I grew up Catholic.
In a very nice Church with very nice people that I saw on Sundays and holidays.
I received my First Communion at 10 (I was the oldest one and oh, so gangly and nervous) and never went through to Catechism because I found out you couldn’t pick Dusty as your “bonus name” because it had to be the name of a saint. This led to the revelation that my first name (Jennifer) isn’t the name of a saint, either, and at that point I was just done because I thought the whole naming thing made no sense.
We still went to Church.
I spent years wearing this little cross necklace around my neck and wanting SO badly to feel what I assumed other people felt. It was small and gold with a smaller white enamel cross on top with a painting of ivy and roses. It was so pretty and I would hold on to it. I felt it identified me and that eventually I would feel what I was suppoesd to feel and understand what I was supposed to understand.
It never happened.
One day, the little white enamel piece fell off. I realized it had only been held on there with a tiny dot of glue. I cried a lot that day because I felt like the only hope I had of being connected to some big, divine thing was gone. Really, it feels a lot like the acting class scene from “A Chorus Line” (if you haven’t heard it, it’s worth a listen. It’s posted below because I’m musical today and love this song). If you are very religious you might not get the similarity, if that’s the case it’s still a pretty good song to enjoy. It has a cuss word in it though, so don’t blast it in front of the kids if you think they’ll go around singing that part!
I’m pretty sure you’re not supposed to explain any part of a religious experience with Broadway Musicals but hey, I also put more faith into a dollar store necklace than I did into an entire religious organization.
Since we’ve moved to the town we are in I have convinced Mr. Brickie to take the family to church four times. Once was for some of our daughters (the ones we had at the time) to get baptized. The second time was for a pregnancy blessing at the local Catholic church where they had a guest pastor that talked about abortion the whole time. TO A ROOM FULL OF PREGNANT WOMEN. So, obviously, we didn’t go back because I was beyond offended that my husband didn’t let me cause the huge scene I wanted to cause because I was there for a blessing and I got…well….bait and switched.
Same thing happened at the other church which was more of an evangelical church. I was like THESE PEOPLE FEEL THE WIND RUSH (you’ll get that if you heard the song up there) and we went twice and considered membership because I was like, “I could make friends here. These people are spirit of the bible people.” So we went to the first membership meeting.
When they used the term HIVE MIND I spit coffee and then had to fake a coughing fit. I thought, “I had to have heard that wrong because seriously.” Then I realized after the fourth, fifth time that it was a term he meant to use with NO irony and NO humor and my heart broke. Again.
Now Mr. Brickie refuses to try other churches. He thought – logically – that being married meant I wouldn’t have to feel heartbreak anymore. I wouldn’t feel rejected anymore. Me too, Mr. Brickie, me too.
I did go to one with a really wonderful woman I went to college with. I enjoyed it a lot. Then the flag troupe came out and I was just, like, I don’t understand anything anymore. One thing I can thank one of the churches for (I think it was the one that had a horse on stage that one time – I’m not lying, there really was a church horse) was the difference between jealousy and envy. That was a life changing idea. Especially for me being poor.
Jealousy is when you want what someone else has. Envy is when you want what someone else has and if you can’t have it you want them to not have it either. It was a great lesson for me, personally.
This Is Where I Stop Being Mopey
For the readers who were like, “I do not want to read all that moping.” I wanted to give them a headline to let them know I’m all done. That was all leading up to why I’m agnostic and celebrate Lent. I like Lent. I like remembering sacrifice and giving something up. Ever since I found 40 Bags In 40 Days last year I feel giving of myself and giving my things to others who are even less fortunate than I is a wonderful way to spend 40 days. (There is even a closed Facebook group. I really can’t recommend it enough.)
Also, I think I have Mr. Brickie convinced to buy fish for Fridays for the next 40 days. Not because of anything but our whole family loves fish and it seems like a fine time to enjoy some love from the sea, right?
Even if we don’t have organized religion we can still give, right? I want to feel like a valuable member of society and be able to help others no matter how we are doing financially right this second. I want to declutter and at the end of 40 days know that if we have to move we will need a couple less boxes to make it happen. I want to feel just a little more freedom in my life.
What do you give up for Lent? (I predict a whole bunch of people who weren’t raised with Lent to do the, “I’m giving up giving up things.” because that joke is new to them. I forgive you in advance.) Do you give without reminders? I know I like to have a certain time of year where I’m reminded to be awesome. You might not need that kind of prompting. If that’s the case, what are some ways you give?
I’m always looking for new takes on this very, very old theme.