My Life As A Lost Sheep
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Politics and Activism

My Life As A Lost Sheep

Sometimes it isn't easy to just follow the flock.

My Life As A Lost Sheep

I was born into a Roman Catholic family, my mother and father were both raised Catholic and I was initiated into the church since a very young age. Roman Catholicism is known for its militant adherence to its tradition and laws.

But this piece isn't just about the Church's stance on abortion or sex, it's about my story.

Ever since a young age, I had a dark sarcastic streak. This did not fare well for me in a Catholic school where religion classes were often strict and the blade of grass that stuck out was often mowed down by the professor. When I was in elementary school I was still optimistic about following my faith. I went to church almost every week and was an active participant in the church band. Then I got sick. really sick and the skies darkened over me.

During my middle school years, I became depressed and my hatred flowed without abandon. I isolated myself from friends and family. My father was never as optimistic about Catholicism as my mother, and around this point in my life, I could see the cracks in his enthusiasm for the Church.

Despite not talking with him much, my dad got me interested in philosophy and dark comedy. Neither of these interests would prove beneficial in surviving Catholic school. I felt truly alone for years. I spent all the time after classes doing work then meditating and reading alone. Solitude washed over my mind like a raging river, I fell under and breathed the icy water into my lungs.

My memory washes ashore on the isle of my high school cafeteria. It was freshman year and I had finally found friends who didn't mind the darker parts of my personality. High school had given me the opportunity to meet so many new people, but it also let me see the darker aspects of my religion.

During 'Morality and Prayer', my freshman year religion class, my teacher had a distaste for me and my questions during class. My sarcasm didn't help things, but I served my detentions anyways. I did not really mind the detentions and the write ups, I usually deserved those, but the way I was being treated disturbed me on a more personal level.

When it was time to debate in class, I was always made to play the part of the atheist, the outsider, the heathen. I remember vividly the way my teacher would lay out examples during class starting her instances with such phrases like, "Let's say, oh I don't know, Chris is going to hell" and then go on with an example of some moral fallacy that got me there. Some simple jesting in the classroom to be sure, but there was something behind her malevolent smiles and detention slips that singled me out specifically.

It dawned on me that I had been the black sheep all along. There were reasons why my questions about the faith and about the Church were met with hostility. My faith was something that I had always kept private, but to the people around me I was perceived as an amoral trouble maker and treated as such.

The sense of community that most people experience by participating in religious exercises was always absent for me. I enjoyed praying and learning about the Catholic message of mercy and love, but as I looked around the aisles all I could find were cold shoulders or pontificating adults.

Over time I began to dread Mass and the waste of time it represented to me. I didn't want to be with these people I grew to hate, I didn't feel anything anymore. Going to services was just another box I was supposed to check to get into heaven. Whatever that was, whatever the church stands, for now, it's not for me. It may work for others but to me, it felt hollow.

What is the point in going to mass if you don't give a shit about it? Why are we judging women for getting abortions while right down the road families are starving and in need of aid? We sit in our multimillion-dollar churches mouthing the words to a hymn about helping others and make no effort to take that mission to the streets. To me, it is a waste of time.

My Mother was angry when I first expressed my distaste for Catholicism. It was a tense moment. It is never easy when you and one of your parents disagree on something of actual substance. She tried to yell at me. She tried to guilt me and turn me back, but my mind was made up.

I had been born into this world an outsider, one that was not meant to fit into the Church as I knew it around me. It isn't that hard to tell when you aren't welcome in a place, and it was clear I had overstayed my welcome in the Catholic system.

It took me a long time to realize I did not have to stay in a place where I was harassed and accused all the time of not having "Faith". Words cannot express how hard it is to tear yourself away from something as daunting and integral to your family as the church, but for me, I believe I made the right choice.

I believe it is right to help other people, and as long as I try my best to make the world a better place I think it will be fine. I don't know or claim to know much about the divine, but I believe that if God is up there He or She isn't petty enough to throw you into hell for swearing or missing mass. My internal faith is something that changes with me, something that I prefer to keep to myself. I still wonder what the world would feel like if I had a better relationship with a faith community, but this is my path now and I am not looking back.

The one thing the Church and the world need now is Mercy. The simple virtue of understanding human failings in a time so mechanical and robotic should be more prevalent.

When I was doubtful or stubborn I was met with an icy rebuke, I had issues and was left alone in the darkness. I could not reconcile the differences between my hope for peace in my faith and the callousness and disdain from the faithful around me. It is too late for me, but perhaps with a bit more understanding others in my position with find it easier to reach the light.

I am always happy to talk about the finer points of Catholicism for anyone interested and I would love to hear your thoughts on this topic as well so feel free to reach out!

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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