It is no hidden secret that I’ve been struggling with Christianity the last year and a half. It could have been called a crisis of faith, was I so nearly convinced that God was not here and Christians are but a cruel people group set on making “others” (whomever they see as different) miserable.
An image perhaps fitting for the time would be that I felt like I was holding the ashes of something that had once been beautiful in my hands but had burned up while I was holding it. So hands scarred, ashes in tow, I held on feverishly to something that just wasn’t there like I’d once thought it was.
It seemed like many of the conversations I had regarding faith in that time went a little something like this:
“I’m just so frustrated that nothing is how it used to be,” said Samantha.
“Do things need to be the same to be true or good or loving or God?” said Samantha’s boyfriend/friends/family members.
“YES! Well, of course not, but I’m scared/angry/bitter/lost,” Samantha replied.
“You know I had to go through a time where so many things I thought about God changed or where I met Him in relationship in a different way than before,” said wise Samantha’s boyfriend/friends/family members.
“UGH, okay, sure, whatever that means you idiots,” Samantha would THINK to herself because those things aren’t nice to say out loud.
I went a few times to a Friends Church in Newberg while I was living there. Especially when I first moved there. And each and every time would be miserable. I’d sit there filled with anxiety, experiencing several panic attacks, crying tears of fear. Believe me… such a worshipful experience *cough, cough.* I finally gave up. For many reasons, I just stopped going. I didn’t feel welcome at that Table and so I just stopped trying.
But in the depths of me I still wanted to commune with the God I just knew had to exists. Enter, the Catholic Church.
I had gone to a Catholic Church while I worked at camp several times over the year and a half that I was there. It was about a 15 minute walk along the beach to Mass and let’s just say that’s a fantastic way to get to church. 🙂 So, it was attractive to me for many reasons. I figured if I could go to Mass in Rockaway Beach, then I could probably go to Mass in Newberg and hopefully not experience quite the same pain as I had at the Quaker Church.
And I was right. For this anxiety-ridden, panic attack prone young woman I was able to partake in the traditions and rituals and not freak out because it had structure of the ages behind it. And for the time that I was in Newberg, that was enough for me. I went infrequently, but when I did go it was with a feeling of… safety, which I sorely needed and had been missing at the Quaker church.
But then I read a book around the time that I was getting married/just got married. It’s called Something Other Than God and it is about a woman who goes through her journey of being an Athiest all of her life to becoming Catholic. And as I was reading some of her story and her thoughts/questions/processes I recognized a bit of myself in there. And I started realizing that some of what Evangelicalism had taught me about Catholicism was just. plain. wrong.
And honestly? I was excited about faith/God/Jesus/Church in a way I hadn’t been in so very dishearteningly wrong. Something in my soul was unfolding. And I was finally ready for things to look a little differently then they had in the past.