When I was sixteen, I made the mistake of confessing to a really old Italian priest my deepest and darkest secret at that point. You have to understand that until that point, the Catholic Church’s god was the only deity I ever knew. I was brought up catholic and I didn’t know anything else.
It’s funny how I still remember it until now – kneeling in the confessional, torn, until the last moment, between wanting to confess and wanting to continue keeping a secret. I was sixteen. The need to tell the truth – and wanting to be “clean” on my sixteen birthday – won.
And what did I get out of it? I got an old Italian priest ranting in his little confessional box, asking me in clipped tones how impossibly stupid I could have been. That was the day I decided that if I ever wanted to ask for absolution again, I would go straight to god and skip the priests.
From being a girl who served every single Sunday in church (and spent a lot of weekday afternoons there, too), I became a girl who wouldn’t step inside a “house of god” unless it was a) absolutely necessary (i.e. it was part of an academic requirement, or if someone died) or, b) under duress. The next time I stepped into a church, I was 23, I think. My Aunt Janice died and the family held a service for her here. I know there must have been a couple of other moments here and there, but I honestly don’t remember anymore.
Am I religious? Hell, no.
But I am faithful.
When I tell people I’m a walking contradiction, I wasn’t exaggerating. I am faithful. I believe there is a higher power – I just don’t buy into the whole “Our God is the only God” bit. On this note, not many people know that I pray the rosary on a daily basis.
True, it’s a recent thing for me, but I found that the repetitiveness of the whole thing puts me in a different state of mind. It’s not the actual words that calm me down, but the act of saying it over and over again. What I found to be profoundly perplexing was the fact that when I would say my personal prayers, after I’ve said the entire rosary, I usually end up crying.
My friend Jutes (our pet name for each other and, yes, this a long story and will be told at another time) believes that this is the beginning of my journey back. Maybe. I’m not completely sold to the idea yet. And yet I wonder why I insist that when – if? – I do finally decide to get married, I refuse to do so anywhere but in church. I pray for several people – 6, now 7 – and the more I do it, the more I realize that the peace that I pray for so much is what I get when I do that.
Then, a couple of weeks ago, I began having some problems with my love life (are there any other kinds of problems worth writing about asides from those concerning matters of the heart?) or whatever you call it. Needless to say, I lost the peace I was feeling. Then one day, I realized that my prayers – or wishes, as I prefer to call it – were more for me. Without knowing it, I started praying for me… and apparently, that brought me no peace.
So these days, I pray for them.
I pray that she be continued to be blessed with strength and wisdom. I pray that he figure out what he really wants so he can do what makes him happy. I pray that he grows up and becomes the man that he can be. I pray that he finds happiness… even if being happy means not being with me.
And I pray that I find peace.