July 5, 2005

This is a post about . . . well, it touches on religion. It's not about conversion - either mine or anyone else's. It's just a post about experiences and personal conclusions. (Sorry for the disclaimer, but I believe in truth in advertising.) Every year at my church, instead of a sermon one day, a couple of people stand up and talk about their faith journey and how they got to Southside (our church). After listening to the stories this year, I thought I would write a part of my own.
NEW: Read the whole series on one page (if you're so inclined).

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I was born in Amarillo, Texas. As an infant, we moved to Houston, then another place in Houston. Albuquerque, New Mexico; Oklahoma City. Then we left the South and for what seemed like an interminably long year, we lived in Carmel, Indiana. We left Carmel in the middle of a small blizzard and moved to Austin, Texas. Then I started kindergarten. In third grade, we moved to Arlington -- between Dallas and Fort Worth.

I go through this litany of places because when people ask me where I'm from, I've never really known how to answer. I generally ask, "Do you want the long version or the short version?"
Likewise, even now, when people ask my faith or what I believe, I find it hard to answer without going through a litany of paths I've taken on my faith journey. For a long time I simply muttered, "I'm really not much of anything at all. And it was true. I had a kind of ghost-faith that I kept very very private.

First in the litany of faith paths, I was raised Catholic. My first concrete memories of "going to church" start somewhere around the age of six when I announced -- well bellowed amidst much crying, actually -- that I did NOT want to go to church, I was tired of going to church and I just wanted to stay home with Dad and why couldn't I just stay home with Dad? In retrospect, this may have had less to do with church itself and more to do with the escalating gender battle between mom and I. Frankly, I was tired of having my long, baby-fine, perfectly straight and totally static-y, flyaway hair combed with a fine-tooth plastic comb and bundled into braids or dog ears or a pony tail and then the utter indignity of having to wear one of those awful little girl dress/jumpers so popular in the 70s. Doing this five days a week for school was enough. The weekend was for jeans or shorts and only half-attempts at taming my fly-away hair. Mom was a bit taken aback by my vehemence, but she quickly agreed that I did not have to go to church until I was seven -- then I had to go. Since turning seven in November seemed like eons away yet - even though it was probably only a few short months - I happily agreed.

But after I turned seven. Every Sunday morning. Get up. Wear horrible clothes. Tame the terrible head. And then sit in silence with nothing to do other than the ritual of the mass itself. To those who know me, not surprisingly, I was bored stiff. I'd pick up the Missal and read the readings and the Gospel for the day. Then I'd read weeks ahead and weeks prior.

As Catholics, we didn't have Sunday School and we didn't study the Bible. We had CCD, which was generally just memorizing - and at least in my case, promptly forgetting - the Catholic catechism. When we were really young, we memorized prayers. I had an easy time with the Lord's Prayer, probably because we said it in church every week. I was so proud of myself for memorizing it so fast and with the cockiness of a little kid, I thought the second prayer, being shorter, would be a piece of cake. But the second prayer we had to memorize wasn't one we said every week in church and it didn't make much sense to me, either. "Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou among women and . . . and . . . and . . . . What the heck did 'blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus' mean anyway?"

I don't know how other Catholic families handled a kid like me, but in the mid-70s at our house, you just memorized it. You didn't ask questions. And the fact that I not only wanted to know what "blessed is the fruit of they womb, Jesus" meant, but I also wanted to know why everyone seemed to assume that we were all sinners did not go over well, especially with my protestations that I was a good kid. That usually got a list of my shortcomings recited at me.

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Part One | Part Two | Part Three | Part Four | Part Five | Part Six
More is on the way (for really - this is all written out in a notebook, and I am still working on the continuation of A Smile).

Posted by Red Monkey at July 5, 2005 7:29 PM | Storytelling: She was, of course, supposed to be sleeping. | | StumbleUpon Toolbar Stumble |


Andy T. said:

Troublemaker from day one weren't you?

July 6, 2005 5:44 AM


richelle mignott said:

where can i find red monkey jeans online or what store can i go buy them from

July 12, 2005 6:52 AM


morinn said:

hehe... you've been through a lot in your life!
the emoticons are awesome!!

August 26, 2007 9:44 PM
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