Radiance

I was once a sweet, innocent little Catholic schoolgirl, who seriously considered becoming a nun.

It didn’t pan out.

This old Polaroid picture shows me in the 2nd grade, happily making my First Communion, circa 1982.

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This dress was the bee’s knees.

You couldn’t find a kid in my class of peers who was more devout than myself in this picture. I was completely hooked into believing everything about what it meant to be an obedient Catholic. I said my prayers and went to confession like clockwork once a week.

“Bless me Father, for I have sinned. I kicked my little brother in the nutsack. I’m like, really sorry.”

I owned four rosaries. One of them was from Fatima. Another one was glow in the dark. (It really did glow.)

Once I entered the higher grades, we had to go to mass daily before lunch. Then, of course with my family on Sunday.

Yes, I believed with utmost certainty that God existed and that Jesus was an extension of him (although I was always a bit confused about the whole Holy Ghost thing.)

I believed that as long as I was a dedicated Catholic, God would have my back.

Then, two weeks before I was to start the 7th grade, my dad died right in front of me.

Let’s just say that I haven’t been right with God since.

I honestly cannot recall the last time that I walked into a Catholic church. The one that I attended is closed and the school building is the only thing being utilized right now. It made my eyes tear up when I saw everything crumbling and decaying from lack of attention when I went for a visit to my childhood neighborhood a couple of years ago.

My complete faith in anything right now is shaky at best, but I’m going to be honest with you guys about something.

I’m spiritually bereft. I’m like a raw nerve, overexposed and emotionally exhausted.

But, fear not, my loyal friends. My mama didn’t raise no fool and I think even my dearly departed, extremely Catholic father would be pleased with my desire to find something that works for me.

I don’t ever expect to be as joyful as that little girl up in that photograph, but I could sure use some of that radiance again.

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34 thoughts on “Radiance

  1. There are all kinds of gods. You just have to find the one that speaks to you (metaphorically, I mean–if god was really speaking to you, that would be a whole different ballgame!). Or maybe not some kind of god–maybe just a sense of the power of the universe around us, and the energy everything has within it. Sorry about your father–I can’t even imagine.

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    • “…maybe not some kind of god–maybe just a sense of the power of the universe around us, and the energy everything has within it.” Yes.
      Thank you, it was many years ago, but I can still shed tears if I try hard enough.

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  2. I remember going to church, Sunday school, saying prayers ect… I was always the kid that didn’t know your bible people or any of the stories. Even at a young age the bible and God couldn’t keep my attention. When I found out my mom committed suicide and my sister was thrown from a horse and ran over and killed all in the same letter wrote by my Grandmother, that was the day I completely lost all faith… and have no compunction to get it back.
    I understand totally where you are coming from, I think if people truly looked deep inside them selves they could find their inner God,(your, your own God).Nobody has anything over yourself.

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  3. I grew up totally devoid of any religious upbringing. I’m happy about it. My dad was a strict Luthern turned Athiest and my mom was….well she believed her own way. As I do. I do think there is a ‘higher force’, I just don’t believe it’s a ‘god’. I think it’s within each of us. We all carry something inside that’s a spark to bigger things. Hard for me to explain. When I was abused as a kid, sexually or emotionally, I drew myself inward and found strength. When I went through my depression, again, I withdrew inward and found that spark and concentrated on it. No, I’m not religious but I am very spiritual. I believe all living things have feelings, a ‘soul’. Or why live?

    So whether you find your strength in a god or in a more spiritual thing, it’s within only you to find it. I guess I’m more into the Native American way of thinking. Treat every living being with respect and kindness. And I try my best to do that. I slip sometimes. Well, ok, lots of times. 😉

    I guess you just have to find your own way, Mer. You are already close as you feel the need to find it. Some never feel that need. ❤

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  4. I personally don’t believe in a God, but find it just as hard to believe in people for the same reason – lack of evidence as to why I should. You will eventually find something to believe in though, whether you believe in yourself more or something you do. Belief goes far beyond religion – faith is the more accurate term for it I guess. People associate faith with religion far too often, but having faith in something is incredible.

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  5. I’m now kind of wishing I’d not read all the comments on here as it feels a little bit like there’s been a session of Christian bashing going on. I know that wasn’t what was intended, but when there’s a lot of “I’m not going to church because” or “I can’t believe in the Christian God because” type comments, I’m not very good at dealing with it. Not when they’re all in one place.

    One of the problems with the Trinity – Father, Son, Spirit/Ghost – is people keep trying to explain it in human terms. It would be like trying to explain a computer to a cave man. Our understanding isn’t there yet, so tit’s fine that you never understood the Holy Ghost when you were a kid.

    I keep bugging the Almighty to look after you, Merbs. I’m sure that he must be, even if it doesn’t always feel like it at your end. And I’ll keep on bugging the Almighty on your behalf because that’s my job.

    ❤ to you

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    • It wasn’t my intention to bash Christianity and I am sorry that it hurt you in any way. What I was really trying to explain was my need to find a place that feels like home and it’s not the Catholic church.
      But I respect everyone’s faith and please don’t stop bugging the Almighty about me.

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      • It wasn’t you, it was other commenters on this post. No one was being deliberately malicious, but I’m a bit sensitive to negativity towards the church of any denomination, because the main reason a person has a bad experience is because of people and not God, and a lot of the time the people causing the bad experiences are abusing their power and the teaching of the church for their own gain.

        You’ll find your place, Merbs. You’ve got the right sory of enquiring mind that is open to finding what is out there and you’re strong enough to walk away if the BS monitor starts beeping!!

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      • You are the last person that I would ever want to hurt, Louisa. You’re a beautiful soul and I truly love you.
        I’ll find some sort of refuge…I will. And…I still pray. Daily. xx

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  6. What a beautiful picture, a place for your heart to safely return. I keep pictures of my younger self up to remind me that that is the person I need to be taking care of, it helps. It’s so incredibly unfair, what happened to you. I know I’m sorry doesn’t cut it, but I am. You may never know that particular joy again but I bet you’ll know new joy. Perhaps when your daughter becomes a mother and you hold your grandchild for the first time, or her wedding day. There’ll be days, moments in time. Thank you for sharing this post. It’s reminded me that better things are to come. Sending you hugs❤️

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  7. Mer, you and I have talked about this. FYI That dress was the bee’s knees by the way… I think you could’ve been a nun too… a scary MerBear Nun! Naw… you’d have been a cool Nun. God doesn’t make bad things happen. We are human, we are fallible, our bodies are fallible, our minds are and we have free will! We get to mess up as many times as we want. You are loved MerBear. You are loved. Now straighten your crown and walk on!~Kim

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  8. Bff, you look adorable! I had my first Communion in 1970. Maybe ’71. We had to wear white gloves and white little purses. Sheesh. Isn’t that so me now? I have pics but they are all slides. We could do the gloves because there was no Host in your hand then. Vatican II had been, uh, put through or whatever they do, but a LOT of priests didn’t practice at first.

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