Sunday, November 22, 2009

Weird spiritual epiphany

There's really two separate but inter-related posts that I want to write on some spiritual issues. Man, I HATE it when you compose a BEAUTIFULLY worded blog post in your head but when you sit down to write, it just doesn't flow the same way. Some of the most poignant posts I've written are ones where I get an idea in my head, the concepts and sentences and phrases start forming and I stop whatever I'm doing and go to the computer and start writing.

Since I decided recently to anonymize my blog, I started looking around for some areas where I could be a contributor. I decided to look and see if there are any catholic mom clearinghouses. I stumbled across a few but thought they were too ... too ... typical of what the stereotype of a Catholic woman would be. They were about daily devotions and had a lot pf pictures of statues of Mary. (I mean, I like Mary as much as the next Catholic. She's cool - being the mom of Jesus and all. I ask her to intercede on my behalf when I particularly need MORE of some sort of motherly trait that I imagine she possessed - like humility and patience, for example. But I don't necessarily have pictures of her all over.) I didn't get the sense that I was like "them." I feel that way at my own church too - always setting myself apart from "them." To be sure, factually speaking, I am different than they are - I have two children (not six), I don't homeschool, I work outside the home, I don't go to daily mass, heck, I don't even make it to Sunday mass every single week. Because they are all friends (or at least they seem to be) I find opportunities to remind myself of how different they are from me.

In an unrelated course of events, I've been spending some time reading some Mormon bloggers recently. Man, not only are those Mormons good at geneology and scrapbooking, they are also good at blogging and crafting and decorating their homes. I expected them to be all "yeah, I'm mormon because I was raised that way" and was surprised by how many of them embrace and are so proud of their religion. It struck me.

When we went to a bar mitzvah a couple weeks ago, I noticed how the different "sermons" included questions in them. I thought about what a difference that is between the Jewish faith and my own - the importance of asking questions. It struck me.

So, today, we went to church with my parents in their affluent suburb of Birmingham, Alabama. Their church is new and large and lovely and traditional, and well lit, with gorgeous dark wood pews and padded kneelers. People actually dress up there - about half of the men wear suits and the ladies wear actual outfits - not just a shirt and pants as I typically do. The music is goregous, the people are kind, and since there is a nursery there weren't many small children in the church. Since my parents helped corral the girls I had more opportunity for prayer that I normally would, and with the beautiful music I found that I was able to have some really introspective time for thinking while I was praying.

While I was there a thought struck me, and I whipped out the little notebook I carry in my purse and jotted down a couple notes.

Instead of worrying that other people think that my family is not "Catholic enough" I am proud of the Catholic woman I am. I am proud that Mr. Quimby and I used artificial birth control for a few years during our marriage and I am also proud that we used natural family planning for several years as well. I am proud that using NFP allowed us to delay a pregnancy for several years and I am profoundly grateful that it assisted us to conceive very quickly when we wanted to. I am proud of my (very limited) knowledge of Catholic history and Church teachings and I am proud that I question the church and her teachings. I am proud that I am teaching my children of the importance of having a kind heart and doing actions that will please God. I can show people - both Catholic and non - that there is a different way to be a faithful Catholic other than the stereotype.

Who cares if "they" don't think that I am Catholic enough? I know that I am a believer and am grateful that God knows what is in my heart so WHY. DO. I. CARE what they think? They are them and I am me.

And as for me? I am proud of my faith. A proud Catholic woman. wife. mother. servant. questioner. shepherder of my family flock.


dc604 said...

very can share that with the girls when they get older and need deeper understandings of why they're supposed to believe certain things...

Rachel et Natalie said...

and we are proud of you

Ryaanne said...

We love you just for you. Period.

{sue} said...

I feel like there are religious people who set themselves apart from society at large and live perhaps as a higher example to others.

Then I feel like there are those who live right in the muck of life, struggling with questions of faith and childrearing in everyday life. And providing an example to those who are in the muck with them.

Happy to be in the muck with you.

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