Saturday, December 17, 2011

God Bless You

Okay, this is funny. I grew up Catholic.
 Well that isn't funny in and of itself, the story I'm going to tell you is. So, I went to Catholic School through 6th grade (the city I lived in at that time didn't have a private Catholic school past 6th grade). Wore the uniforms, went to church every Sunday, kneeled. A. lot.
Went to confession. Was an alter server. Puked in front of the ENTIRE congregation one time as an alter server when we were temporarily having services on a stage in a college auditorium while our church was being renovated. I haven't fully recovered from that embarrassment and have fully developed a phobia of throwing up as a result of that travesty (I'm serious, I'm convinced).

Had communion every Sunday and sipped wine out of the same goblet as the other 2320183 people at church. Forget sanitizer, apparently wiping the rim of a goblet with a white napkin is sufficient germ removal. Went through confirmation and was confirmed. Heck, I even ended up graduating from a Catholic Jesuit university, Marquette.

I don't suppose I was a good Catholic though. To this day I don't really "know" the bible. I am always amazed by the people who can open a bible when given a verse or a chapter and they know where it is, or at least know if it's in the front or the back of the bible. And people who can quote bible verses and such. Cool, but I was never that kid.
 I also feel like I don't know how to pray really. I talk to Him in my head and say prayers and stuff, but seriously (you can laugh, it's ok), I don't know how people stand up and do that. I'm learning though, I think. Catholics do a lot of reciting prayers and to me you sort of lose the meaning that way. This was always our dinner prayer:

So, whenever I'm around someone or with someone and someone prays differently, it always seems awkward to me. Not in a bad way, and not as much as it used to.

Okay, so that is basically my Catholic background. I was Catholic because my parents were. Not a bad thing, but honestly, once I was out of the house, I sort of stopped going to church. I felt like I had done my duty and deserved a break. It's not like I stopped believing in God or anything, I just didn't make going to church a priority. In college I went on occasion, but definitely not on a regular basis.

Fast forward to the present. My husband and I talked about things, I actually think he brought it up first, once we had our first child. We wanted to go back to church and have our kiddos grow up in a church. He isn't Catholic, and I guess I technically am/was, but I didn't feel like I was anymore. Not getting in to why, I just didn't feel connected to it. So, we went to a bible church. Holy cow. What a difference! I loved the music, and enjoyed the sermons. It was good stuff and I sort of liked it. It was a HUGE place and we really liked the preacher, but he ended up moving on to a different place and my husband wasn't as fond of his replacement. So, we moved on to a smaller church. We also liked this one and loved the music. The pastor is young and energetic, and funny. It's good stuff. We went regularly for a while, then would take off some time after the next baby came. And then the next baby. We just recently started back.

Some things that I'm still not used to:
1. The big screens, electric guitars, drum sets, keyboards, and feeling like you are in a concert. Quite a difference from the music at a Catholic service. But, I love it.

2. People singing and praying with their hands in the air. This was new to me and sometimes I feel bad that I'm not moved to want to raise my hands in the air and wave them around like I just don't care. It feels weird to me. I think about how I'm supposed to hold them and would they look weird being up there in the air. Is there a time when you are supposed to do this? Do you use your right, your left, or both? I keep my hands down, usually rested on the seat back in front of me. It's safer that way. This leads me to the next one...

3. The Amen lady.  We didn't have those at my churches growing up. There is one particular lady who goes. to. town. with this. She is full of Amen's, yeses, that's rights, uh-huhs and Praise God's. (I don't think those words need the apostrophe, but they look weird without it.. but they look weird with them too, oh well you know what I'm trying to say).

4. Baptizing adults. In the Catholic church you are baptized as a baby and water is poured on your had. As an adolescent you are confirmed and this is when you make your choice to be a Catholic (although I don't think it is really your choice, it's just what you do). It is strange to me to have adults do this. I haven't seen an adult baptism actually, just some pictures. I should go to one though as I've heard they are very neat to experience.

5. Being saved. This one hangs me up. As a Catholic, I felt like I had a spot in heaven, so to speak. But, now it seems like I have to be saved. Now, I'm not looking for any advice or criticism on this, I'm just in a quandry with it and trying to figure it out. I feel like I'm going to heaven (most days anyway), but it seems like I'm supposed to be saved before I can go.... Towards the end of every service, the pastor has everyone bow their heads and he says a prayer and asks people who want to have eternal life say the prayer with him (in their head). Then he asks people to keep their head bowed and asks the people who asked Jesus into their heart to look up at him and wave at him. He says, "Bless you" and keeps track of how many people have been saved. When he's done he has everyone look up and tells the congregation how many new brothers and sisters in Christ we have. It is pretty neat b/c there's always at least one and sometimes up to 10! So, I'm a nosy person by nature. I always peek. Like last Sunday there were several people who were raising their hands, three of them in the row in front of us. Towards the end of it, he kept asking and being sure he had counted everyone, sort of like an auctioneer at the end of closing on the highest bid (he was up to 8, I think). I was scratching my left eye with my pointer finger and looked up slightly b/c I thought he was done and was about to tell everyone to look up and give us the final count. Well we made eye contact and he added another one to his count!
He also said, "Bless you sister", so he definitely saw a girl that he added to his count. Now, was that girl me, or was it someone behind me?! I thought it was someone behind me.. maybe.. until when I was walking out of church with the infant carrier in my hand. He gave me a fist bump (remember, I said he was younger and cool), and said, "Bless you". Yikes.
So, now I think...
Except I didn't really mean to do that. And I'm still not 100% convinced he counted ME, it could have been someone else. Not sure how to find out and not sure if I need to bring an extra change of clothes to the next baptism service so I can be baptized since that is the next step!


  1. Funny...but not funny...but funny.

    Is this Catholic girl and (ahem) fellow MU grad going to have to bring you "home"?

    Seriously though...have you been back to a Catholic church? My friend did the "hand raising amen, I pick you" church away from the Catholic faith...for a while, but recently was glad to come back. She said she got lost in it all! ;)

  2. Your too funny and I feel so sorry for you and the vomitting thing. I couldn't imagine how embarrassing that must have been.

    I grew up in a very small Catholic Chruch, probably less than 100 people. I loved it. The house next to my parents house belonged to a local Nazarene church. One Sunday the pastor and his wife talked my sister and me into going. I was 6 years old at the time. He had us in the front row and did a fire, hell , and brimstome sermon....scared the daylights out of me. Now I am not saying all churches were/are like that but my hiney was happily planted at my Catholic chruch the next Sunday. LOL I really need to start going again. I don't live in that small town anymore and all the churches around us are I am a little intimadated to go. I am use to such a very small group.

  3. see, Im the opposite. I grew up with having to be saved, now Im marring into a (very) catholic family and I really just don't understand. sigh... Im sure we'll figure it out lol


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