Monday, April 13, 2009

Spirituality, my son

For many reasons, which I'm still trying to figure out for myself, I have not pushed churchgoing nor any kind of religion in my home.

I was baptized at St. Lucy's RC Church in Scranton. I had a godmother who held me while a priest poured water and oil on my head. My parents did the dutiful thing and sent me to Catholic School, where I wore my plaid jumper and green knee socks daily. I had reading, math, and religion every day. I memorized the Act of Contrition in second grade, and wore a lovely white dress and veil while I made my First Communion, accompanied by another godmother. Eight grade ended in two grand celebrations - my confirmation (where I had a new godmother, or "sponsor") and graduation. I then spent four years in a Catholic high school, burgundy skirt, knee socks, English, Math, History, and Religion. I even "married" one of my classmates and together we cared for our hard boiled egg-baby for a week.

I stopped going to church sometime in college; nobody was around to make me go. I felt no guilt. Then, when I met my future husband, a Presbyterian, I started thinking about church again, about rituals and obligations. When I tried to plan a church wedding, to please my mother more than anything, I was denied it because I did not "belong" there. And that was that.

Since then, I've done a lot of reading and thinking about religion. I've been living a certain way, conscious of how I see things, acknowledging what I know and what I don't. But, I don't want to ever have to say what I am, or where and how often I go to worship. And as a mother, I don't feel I can fairly and justly point my child to one specific place.

I just try to be good. I love my people deeply. I respect and forgive, though it may hurt when I do so. I am awed by the swaying of the trees, the bubbles that form as I wash the dishes, the familiar smell in the crook of my husband's neck, the shine in my hair when the sun hits just so. I wonder at my body's gradual deterioration and healing, my son's agility on the soccer field, the power in my mother's embrace, the taste of the spiciest food. I'm humbled by the soft skin on the tops of my father's hands, and my cousin's growing belly, full of life. I am struck by the intensity of crossing a bridge while the loudest, rockingest song plays in my car, and the magic of the spider who weaves her art across my front door. I'm blessed by a chorus of birds outside my window, the hot shower that wakes me, the coffee that warms me.

I close my eyes and say "I know. This is here. This is You."

Larry, at Crowned with Laurels, kicks my butt at writing and beat me to it, this topic of religion. Go there to see what he thinks about it.


This Brazen Teacher said...

Your post made me think of one of my favorite quotes from Abraham Lincoln:

"When I do good, I feel good. When I do bad, I feel bad. And that is my religion."

Nice post, and insightful into who you are.

La Jibara said...

Hi, Cassy! You sound so much like me here! I actually had to do a little speech at our church a couple of years ago, and it sounded a lot like this! I should blog about it someday. Hope all is well!