I started life as an agnostic. In grade school, I asked my mother what religion I was. She said, “Just tell people you’re Protestant so they won’t ask any questions.” My parents never once went to a place of worship or talked about God, although my mother told me that I should memorize the names of the books of the Bible so that I could answer trivia questions. I went to a couple of Mormon services with a friend. I prayed to God once after I found a Christian comic book at an airport. I memorized a couple of prayers when I was bored in a hotel room.
In junior high, I claimed that I was an atheist. However, one of my favorite books was a Christian novel called Lost on the Trail. I think I became an atheist because I dated someone whose father claimed to be deeply religious. One evening, his father came to my front door, called me a slut, and told me never to see his son again. I had never even kissed a boy.
In high school, I became agnostic again. I wrote a lot of poetry that expressed a sort of nature-based spirituality.
In my 20s, I read a biography of e.e. cummings and learned that his father was a Unitarian minister. It sounded interesting, so I visited a Unitarian Universalist church and attended for a few years. Eventually, I wandered away.
About seven years ago, I was struggling with a difficult situation I had tried to resolve through the usual means: journalling, therapy, contemplation, and so on. One day, I experienced a spiritual revelation and knew I had to say the Hail Mary prayer. I barely even knew such a thing existed. So I looked it up online, said it three times, and the problem magically went away. I visited a Catholic church and soon after converted to Catholicism.
About three years ago, I stopped attending church. I told myself it was because I didn’t want to see certain hurtful people, or that I wasn’t feeling well and couldn’t attend, or that a different church needed me to sing for them, or that I didn’t want to see certain priests, or that I could just watch a service on EWTN.
Now, three years later, I’ve grown tired of feeling guilty because I haven’t been to church in three years. I still feel a strong connection to Mother Mary, but I feel confused by everything else. I feel ashamed that the fervor I experienced in the early years of my conversion has apparently waned, and I’m embarrassed to be admitting this here where I’ve interacted with wonderful devout people. But the truth is the truth. When I first became interested in Catholicism, it was hard for me to admit that I was interested, but now it’s even harder to admit that I’m not so interested anymore.
Matthew 13: A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants. Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop—a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.
I never thought I would turn out to be bad seed.
If you are a person who has read what I write because you believed me to be a good Catholic—I’m sorry. 20 months ago