As you anonymous, and most-likely non-existent, readers are probably aware, the last two years have been very difficult for me on a personal level (my career is doing great). I’ve done a lot of healing, but am not yet a completely whole person. There is this great big hole in my being that was filled with something that I’m now lacking: Faith.
Growing up Catholic has been a big part of who I am, and I believe that the church and the love and (sometimes) patience of my mother has made me into a decent human being. I believe that had I been given to another family, and not raised in the church, I would have been….well…very far from a decent human being. A very bad one, in fact. So the loss of my faith has been soul shattering, to say the least.
The loss of my faith has been very hard for me to deal with, and as just thinking about it can make me cry instantaneously, I believe this is the biggest hurdle I have to deal with in order for me to pull out of my depression. Yes, I’ve discussed this with my therapist, and she’s tried to help me with this, but…I don’t know….it just seems to fall short somehow.
This will seem a bit random, but I do have a point in bringing this up. Have you ever seen the movie “The Exorcist”? It popped into my head while I was driving home from work last week. I was crying because my thoughts had wandered somehow to this aspect of my life, and for some reason I remembered a scene in the movie where Father Damien was talking to his best friend (also a priest) and told him that he was having a crisis of faith.
Priests are encouraged to have degrees in some area that may help them counsel members of their congregation in their times of need (this was also touched upon in the movie), and so I had an idea. I called up my old church and asked to make an appointment with Msr. Swett, who has been the head priest of my old church for a long time. He agreed to see me the Saturday after Thanksgiving when I told him why I wanted to speak with him. Therapy hasn’t been helping me in this aspect, maybe a priest could.
I was not unaware of the irony of my phone call, though not for the reason you may think. Msr. Swett transferred to St. Phillips when I was in high school. He wasn’t the warmest of priests, in fact, he didn’t seem to have a personality at all. This made it hard for us to connect with him, and thusly he was the butt of many jokes. We made fun of the way he said a certain part of mass, we still do to this day actually, and I was quite mean to him as a teenager because, well, I was a disrespectful little bitch.
I wasn’t afraid to call him; so many years had passed that I very much doubted he would remember me at all. I was correct in this assumption, but even if I had been wrong I knew he would see me in my time of need. He is, after all, a priest. So it was, with more doubt than hope in my mind and heart that he could really help me at all, that I woke up Saturday morning, got ready for the day, and headed over to St. Phillips.
I walked into Logan Hall and found Msr. Swett, and he listened to me, asked me questions. I told him about how I lost my faith, and the main points of thought that reasoned it away. His advice was to go back to mass. He said that faith is an emotional thing, not a logical one, and that I had closed myself off to the emotional aspect of religion. He said that mass might help me re-connect, but that it would take time.
I wasn’t surprised by his advice, and yet I felt better after speaking with him. I think he understood this aspect of my problem better than my therapist. She understands it in a logical way, or that’s how it comes across to me. It made me wonder if she had any faith in religion, or if her schooling and internship didn’t really cover it, or didn’t give her enough experience in helping people cope with it.
Church. Mass. This is going to be hard for me for reasons I might go into at another time. Let just say that as a young child I became disillusioned with the church, though it had no effect on my relationship with God. I’m going to have to go church hopping until I find one suited for me, I guess. I don’t discuss religion with anyone really because I believe everyone’s faith is between them and whatever God or Supreme Being they may choose to worship, and so now I’m hesitant to ask for suggestions on churches to try out. Do I go to a Christian church? or do I go back to a Catholic church?
I think a christian church would be more suited to my taste, but I may find comfort in the ritualism of Catholic Mass. The thought of going back to church makes me nervous, and not because I’m afraid I’ll burst into flames when I enter one, or that my skin will start to burn. I think I’m afraid that it won’t help and I’ll be incomplete forever. What do I do then?
I’m tired, and its way past my bedtime, but I will part with this: After my meeting with the Msr., he gave me a hug and walked me to the door, and as I walked away he said, “You will be in my prayers.” This made me feel a little better because I believed him, and its nice to know that someone out there is praying for you.