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.
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.