Friday, March 07, 2014

Peace Be With You

 As a few people noticed in my Facebook post on Ash Wednesday, I'm currently in the process of converting to Catholicism.  Here's a bit about that.

First off, I'm pretty sure I know what your first question is, and it's what everyone asks:


Now, I'm not mad that people ask that, but it really got me thinking as to why that's the first question.  Religion is deeply personal, so to me, it's pretty ridiculous to change religions just based on someone else.  I think that you should practice the religion that's right for you.  If I was changing for Jon, I would have done that 7 years ago, so we'd be married in the church, kids baptized, and all of that.  But I'm not changing religions for him.  First, he would never ask me to, and was perfectly fine with me being Protestant and raising the kids as such our whole lives.  Second, I wouldn't change my entire outlook on religion based on anyone, husband or not.  

Anyway, with that out of the way, why am I converting?  To understand, you have to know a little history.  I grew up in a Baptist church with old, traditional hymns.  I then moved to a Christian church, with traditional hymns that slowly moved into a contemporary service.  As I continued attending Protestant services, I found that they became filled with praise bands, powerpoint shows, and pastors on headset microphones.  Words to new-fangled songs (I'm such an old lady!) were shown on powerpoint, but I couldn't sing them because I didn't know the music.  The services, understandably, in an attempt to gain younger audiences, got hip....and I didn't.  I realized in college that I preferred a solemnity to services that churches were moving away from.

So I married Jon, a Catholic, but never had any intention of converting.  It was too formal, too much, and I was sure there was a perfect church out there for me.  And I didn't find it.  We church-hopped in Boston and in DC, but I didn't find what I was looking for.  I realized at this time that Protestant churches are so different that I spent most of the services confused.  Stand up, sit down, form a prayer circle, yell out prayer concerns, stand up and introduce yourself, nursery, no nursery, every time I was so anxious about not knowing what to do next, I didn't spend the time in worship.

I still hadn't thought about converting until one night, while Avery was saying his prayers, I asked him who Jesus was (I mean, since we were praying to him and everything.)  He said he didn't know, and I told him we had a daddy in Alabama and a daddy in the sky.  His response: Daddy flies in the sky to Alabama.  True enough, but it hit me that my mission to find a perfect church meant that my children weren't getting a religious education.  I was being selfish trying to find a church that was perfect for me, but wasn't considering my children.  Now while I've said I didn't consider changing religions for Jon, being responsible for the religious upbringing of my children is a different thing.  So I started to think what I wanted.  Formality, seriousness of worship, a church where I know what to expect so I won't be anxious the whole service and could just concentrate on the service.  And then it hit me like a rosary in the face.  

So, I called the on-base priest, got in the class (RCIA) and on Easter, I'll be a Catholic, Hail Marys and all.  And I love it.  I mean, granted, I'm still spending a lot of time trying to figure out what's coming up next, but that will come with time.  And we want to find a church with child care.  And I can spend time in prayer like I want to.  And how about that Pope?  He's a cool guy, right?

And that's the gist, really.  I'm doing it for me, but my kids reminded me what I needed to do for them as well.  The kids will be baptized in a little while and we'll be well on our way as a Catholic family.  Thanks to everyone who's walked me through things, and especially my parents for their undying support!



Laurie Buckhout said...

I like. I'm very happy for you.

Alison Beach said...

Thanks, Ma'am! I'm happy, too!