Sometimes I wonder if getting that Catholic tattoo of the Miraculous Medal got under my skin in more ways than just the typical way a tattoo does. Or maybe it was a spiritual mark made by my baptism and confirmation. Or maybe I’m just really indecisive.
After months of saying I’d never go back, now I’m not so sure. I still have no desire to go to Mass again. I still don’t want to give up my crystals and tarot cards and chakra meditations. I still have a lot of doubts about whether Jesus and the redemption are even real because they just don’t make sense. I still have a lot of issues with religion because of my upbringing.
But. I was chatting in a Catholic Facebook group yesterday (which tends to lean more liberal politically) and talked about my oldest being LGBTQ and how that makes it really hard to be Catholic. The kind responses I got were nothing short of unexpected, mind-blowing even.
It makes me wonder how much of my doubt and disgruntlement has to do with what other people think. My former closest friend used my attempt to find religious faith as a slur against me, a flaw in my personality. I don’t agree with most mainstream Catholic or Christian media or religious figures, especially American ones, with their pro-Trump support and vitriol against LGBT and abortion issues.
In truth, if I could find a way to be Catholic and not be associated with those things, maybe I would. I’d still have the doubts about the rules and the resurrection and the ascension and all that. But maybe my issues with it have more to do with being afraid of what people think.
If I were to identify as Catholic again, I wouldn’t be the same type of devout Catholic as my husband is. But that’s just another form of measuring my faith against the opinions and beliefs of others.
Maybe the concept of Jesus’ life and death is metaphorical and it’s supposed to mean something to us on an archetypal level that isn’t meant to be analyzed to death for its realism.
In truth, the practice of religion has never been very comforting to me. I don’t think it would be now, either. But maybe there’s some reason I’m drawn to it again.
Maybe this is one of those issues that for me is going to take a long time to work out. I don’t have to have all the answers today. But it’s also not a bad thing that I’m still thinking about it.
I have to figure out how to be okay with myself when it comes to faith issues, regardless of what anyone else thinks, and see where it leads me. I’ve spent too much time comparing myself to other Catholics (many of whom I vehemently disagree with) and feeling ashamed of trying to pursue any faith. Maybe I can find my own definition that works for me, even if it doesn’t look the same as anyone else.