For the last few years, I’ve been in nothing short of a crisis when it comes to my faith.
I’m a cradle Catholic with 13 years of Catholic education. My grandmother still lives in Ireland for Heaven’s sake. She used to sprinkle the car with holy water before we left on road trips. My mom’s family prayed the rosary so quickly everyday it sounded like they were speaking in tongues.
Yet, like many people my age, I have issues with my Church. I love my Church. I respect my Church. I feel at home there, and yet I don’t. For years, I’ve struggled. I’ve battled against some of the doctrine, the rules, the fundamental beliefs. I’ve sat across the table from priests and other church leaders and asked for more explanation, better answers, and more clarity. I haven’t gotten it.
I’ve thought about leaving. That felt like surrender. I’ve thought about staying and raising hell. That seems counter intuitive (you want to raise hell at church? really Katie? really?)
I’ve wandered. I’ve strayed. I’ve struggled. I’ve gotten angry. I’ve gotten really, really sad. I’ve thrown my hands up in the air in total frustration.
A year ago, I had a baby. A baby GIRL. I felt such pressure. It was time for the crisis to be over. I really, really needed to figure it out. What do I believe? What is true for me? What will I teach her? What will I tell her? How will I guide her?
Two weeks ago a friend of mine suffered a ruptured brain aneurysm. She’s young. She has two young boys. She’s an amazing friend, teacher, wife, mother, sister, daughter, Christian….soul.
Without thinking, I ran to God. Without over analyzing, I fell at God’s feet.I never thought about doctrine or rules. For two weeks, I have cried , begged, bargained, pleaded, screamed, and sat in total awe.
I realized that I do know what I believe.
I believe in God. I believe in love.
There is a loving, compassionate, hopeful, healing force within us and that moves among us. That is God.
There is something that connects my soul to every other soul on this planet. Something that makes me cry when I see starving children, makes me fighting mad when someone abuses a child, something that moves me to action when people aren’t treated justly. That is God.
We were sent to this place to love each other. That is God.
God is love.
All kinds of love, in all forms, for all people, in all places, with no limitations. Love that does not understand age, race, gender, borders, sexual orientation, or disability. Love that does not see or respond to prejudice, intolerance, or hypocrisy. God is love.
My faith crisis is over (for now). The work, the exploring, the digging, the fine-tuning is far from over, but the crisis is over. God is love. That’s what matters most. That’s what I’ll tell Caroline. When she feels love, she knows God. When she gives love, she shares God.
For those of you that are much farther in this journey than me, I am happy for you. I even envy you a little. Be glad that you have the nitty gritty figured out, but just give me some time to do my own work in this. Don’t shout at me and tell me why your way makes the most sense. Don’t look down on me because I’m 32 and I don’t really have many answers. Just love me and love each other. That will show me that at least I have the first part right.
God is love.
Please continue to pray for Jana Callahan. She will be in surgery tomorrow. I believe in God, Jana. I believe in love. I believe in miracles. I believe in you. Keep fighting, girl! I love you!