Losing My Religion

by Susan Pogorzelski on April 4, 2010 · 20 comments

Life is bigger
It’s bigger than you…

REM, “Losing My Religion”

It’s Sunday night. Easter. It seems somehow appropriate that I’m writing this post today, of all days, though I’ve been thinking about the subject for weeks now.

I find myself once again asking questions, again wanting to learn anything and everything about the world. I find myself again searching for a purpose, searching for an understanding…

Trying to figure out where I belong.

Faith is one of those things that I always believed was deeply personal and not necessarily meant as a subject for debate. But I’ve since realized that I’ve recently undertaken it as a type of spiritual journey to figure out what I believe in and where I stand.

Right now, I’m just not sure.

I grew up Roman Catholic just as my parents did before me, but with a Jewish best friend, I spent many Friday nights throughout my childhood watching as her family observed Shabbat. I attended mass every Sunday, eating cheerios and coloring in my books until I was old enough to sit still and actually listen to the priests and their sermons. I mouthed the words to repetitive prayers, not knowing what was being said but secretly loving the vocal rhythm and the soft murmuring of the congregation around me.

When I was seven or eight, I had my first Holy Communion and was thrilled because that meant I could participate like all the grown-ups did and eat what I thought was a cracker and drink grape juice (imagine my surprise when I found out it was actually wine). Sunday nights meant hour-long CCD classes for the next few years in preparation of the holy sacrament of Confirmation. I learned the history of the Bible, I recited the prayers, and I even attended youth group events and sang in the children’s choir.

When we turned thirteen, I went to my friend’s Bat Mitzvah and watched her read from the Torah. That Spring, I was Confirmed along with more than a dozen other parishes from the area in a huge event over which the Bishop presided.

That was the last mass I attended.

Over the years, though my belief  in religion faded, my spirituality only continued to blossom. And while there were times when that belief wavered, when anger and pain clouded my personal faith, there remained, still, a lingering sense that there was something greater than even ourselves, that there was something timeless and beautiful and full of hope and purpose.

My country is the world, and my religion is to do good. – Thomas Paine

Growing up as I did, I know that my beliefs are intertwined in Catholicism and Christianity. Yet, there is so much more that I believe in and can’t quite explain. I believe in karma, I believe in fate, yet freewill, and I believe that I am closest to God in nature. I believe in balance and harmony and doing unto others as you’ll have them do unto you.

In trying to put these personal beliefs into words, in trying to understand where I stand, I’ve begun studying world religions. Ok, so I’m reading The Idiots Guide to World Religions, but it’s a start. And while  I’m finding that bits and pieces of various religions speak to me, there’s not one that I completely agree with.

And so here I am, feeling like I’m on a journey to understand my spiritual self and my place in the world.

Not entirely sure where I fit in.

Not entirely sure that I want to.

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