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Beliefs: Where Has My Faith Gone?

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Bless Me, Father

Lately, I’ve faced some big situations that have made me question things, life, relationships, and my beliefs. The most pressing being, “Where has my faith gone?” Do I still even believe? What about God and Jesus? The Saints? Or perhaps I’ve placed my relationship with each of them respectively on pause, just momentarily while I figure everything out? With the exception of one year, I went to parochial school my entire life. I was a firm believer in Catholicism, a “ride or die” Catholic, and like everyone around me, while I tried to live Christ-like, I have been known to stumble. Needless to say, throughout my life I’ve often found myself behind the curtain of confessional. Then came Christmas.

 

The Nativity Story

Last Christmas, Kiddo asked me to tell her the story of Christ’s birth. Without hesitation, I proudly began the narrative I had practiced and knew by heart for decades. As I listened to the carefully chosen words as they fell from my mouth, I felt a million bricks fall from the sky, and the air sucked out of the room like a vacuum. “Did I really believe the story I was telling my daughter?” It sounded like a giant lie, a work of fiction. I had never thought of it that way before. I was taught to “believe.”  Was I seriously going to make my daughter “have faith,” and “believe” in what clearly made absolutely no sense to a grown woman? Or anyone with a mind above a school-aged child?

 

Let me break it out down for you. If my daughter (or any teen for that matter,) came home between the ages of 12-14 and said she was pregnant with child, BUT a.) still a virgin, and b.) had a 40+-year-old boyfriend, (maybe even in his 50’s, by some accounts,) you would freak out. And I don’t blame you one bit. OH! And I forgot, an archangel named Gabriel came to visit her in her bedroom one night, and told her the baby would be the Son of God. Would you believe it for one second? I didn’t think so. That is what The Bible states and we were taught in grammar school about the relationship between Mary and Joseph.

 

Forgiveness or Doom + Gloom?

Being a conservative Catholic some may even isolate her, expect her to keep the baby or give it up for adoption, and even shun her because they don’t want there own children exposed to this kind of behavior. It doesn’t matter to them that this is the most un-Jesus like behavior. Forget about forgiveness, it’s time to teach a lesson and make them repent for their sins! Well, which side of the coin is it?

 

Now, what about the people and her family that supported the teen mother in question and the story? Chances are you’d think they were crazy cult people, wouldn’t you? I would! How does any of this make sense? I felt as though I was lying with each and every word as I recited the nativity story to my daughter and it felt absolutely awful. How is lying Christ-like? How is any of this Christ-like? Because Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, said so? Who was the fact checker anyway? This was a bazillion years ago, how do we know this isn’t one giant fairy tale orchestrated inside the imaginative mind of this teen girl, Mary?

 

We don’t. We’re instructed to “have faith.” To “believe.” I want to be crystal clear, I believe in something, but I’m not sure what it is. And if there is indeed a Heaven, which I sure hope there is, I am 100% fine explaining this thought process to St. Peter at the pearly gates. I’m sure I’m not the first, certainly won’t be the last, and I’m Catholic, so all is supposed to be forgiven, right? Good. Because I cannot deal with the “Choose Your Own Adventure” religions where you pick and choose which Words of God jive with your lifestyle and which ones do not.

 

How Does Any of This Even Make Sense?

While I will admit, I do certainly believe there is something much bigger than us, whether it be God, a force, or some kind of energy, I get an awful pit in my stomach believing that everything I was raised to believe in anything except a fairy tale. I’m all for faith, hope, God, and believing, but I’m much more into leading a kind, inclusive life where I am not more superior than my peers just because I’m Catholic.

 

Growing up, the Catholic Church always seemed so exclusive to me, the farthest thing to inclusive. It was a badge of honor, and there was definitely a hierarchy amongst the parishioners. There was no denying it. The parking lot was overflowing with Mercedes Benz, Cadillacs, Town Cars, and BMW’s. The pews had more Ralph Lauren plaid and Lily Pulitzer florals than brunch at the yacht club. And I always found the connection peculiar. It always came down to the closer the family sat to the altar at Sunday mass, the more they were trying to show off. They wanted to be visibly seen, not there to worship because you could do that from the back of the church. These were the same families closest to the priests, having them over every week for Sunday dinners, and vacationing with them at the beach at their vacation home. How is this a coincidence?

 

For the record, this post took many months to write. I kept revisiting it as memories would come back. This was the most difficult personal post I have ever written, and I know I’m not the only one that feels this way. I just have the platform to share it. I don’t think I have ever written about religion before, and I certainly never discussed politics, but now it is time. I will once and for all and never mention the man with the DJT initials again on this blog.

 

My God Doesn’t Punish

The sad thing was I grew up fearing God. I wanted a loving God so badly, but the Catholic teachings created something much more bipolar. God was either loving and trusting, or vengeful and punishing. He would get mad and condemn sinners, but his son, Jesus, would forgive them and eventually be put to death for it. That God would send me to Hell if I sinned or wavered from his rules, but in the same sentence, I was taught to believe in the Father, the Son, the Holy Spirit, and miracles like turning bread and water into fish and wine.  We are taught to pray to Jesus who loved everyone, for help. He was kind and helped all kinds of people in need. He was a loving, gentle soul, ready to stand up and defend men, woman, and children alike. The same people his father was going to send to Hell? So I guess they were only lucky if they lived near Jesus who could save them? Now if that’s not a huge hypocrisy between fearing God and embracing him when you need something like help, then I don’t know what is.

 

I want to believe. I swear I do. I really do, but common sense is making this really hard.

 

In college I had a roommate tell me, “My God doesn’t punish. He’s not a vengeful God.” Now THAT made sense. HER God (which was MY God,) practiced what he preached. Followers were to respect the Ten Commandments, act like Jesus, and treat all mankind, men and women alike, with love and respect. This is something I can get behind and celebrate.

 

The Republicans Made Me Do It

By endlessly preaching about issues like abortion, divorce, and gay rights, and I set out on a mission to prove they were right. I took their advice to “Think for yourself!” “Educate yourself!” When I think back to my friends and family, my entire life the Republicans were yellers. It was their way or the highway. Looking back now, it is clear the same individuals I’m thinking of were scared of change and everything simply boiled down to money, abortion, guns, and /or what their husbands or country club peers would think. Oh, and in that order. These were the people that told you what to do, while the Democrats I remember just seemed nicer. Positive. Hopeful. Welcoming. Non-judgemental. Bottom line, with the exception of their stance regarding abortion rights, Democrats always came across much more Catholic and Christian than the conservatives.

 

By taking the Republican’s staunch advice to “See for myself,” and “Do the research,” it shined a huge spotlight on their hypocrisy. It was no wonder they were defenders of religion. They didn’t want to be wrong, so they would rather make up excuses. It kills me to say it, but if the writing is indeed on the wall, then Republicans are greedy, racists, and elitists hiding behind religion only when it suits their case. Donald Trump Jr. is getting divorced, well divorce is a sin in the Catholic church. But Hillary’s emails, right? One word: DEFLECTION.

 

The day after Trump was elected I left the Republican party. I had been a registered Republican for 23 years, but in all those years, not once could I vote for a Republican with good conscience. There was NO WAY I was going to vote for Sarah Palin no matter how much I wanted a woman in the White House. I formally and officially applied to switch parties because I could not live with myself being associated with these types of people. I was scared the months leading up to Trump taking office. I woke up every morning wondering how all these people I grew up and surrounded myself with could possibly come up with excuses for this man. It was now a conscious thing. I sure as hell wouldn’t play a game of Monopoly with these yokels I once considered friends, why would I trust them with my future?

 

My new voter registration card arrived…get this on December 24th. If that isn’t poetic justice I don’t know what is. I took it as a sign. My gift on the eve of Christ’s birthday in the form of a DNC card. Even Jesus knows Trump is a bully fraud.

 

Christ Would Never Be a Republican

I’m not saying he’d be a Democrat either, but it’s safe to say he’d swing much farther left than right. Democrats don’t scare me the way Republicans do. I could never imagine my Catholic Christ, the one I was raised to believe in, as a Republican. No way! My Jesus and God were Democrats through and through. They helped the poor, are not pro-war, forgave everyone, and did onto others…well you know the Golden Rule. And don’t tell me it’s because it was a different time then, because you’re absolutely right, but a hypocrite. Different times and eras are exactly why all the things you are trying so hard to save and preserve need to change and adapt with the times. You can’t pick and choose.

 

There Is No Way You Can Be Christ-Like If You Voted For Trump

Period. Pray and praise all you want, but you can’t hide from God or Jesus? If you believe, then it’s not possible. If you have your hopes up for leaving this life, and heading to the pearly gates of Heaven, and you voted for Donald Trump to be President of the United States, then you better start praying for your soul real fast. Because if you read your Bible, he’s not making it there.

 

But I Have Lots of Gay, Black, Immigrant, Fill-In-The-Blank Friends

Are you kidding me? Clearly, if you are not ready to stand up for THEIR rights then they are merely friends of convenience. They make you feel good, you are close to them, but it is one-sided, they are disposable to you since their feelings and rights don’t matter enough to think they deserve the same as you. Read that sentence again, carefully. Then listen, get off your high and mighty horse, and dust off your Klan’s hood, then realize for once and for all you are no better than those you consider “friends.” Because if you are a Republican they secretly know darn well that you don’t care about them. With one vote for Donald Trump you just stabbed them behind their backs and agreed to take away their rights with the push of one sorry vote to protect your bank account statement and unborn babies. Not their living babies.

 

One of my oldest, dearest, and best friends in the whole world is gay. My husband jokes by saying if one of us called the other in the middle of the night, the other one would come with the shovel and help bury the body. I can’t imagine my life without him, and I can’t imagine life without his husband and child. All it took was for me to meet and care enough about one person. ONE. And not even one I wasn’t blood-related to for me to change. This is no way he doesn’t deserve the same things I have, or my daughter has. Stop the madness. Don’t tell me you have “lots of gay friends,” and vote Republican.

 

Don’t Tell Me You Are Not Racist

This weighs on me a lot. More than anything else. During the election, I unfriended all but two people on Facebook that openly supported or voted for Trump. I couldn’t bear to associate myself with them. You can’t consider yourself a good person if you voted for Trump. Trump voters clearly have a Jekyll and Hyde side to themselves and the only thing good is they probably haven’t committed murder. Post-election I certainly don’t want to make friends if you voted for him and still support or defend him. If you think you are a good person, then I choose to steer clear of you because the person I became friends with would never have sunk so low. They wouldn’t have done this to their gay friends. To their black friends. Or to their friends with immigrant family members here because of DACA.  Since you voted for Satan, I’m building a wall around you just like the border. That’s what you want, isn’t it?

 

If you for one moment do not support our American football players that quietly and peacefully protested by kneeling to show their solidarity then you friend are completely racist. If you say you are not, then let me ask you, which is more important? A non-living symbol like the American flag or National Anthem? Or an actual HUMAN being beat by law enforcement? Seems like a no-brainer, right? It’s horrible that you will seek punishment for animals before you protect another human.

 

Despite What You Think, Lots of Men Refrain from Locker Room Talk

If you really believe “all men” speak that way, then I feel so sorry that you have never experienced a relationship with a man that didn’t. You allowed it to happen. You blew it off. You are basically condoning and accepting your own sons to doing it by saying it’s “not a big deal.” Your President bragged about “Grabbing her by the p*$$y” and you dismissed it. Forgave him, AND put him in the most powerful seat in the WORLD. I have zero respect for you. Without even realizing, you gave everyone a front row seat to life inside your home and how you are willing to be treated by your husband and your son(s).

 

Now Let’s Be Clear: This Is a TRUMP Thing

I support our military. More than you know. I support all of our soldiers and I am sincerely grateful for what everything they do, protect us from, and stand for, they are true patriots. But, I also believe our soldiers should be taken care of, during and after their military stint. Not show off with a parade. Shame on you! Give that budget to veterans for rehabilitation and jobs.

 

And no, I wouldn’t be complaining about other Republican candidates or questioning your vote in other elections. I promise you, we are not talking about a Bush, Romney or even a Rubio or Kasich. It’s Trump’s behavior I’m appalled at you for condoning by voting for him.

 

But, There Is Also Sarah Palin

The moment I heard this woman speak I lost all hope of casting my vote for the Republican Party. I mean cmon.  This is the first time I remember seeing and hearing smart, educated women all around me drink that crazytown Kool-Aid.  They were openly supporting her and I lost all respect. People? PEOPLE??? Are you serious? Blink twice if you are brainwashed, being held captive. Do you think we forgot what you said? I’m all for a woman in The White House, but that candidate was Captain CRAZY Pants. While I applaud the Republicans for backing a woman, there are so many better-qualified candidates. Hmmmmmmmm. Maybe there aren’t since you followed that performance with a REALITY TV-SHOW HOST…let THAT sink in for a minute.

 

Oprah 2020

From what I’m catching in the media, it looks like Oprah isn’t interested in pursuing a career as the 2020 Democratic hopeful. But let’s hope another candidate like her does in fact run. Oprah Winfrey is kind, smart, and for those keeping record, has been in a steady monogamous relationship for decades. Oh, and she has never gone bankrupt because she knew the right people to hire to run all of her successful business ventures. Quite the opposite of what we are experiencing as a nation inside Trump’s White House. Have you not seen the turnover in this administration? It’s been 1 year, 83 days, 4 hours, 40 minutes and 28 seconds since he was sworn in and we’re still working out the kinks. When are the training wheels going to come off of this term?

 

Can You Be Pro-Life If You Are Pro-Choice?

You absolutely can be. That’s what I am. Personally, I don’t agree with abortion, but I also don’t believe we should have the right to tell someone what they can and cannot do with their body. Am I against abortion? I certainly don’t like it and would prefer if women didn’t use it simply as a form of birth control. I also don’t agree with late-term abortions. I would love to change their mind and consider adoption, but that’s not my personal business or my choice.

 

I also feel in the case of rape and other health issues, a woman should make this decision with the support of her doctor’s and partner.

 

Keep Your Guns, No One Wants Them

There is a HUGE difference between confiscating weapons and wanting stricter gun laws. Why is this such a big deal and not a no-brainer?

 

The lives of children are much more important that you protecting your firearms. Did you ever stop and think for one second that there WAS an armed official at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.  and he did NOTHING except hide during the shooting instead of trying to stop the shooter? Well, that’s what the video surveillance from the school that afternoon shows complete with audio.

 

Celebrities DO Have the Right to Share Their Opinions

Last time I checked they pay taxes. HUGE amounts of taxes. Much more than you might even see in a lifetime. So just like I’m using my blog as my platform, they have the right to voice their beliefs as well. Listen, just because we have Oprah, Ellen, George Clooney, Lee Daniels, Meryl Streep, Robert DeNiro, Pharrell, Magic Johnson, and Kerry Washington, openly supporting the Democratic Party, and you have Scott Baio, Ted Nugent, James Wood, Tom Brady, Stephen Baldwin, and John Voight, supporting the RNC, don’t throw a titty baby tantrum because we have the more fun guest list. Get a good flippin’ candidate and maybe we’d have a chance at being friends again. But you’ll have to admit Trump is a creeper first.

Here’s a Challenge:

Think of your favorite celebrity. If you are ever out and about, and meet your favorite movie star, rock star, singer, sports hero, would you be proud to tell them who you voted for without fear of being judged? Because if you think they wouldn’t care, you’re wrong. 

 

The Bible Also Says…

  • No eating assorted shellfish. I guess this doesn’t apply to the Italian Catholics who celebrate Christmas Eve with a Feast of the 7 Fishes.
  • Men shouldn’t cut their hair or trim their beards. Those with a clean cut shave better grow some facial hair stat!
  • Don’t Plant More Than One Type of Seed. So get rid of your garden.
  • Wearing jewelry – Sorry all you kids wearing your wedding and engagement rings, but the same Bible you are picking and choosing what fits clearly states you are destined for Hell if you wear jewels.
  • Don’t even THINK about going near bacon or getting a tattoo because those are one-way tickets to H-E-double hockey sticks.
  • Cheeseburgers – yep, off limits. Not Kosher.
  • You are also not allowed to get married after a divorce.
  • Playing American football is a big no-no.

And no, you cannot pick and choose what fits your lifestyle, or deem “obvious,” so I guess I’ll see you in Hell based on this Bible list. Save me a seat.

 

So What’s My Relationship With God Now?

It’s really good actually. This election has made me want to be a better person. I told you I want to believe in something. It’s important to, and I’m raising my daughter to believe in something higher up as well. I pray for a better country, a better POTUS, I pray for guidance, I pray for strength, and I pray for the souls of everyone who voted for Trump because they are probably leaving that tiny fact out of the confessionals.  I’m praying for their children because of the future mess they got us in due to their vote. I guess they will have a lot of explaining to do when they come face-to-face with St. Peter. 😉

 

Review overview
3 COMMENTS
  • Flyingkids April 16, 2018

    Great read. Lots of meaningful insights.

  • MJG May 24, 2018

    I rarely read your outstanding blog because you fill me in on the phone but I followed your FB link this morning. I am assssuming I am the gay friend in your story (since your only allowed to have ONE!) Since we grew up 5 miles away from each other with the same judgmental NJ Italian Republican family and friends I also saw the hypocracy. Even going to catholic school I never had a close relationship with the church because I knew I wasnt really wanted for being gay but I realized that to deserve respect myself I owed that same respect to every other person who was “different”. If someone strives for THAT I feel they can’t get closer to Jesus’s main theme of love. I think the bible is the greatest work of fiction ever written but when used for good, which is not always the case, it can uplift humanity a little bit at a time. Even as our son attends a catholic elementary school I struggle with how to discuss my thoughts on religion in general. I dont want to force my opinion on him but I do want him to see all sides of faith including no faith. xoxo

  • Kristine Dworkin May 24, 2018

    This is great Nicole! I too grew up Catholic, attended parochial school , the whole nine yards. In 5th grade, I was put in detention for asking how Adam and Eve could have possibly populated the world when they had two sons! My Dad sprung me and gave me the following answer, “You know how Mommy says men are terrible at taking phone messages? Well, men wrote the Bible,. There were other women around during that time but, they forgot to write them down!”

    That aside, I agree with you on so many points here! It is scary where our country is going but at the same time it is emboldening me to be mindful and purposeful in combating the disturbing things that are taking place.

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