I’m an outspoken person; therefore I am not one to shy away from topics like politics and religion. In fact, both are topics I love discussing, even if friends/family have opposing views because I always walk away with a new piece of knowledge.
So, I decided I would tackle religion today…
I am a fairly religious. Not in the “I’m judging you for not believing in anything way,” though. I think religion is deeply personal and something people have to evaluate for themselves.
For me, it hasn’t always been simple. I was raised in a divided household. My father was Catholic (non-practicing for the most part) and my mom Lutheran. For their wedding, they had both a priest and minister marry them, which I think is really neat.
But then children entered the picture. To appease my dad, my mom went to a Catholic Church, and my brothers both made their first communions. But then life got busy and they just stopped going. Then I was born…and religion started up again. So, I was baptized Catholic. But again, the family stopped going soon after (understandable, I’m sure it’s not easy to go with 3 kids).
As I grew, I started getting very curious about religion. I distinctly remember loving a book called “Jesus was a Carpenter” and reading it all the time thinking Jesus was pretty cool. So, we started testing Christian-based churches and went to a variety of them…Baptist, Methodist, Catholic, Presbyterian. I think I even went to a Seventh Day Adventist service once with a friend. As a child, it all sounded the same to me, but I enjoyed learning about the stories in the Bible most.
I had the opportunity to go with a friend on a weekly basis to a Presbyterian church, so I started going to Sunday school with her every week. I started singing in the choir, participating in Vacation Bible School and attending a Christian summer camp. Soon after, my mom got into it.
Then, college hit. I partied most weekends, and therefore, never made it to church. Then I met my husband. He was a cradle Catholic and never experienced a lick of any other denomination. He did his fair share of partying, but went to church almost every week by himself. It kind of broke my heart that he went alone, so I started going with him on occasion and really enjoyed the conversations that followed, which helped bring our relationship to a new, deeper level.
He never asked me to convert to Catholicism. One day, before we were engaged, we had a conversation about how we would raise our children.
Growing up with parents who weren’t on the same page religiously bothered me. For awhile, I felt very confused about religion and denominations – Which one is right? Which one is wrong? – but I have always been a believer in a higher power.
Prior to our engagement, I decided I would convert. It was a long process – with weekly classes for 8 months, but it was a wonderful experience learning more about myself, my beliefs and the reasons for the many traditions in the Catholic faith.
At times, I get awkward glances when I tell people I converted to Catholicism. I’m not sure if it’s because I’m fairly liberal-minded or people think I just did it to appease my husband (which is not the case), but that couldn’t be farther from the truth.
I want to be on the same page spiritually. And I want religion to be a part of my children’s lives. If they don’t continue along the Catholic faith, that is fine by me. I just want to guide them in some direction – something I was lacking and felt a bit lost about growing up.
We will raise our children Catholic, but I will always encourage them to go where they are most comfortable – if Judaism or Buddhism or a non-denominational church speak to them, so be it. I just want them to feel something and know there is something greater than us out there.
One thing I have learned on my spiritual journey is that all Christian faiths teach the same thing: To be kind, and treat others how you want to be treated. Live by that rule, and you’re golden.
Are you on the same page spirituality with your significant other?