peaceful home, though. Remarkably peaceful. Remarkably supportive. Certainly outside of what I had believed possible prior to meeting my husband. Not Catholic, BTW.

Not sure where this topic came from, today, but there it is…


Leave a Reply