My faith has always been an element of my being. My childhood often seemed painful and humiliating. Although I often retreated into a fantasy world of stuffed animals, Cabbage Patch Kids, and seedy Hollywood biographies of movie stars from a bygone era, somehow life didn’t seem abysmal because somewhere inside of me I had the assurance God loved me and could understand my being. My parents were very involved in a Birmingham area non-denominational but “spirit- filled” church in the ’80s, but seemed at loose ends after the church folded in an ugly split. My brothers and I were sent to a Christian school and my mother searched for a church where she would feel at home and be recognized as a prophet. I tried speaking in tongues like my mother, but could only utter the phrase, “Cah-shee-na-na-na” and didn’t quite feel comfortable doing it.
I became active in a Trussville area church that met in a converted bowling alley. I joined the church dance team and learned some interpretive dances. I was part of the youth group, which mostly consisted of eating snacks and watching Veggie Tales. I met my husband to be in 1999 and soon left for the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa. He is from New York City and has a Catholic background. My friend and college roommate was also Catholic and I went to a few meetings of the UA Catholic group with her.
After our wedding and move to Huntsville, my husband and I attended mass occasionally, but I had not yet converted. After our daughter was born, the issue of baptism came up. We renewed our vows just before the baptism because we had not been married in a Catholic church. I decided to start going to RCIA, the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, that August in 2004. I told my husband that if I felt uncomfortable or disagreed strongly with Catholic teaching, that I would not complete RCIA. I felt very comfortable right from the start and really enjoyed the meetings. My husband went through RCIA with me because he had never been confirmed in the Catholic Church, although he was baptized as a Catholic. The process is completed at Easter vigil, which was very exciting for me. I fainted after having to stand for a very long time because I was pregnant with my son, but I recovered and received my first Communion as a Catholic.
The Roman Catholic faith seems a good fit for me. I feel a sense of unity and tradition among believers and also a certain amount of spiritual freedom. A Catholic may express his or her faith in many different ways, from service to the community, to praying the rosary or even speaking in tongues. While I am still finding my path in life, I feel that my church and my faith will help guide me.