I have to say that I have not always been such a strong believer in the Catholic Church and what She teaches. I grew up in a small Catholic family in southern NH, going to a small private Catholic all girls school for 11 of my 12 school years. My senior year of high school, the all girls school I attended merged with the all boys school across town. All through high school, my parents and older sister and I attended Church regularly. I think I just took it on blind faith that I believed what the Church and my parents taught me. There were few things that I questioned, although I can't say I believed everything 100%.
College was really a tough time for me for several reasons, which I will not get into here. I will just say that I put myself through some really hard times. I did some horrible things that I am very much not proud of. I remember in the middle of the night one night, looking in the mirror and thinking, "What the hell are you doing? Is this really who you want to be?" I was so disgusted with myself, so sad for who I had become, yet I was in no way ready to change.
Several years after having graduated from college and living on my own, I was still in the same murky waters, still struggling to find my way out of a past that I really wanted and needed to be free from. Then after a BC hockey game I went to with my parents on a Friday night, Valentine's Day, February 14th, 2003 to be exact, I went home to visit my pepere. Although he could not speak, he was able to acknowledge me, so I know that he knew I was there that night. I truly believe he is the one who helped me to come back to the me I had lost so long ago. That night while I was there with him, he passed from this world to the next. This was the first time I had seen someone breathe their last. I would never be the same.
It brought some of the most major faith questions to the forefront. All my doubts and fears came rushing forward, specifically about the afterlife. Is there life after death? Do I believe what the Church teaches? Does it even matter?
I moved back in with my parents that summer and am so grateful for them welcoming me back with open arms (thank you mom and dad! you are truly the best!). It took me a while to be ready to go back to Church, which I did just as I started dating the man who was to become my husband. I had been volunteering on Saturday mornings at the local animal shelter and for some reason it struck me that I can take time to care for these animals early on Saturdays but not take the time be in Church and search for the answers I needed. I have to say that now I see that at the times in our lives when we feel most hypocritical and most distant from God is when we really need to try to keep that connection open.
Let's just say that God has given me answers on some of my beliefs. Others I am still working on. I am a work in progress and hope that I will be until the day I leave this world. I will continue to share my story here in bits and pieces. But I have to say that I find myself at odds with the values of the secular world and find that I am much more in line with the Church than I ever thought I would be. Those of you who read this blog may differ with me strongly on quite a few subjects. I expect it because there was a time when I probably would have agreed with you and agreed with you whole-heartedly. I will say that I have been taking the time to come to an understanding of why the Church teaches what she does. My love of God makes me want to learn more. WWJD?