So I sit here and ponder, delve, dwell and soul search. It is has been a ridiculous week because of the garage sale and a multitude of other things too (by the way....never again the whole garage sale thing). This summer has been one of many new experiences and so far....a well used summer. Having a well used summer though means that little time is wasted on things like relaxation, sleep or even thought and most of the time is spent working, moving forward and trying to accomplish (thus the whole garage sale thing). It can leave a body as well as a mind, feeling somewhere between exhausted and comatose. That is where today finds me. I guess when I get this tired....my mind tends to make up for lost time and wander, drift, question and ultimately try to sort through that which I usually have no time to dwell on let alone even give a real thought to. Today's dwell is appropriately church. Please forgive any ramblings because at this point....today is all about free flowing wordage or more simply put....if I think it my fingers will type it.
In my exhaustion, I did not get up and go to Mass. As Catholics we are taught that Mass and Holy Days are required and to miss them is a sin. Now I know many will scoff at this idea and many who have left the church will completely use this as one of the reasons they found the Catholic church to be stifling or wrong or at the very least one of the top three excuses why they left. For me though....I look at the rules, teachings and/or beliefs of Catholicism or any religion for that matter to not be a jail cell with a lock and key but more of an invitation to anyone who chooses to live with those guidelines set in place. I get very frustrated with those who leave the Catholic Church and call themselves "recovering Catholics" as if somehow they were forced into servitude to God, Christianity or the Catholic Church and they had to fight to get out. I want to and actually have asked such people just what they are recovering from. After all the teachings of the Church were put in place long before any of us were put on this earth and have stayed the same for the most part since Jesus chose Peter to be the very first Pope. The Catholic church is not a requirement but more of a anyone's welcome as long as you follow the teachings. If you choose to not follow the teachings then you are really not living life as a Catholic so why be there and why put the blame on the Church when it is ultimately your choice to live outside the faith? It is really no different than anything else in life. If you join a club....most clubs have rules, beliefs, whatever....and if you don't adhere to them then you are not considered a member of the club. If you choose not to follow the club rules are you a "recovering" club member? Is it the clubs fault that you did not want to follow the rules? How about your work place? Most work places have rules, standards, etc. If you don't follow the rules and get fired.....is that the work places fault? Perhaps you see where I am going with all of this (or maybe not), but I think the point I am trying to make is....if you can't follow the rules, beliefs, etc......set forth by the Catholic Church...then why blame the Church? Why not just move on? I guess it is easier to look to blame others than it is to admit that you just couldn't cut the rules!
I myself have not always been the most obedient Catholic where rules, beliefs and doctrine have been concerned. Never though have I blamed the Church for my choices. There have been times that I have not gone to Mass for rather lengthy periods of time not because I felt the Church was wrong and I was right, but because I was not living according to what the Church asked of me and therefore I felt hypocritical for going to church and "acting" as if I was. Now let me make something clear here.....I never quit having faith, I never quit believing in God and most of all......I never felt as if the Catholic Church wronged me because it's rules did not mesh with the life I was choosing at that point in time to live. I simply felt as if I was disrespecting Gods rules and His house when I wasn't living by the church teachings and doctrine. Some will argue here that IF the rules weren't so strict then I wouldn't have had such a siege of conscience that kept me from church, but I will rebuttal with the fact that it is not up to the Church to bend for me. If I can't accept and live by the teachings of the Church then I simply should not be there. Again....rules should not be broken to cater to those who want to live/act in accordance with their own whims and desires. Besides...there are a million and one religions out there, if one doesn't agree with your personal desires....surely another one will.
So back to my original train of thought. I did not go to Mass today. Part of it has to do with exhaustion and part of it has to do with what is going on inside of me right now. I am not losing faith nor do I blame anyone or anything (especially not the Church) for what I am feeling right now. I am simply in a place where I am trying to make sense of everything and maybe because I am tired or because I am in a new place in my life or maybe just because I haven't really had time to do a lot of soul searching of late....but I am just standing back and catching my breath. To be honest....at this point in my life, I have a pretty good idea of what I want (or at least think I want) and I kind of know what works and what doesn't in my life, but when things are in constant change, sometimes you just have to stand back and see how all the pieces are falling. Maybe that is what I am doing. I love the Catholic Church. I love the history, the belief, the doctrine and most of all the faith I have been given because of what I have learned over the years. It is because of this that I want to be the best Catholic I can be and right now....I don't feel like I am. There is something inside of me that is missing and I am struggling spiritually right now....not because of doctrine, rules, etc....but because of me. I know that once I reconcile what is going on in my head, my life and my heart.....then all will fit again....but today I am at loose ends. No...I am not questioning God, my church or my faith......I am simply questioning me.
And this folks is what happens when I am tired and the brain and the keyboard try to blog unchaperoned! ;)