Sometimes I feel lost. Maybe that’s the way of the convert, at least at first—there is so much to discover, and you try your hand at all of it. You memorize all the prayers and read all the books. You don a prayer shawl and attend retreats; you sprinkle a few “God bless yous” on greeting cards to try it out. Some of it sticks, but most of it doesn’t. One of the first things I learned about Catholicism is there’s a lot. There are a lot of different beliefs, and a lot of different ways to experience them. As long as you stick to the dogmas—like, Jesus being God—you can cling to whatever method of worship you like. That’s what I respected, that there isn’t just one way to love God. No one’s lecturing you about what you must do.
That also makes it difficult. I came from a place where everyone more or less did the same thing, but now there are options. Where do I fit in? Who are the people I most closely relate to? What kind of parish, prayer life, devotion, works for me? I have ideas: I like a more traditional Mass; I am drawn to contemplative prayer; I enjoy reading Scripture and commentary on it. I know what draws me closer to God, and I know what doesn’t work as well. I just haven’t yet found my place in the Church with it.
As I’ve gotten older, my patience isn’t what it used to be. Maybe it’s because I know I won’t live forever, or I see my age steadily ticking toward the next decade. But I feel the need to figure out everything now. I’m here, I’m Catholic, and I know what works for me (more or less). So why do I still feel like I’m drifting? Why did six months go by without a blog update? Though I’ve found a home in the Church, I’m not settled. I didn’t realize it at the time, but I’ve been bouncing around different belief systems and, more obviously, parishes. I have moved a few times, so the latter was unavoidable. But even when I returned to what I saw as my “home” parish—the first one—everything had changed. Did I grow out of it, or did I just grow into myself? Was that simply my transitional home, helping me get acquainted with Catholicism? Maybe, but it’s hard to accept such a big change. Especially when being there was itself a big change from before.
I need to settle into my faith. Even this blog’s purpose has shifted over the years. It used to be about discovery and the wonder of the Church, but became less personal after Confirmation. Of course that’s going to change, but I want to get back to that wonder. I always shy away from things too personal, because I’m not good at sharing myself. But I shouldn’t fear my thoughts and feelings. I’ve had a lot of ideas for blog posts over the past few weeks, but it felt a little like lapsing in prayer: once you forget one week, another week is no big deal. Then it becomes a month, then several months, and next thing you know, you don’t remember how to write or what you were going to say. So today I wrote about nothing in particular, and that’s a good place to start. Like sitting down after a prayer hiatus and just saying, “Hello, God, I’m here again.”
Hello, everyone, I am here again.
I don’t need well-researched updates or outlines. I just need to come here and talk. Talk about what I’m thinking, or what I experienced that week, or something neat I learned about the Church. I’m not here to teach anyone anything. I’m just here to share my experiences, and share how awesome God and the Church are. So let’s get back to it.