Lonely

At RCIA on Thursday, we had a “discernment” night, where we had a chance to ask any questions we had that hadn’t been answered yet, and to share overall how the process has been going for us.

Most people were effusively positive about how RCIA and the path to Catholic conversion has been for them. JP was so excited about having an understanding of his faith he had never had before, and expressed it well.

When it got to my turn, though, I teared up. So many parts of this journey have been great- I’ve been able to look at faith on a deeply spiritual and intellectual level, and have found fulfilling answers to things that have been nagging at me for years. I know how to find the tangible Jesus in this fallen world. But this process has also been very lonely for me as well.

the_waiting_place.jpg
The waiting place is a lonely place too.

I’ve had support from my own and JP’s family.  We have met and are keeping in touch with one friend who converted from Protestantism, but that is really the only person I’ve spent time with who knows what this is like. Only a couple of my friends know, still. One friend I’ve told is predisposed against Catholicism, and I’ve had a few take it too lightly, not really understanding how significant this has been and how much has gone into it. When and how to have these conversations with the rest … I don’t know. We are attached to our small group at the Protestant church still because we haven’t officially revoked our membership, but that is coming, and won’t be an easy conversation to have. Nearly all of my friends are at the Protestant church, and the idea of leaving my community behind is still difficult, no matter how convicted I am to change. I’m wondering how I’ll balance maintaining those relationships and create a new community in our Catholic parish when they don’t have set small groups or other “programming,” for lack of a better word, that helps you get to know other people in the congregation. The idea of starting from scratch in getting connected to a new church community makes this introvert nervous.

As exciting, and fulfilling, and interesting this whole thing has been for me, it has also been a lonely road. I know that Christian history is full of people who have made much larger sacrifices than I for their faith, and that is comforting to some extent. But I’m still here, living my experience, and feeling a bit in no-mans-land at the moment. I need to wait until Easter Vigil to be a full member of the Catholic community, and I have one foot out the door at my Protestant community. I will be thankful when all is done an settled. When the conversations have been had.  When the transition has been made. But being content in “The Waiting Place” is never easy, and I struggle with it as much as any.

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3 thoughts on “Lonely

  1. Lorelei, I know this is hard. I also know you’ll stay the course you’ll be blessed beyond measure. I’m equally as certain you’ll bless others along this new journey. It’s hard to imagine how it will be. It’s hard to wait. The feelings are real and I can relate to the sadness you feel in the in-between place. You’re leaving what you’ve always known and you’re entering a new and significant chapter of your faith journey. I often try to look upon unknowns like this with the wonder of a child. Curiosity doesn’t remove all of the angst, but it helps me avoid an over- abundance of anxiety. I’m excited to see how your journey continues to unfold.

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  2. Dear Lorelei,
    Yesterday Natalie and Ben joined us at church/mass and then brunch. Natalie shared with me about your journey and I asked if I could follow your blog. I have off of work/school today so I sat down with my morning cup of coffee and while watching the snow gently fall this morning I read your blog. After about an hour and a half, I think I’ve read all of your entries. Wow, what a journey you are on! My heart is smiling and leaping for joy after reading everything. I am so happy for you. I know it has been difficult for you but I hope and pray the end result will be worth all of your efforts. The topic of “Religion” and “Faith” brings forth many emotions. I have learned so much about my faith, being Catholic. I turned 60 this year. It has caused me to reflect about life, about God more than at any other time in my life. I think it’s because I’ve come to realize, that I have less time left to live in my life. My life is way more than half over.
    I have been Catholic all of my life. I have been Christian all of my life. For me, they are one in the same. Before we moved to De Pere, when Dan, Natalie and Chris were little, they went to a Catholic grade school, St. Mary’s Hales Corners. At the school masses, the pastor and our dear dear friend always had a motto for the kids at the opening mass of the school year. Then he would add to it every year a new part. It’s been a long time, but I have never forgotten part of that motto. “We are called to be contagious, Catholic Christians under the umbrella of love”.
    I am more proud of my faith than ever before. I was a kid in the 50’s and 60’s, when mass was still said in Latin. I was a kid, who grew up in a time where people really labeled the different faiths and you didn’t “mix” Lutherans, Protestants, Pentecostal’s, Methodists etc with one another. The past year I have said to a number of people and my husband that I am so proud of the way our faith has become/evolved more into one of less judgement on other faiths, and more about finding and celebrating our likenesses than our differences. More about realizing that God is Love. Our parish actually has celebrations/services and get together’s with several of our neighboring churches/faiths. Lutheran, Protestant, Catholic, and we celebrate what we do share, what we have in common, our love for God and his people and what we as Christians can do together. We pray at mass on Sunday’s for our Jewish brother’s and sister’s when they celebrate their holy days and times. We pray for our Muslim brother’s and sister’s during their holy days and times. I love that! An old song that comes to mind is “They will know we are Christians by our love, by our love. Yes they will know we are Christians by our love”.
    Our present pope has done so much good for our faith and for the Christian community around the world. He has called us to be people of mercy, of love and action. Called us to be Jesus’ feet and hands like you said. Called us to be less judgmental and more loving. Be more about our common ground, not differences.
    I just want to say, I am so happy for you, JP and your two beautiful children. Not because you have chosen to become Catholic. Happy for you because you have chosen as as family to walk together in a faith. You have chosen to share a faith and stand together as one. No mixed messages for your kids, they will have roots of love, a solid foundation. A foundation that will be accepting of others faiths, not judgmental. Hopefully you will be part of the new generation to help bring back belief in faith, religion, traditions and values. Belief in God and live the mission of being Contagious Catholic Christians under the umbrella of LOVE! Not long ago Time magazine had an article about the “Millennials”, how they are really the first generation to not have a solid religious affiliation and how that is affecting the world. Your journey is proof that God lives, that young people are still searching. I love that!
    I look forward to reading your blog, sharing in your journey. I support you and your journey and will keep you in my prayers. I do feel so happy for you and your husband, your marriage will have a deeper, more spiritual connection than ever before. It will serve you well as you go through life, it will be the glue that holds you together in the good times and bad. Life throws some real trials and tribulations our way, I don’t know how I would have gotten through them without my/our faith. It brings a deeper meaning to everything.
    Peace to you as your continue your journey!
    Cindy Winter (Natalie’s mom)

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    1. Hi Mrs. Winter! Thank you so much for taking the time to read about this journey we have been on. Your words are such a huge encouragement to me after a very difficult conversation yesterday, that still has me feeling down about it. One of the many things that is drawing me to the Catholic faith, is this overall sense of graciousness towards people of other belief systems. I completely agree with everything you said, and as we are patiently wading through this particular phase of the journey, I look forward to the time when everything is complete and we are able to enjoy the fruits of our faith without the burden of this transition. 🙂 Much love to you and your family!!!

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