I don't have many practicing Catholics in my family. I truly do not know how I have managed to stay Catholic. I certainly have doubts, and teachings that I struggle to understand. I have also certainly experienced the resentment and misunderstandings that others carry concerning the Catholic Church. In the words of Stephen Colbert:
"I love my Church-- warts and all."
There were two events in my childhood that lead me to seek God and to understand Church teaching. These events might not feel like anything special to anyone else, but they were comforting to me. They also stood out. There was something happening, a feeling, that was different.
The first involved my fifth grade teacher and my grandma. I had a hell of a year in the fifth grade. Fourth grade had been hard, and I only made it through because my teacher cared about me. At the end of the year, there was some sort of a test we were all given, and I was placed in the Extended Learning Program upon entering the fifth grade. It meant that I would be spending time in the sixth grade classroom for Literature instead of Reading class. I was introverted, maybe a bit shy. It was incredibly hard to leave the comfort of the students I had been in school with since Kindergarten, even if it was just for an hour or so. My fifth grade teacher was a little nutso, I soon discovered. She was an elderly nun, and lived on the property. She would often talk about the children she had taught in the past that she loved, would leave us alone in the classroom to work independently while she went to lay down, and she would get physical with me if she felt I was out of line. So, despite my introversion, getting to leave her classroom was a blessing.
Some time after Thanksgiving of that year, I was told that my grandma had breast cancer. I was terrified to lose her. My relationship with my teacher was not improving. It was then announced that she would follow our class to the sixth grade. I fell apart. Another year with her? I didn't know if I could take it. My parents gave me the option of going to public school. I am not sure which scared me more. So, I decided to bargain with God. If He let me keep my grandma, I would stay at my school. I repeated this pledge constantly. I stayed and she is still with us. I've known for some time that my pledge probably had little to do with my grandma surviving, but that pledge is what started my prayer life. It sent me on my way to know my faith.
|My forever home parish.|