Saturday, November 3, 2007

Faith Journal: First entry

A friend asked me to tell the story of my beliefs and how I became a UU. It might make a nice counterpoint to my more polemic pieces.

Here is a start:

Michael and I were living in Arizona in the 80's. We had met in Oregon but wooed and married in the hot desert away from both of our families. Not being part of a church was fine with us. Our wedding was officiated by a judge. I was a former Catholic and Michael grew up without going to church.

I got pregnant and had a baby boy. Motherhood was a surprise because it was so darned emotional. I fell in love with my son and used to wonder why they didn't write top forty songs about mothers and their children. Why all these songs about romantic love when maternal love was equally as strong and true? I was gaga. I was also working full time and was often tired, stressed and lonely for my Oregon family.

One day we went to a Catholic wedding that included a Catholic Mass. I hadn't been to a mass in 5 to 10 years but I knew when to sit, stand and kneel. The prayers and responses came out of my mouth without thinking. I beat my breast in time while I said " through my fault, through my fault, through my most grievous fault". My eyes began to fill with tears for here were the ritual words and movements of my childhood all in celebration of this lovely young couple. She wore a long white dress and was attended by five pink-cheeked flower girls. He was tall, handsome and gazed worshipfully at his new wife. Both families beamed at them from their respective pews.

When we got out to our car to drive to the reception, I burst into tears. Michael was aghast of course and wanted to know what was wrong. I told him about my strong feelings during the mass, about its familiarity and how it connected me with something I hadn't known I was missing. He listened and finally said "Well, if you feel so strongly about it. I guess we had better find ourselves a Catholic church."

That just made me cry harder, I lifted my face to him and choked out "But Michael, I don't BELIEVE a word of it."

It was only a few weeks later that we packed up our son, went exploring and discovered the UU church in Mesa Arizona.

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