Oftentimes, I find myself wondering, questioning. My heart is preoccupied by the concept of religion, which is something I did not anticipate being a problem in my life. See, I thought I had things more or less puzzled out; I thought I knew where I stood in this great cosmic mess that is reality. Had you asked me, six months ago, if I would ever again question the nonexistence of a God form, I would have scoffed and said, "Of course not, that's ridiculous; God is dead!" Or something somewhere very along those lines. Yet I find myself on the precipice of attending my first RCIA - Rite of Christian Initiate of Adults - this Wednesday. I have somehow shifted from a borderline atheist, to someone exploring Catholicism. How is this even possible? Have I been so gripped by nostalgia, by the desire for there to be a Creator, that I have become blind to the logical side of the universe? Am I confused? Is it something else, entirely? Is God real? Is He the one behind this, calling me to a church that does seem to genuinely resonate within my being?
I remember when I was younger, when to me there was no reality outside of the one presented at church. I remember being so young, too young to understand, and being absolutely petrified of the book of Revelation, of the things written there. Because, see, I didn't doubt that it would happen, I didn't doubt that Jesus would come back for us, and that, for a period, the Earth would be plunged into a sort of Hell. All of the literal fire and brimstone and etc was utterly real to me. There was no question in my mind, and that persisted well into my teens.
I remember a church camp I went to one summer, where I was so enveloped in the feelings there that I believed myself to be called to the ministry. Nothing seemed more important than supporting my God and spreading the word of my God. I truly believed I was destined for that role, in whatever way it might see me. Children's ministry, I hoped. That was what I wanted.
Somewhere along the way, and I hate to say it was with the death of my Great-Grandparents, but it was, I lost faith. I allowed myself to discard that which had always made me so strong. And I can confidently say that I no longer believe that religion makes a person weak. Believing in God does not make a person weak, just like believing in nature, or the Goddess, or Allah, or any other deity/thought form/what have you, makes a person weak. Maybe religion wasn't the only thing that made me strong, but it would be a lie, it would be an offense, to say that it didn't help. It gave me a certain amount of grace I don't believe I possess any longer, for good or for bad. But as I was saying, somewhere along the way I lost that faith. And now I wonder if it isn't too late to restore it.
And yet, I feel as though I would be betraying some part of me, by returning to church, in fact by entering into a new, much more rigid doctrine. I feel that I would betray the person I have been for the past, well, near to ten years. Because I have been that atheist. I have been combative against Christians. I have mocked and ridiculed religion and those who take it seriously. I have said so many things simply to get a rise from people. And I feel it would be a blow to my pride to admit that, maybe, just maybe, I do believe in God.
Mayhap there's too much going on in my head and heart right now, but I've begun to pray again. Nothing structured, nothing on my knees or anything. Just quiet contemplation while I'm lying in bed. So far... I don't think I've heard anything, which I don't necessarily expect. Yet, perhaps the genuine inkling, that actual wonder, is a sign of sorts... But I don't want to grasp for truths, I don't want to see them where there are none. I want only to no longer feel as though my actions are a betrayal to those I know, that I will not be ridiculed for the choices I may or may not make.
And yet, would I not deserve it? Because certainly I've done enough, I've said enough things, I've been the combatant more times than I would like to admit.
I guess, at the very least, I'm no longer going to make fun of people because of their beliefs. I'm no longer going to challenge anyone, and I'm no longer going to make snarky comments. I don't know everything, and who am I to say what does or does not exist? I'm just a human, a kid, really, desperately holding onto this planet as it turns. I'll never understand it all. I just... Wish I had more people I could talk to about this. At least in that, I know the Church will be able to help me. Regardless of if I ultimately convert or not. They'll help me. And they will not judge me.
Can I say the same about my friends and loved ones?
I'm not so sure.