Friday, February 24, 2017

R.I.P. Rene

I was raised in the Catholic Church. My father took my two brothers, my sister, and I  to confession on Saturday nights where I would try to think of my worst transgressions of the past week.
Then I would leave the confessional, say my "Our Father"'s and "Hail Mary"'s and be absolved of my sins so that I could take communion the next day at Sunday mass. It was a ritual. A way to show respect for my community and my God.

As I grew older, I became very involved in the Catholic school that we enrolled our daughter in. I went to the children's mass on Friday mornings rather than Sunday mass. I lost my confessions through attrition, and a belief that there must be something more than the rote rituals of Catholicism.
All of that was literally decades ago. Since then I have studied other religions. I've had many long conversations with people who thought differently than me, tried yoga, meditation, and unconditional love to name a few. Mostly, I have just tried to follow the golden rule of doing unto others as I would have them do unto me. It's a simple rule, right? Just be nice. Don't hurt anybody. Do the best that you can. Help people. Respect our differences. Contribute to society. So simple, yet so complicated.
Life gets in the way. I get hurt, feel alone, disposable, disrespected. Then what? How simple it is to turn my other cheek? Simple, but not easy. What is easy at these times is to hold onto the pain and turn it into self-pity.
I've been through more than my share of trauma in life. I've always managed to pull through, and after a time, make my self better and stronger for the experience. My pearl of wisdom is this: don't wallow in victimization. If you stay too long, it will consume you, skew your thinking, and take over your life.
My life has been a little rough lately. I haven't been able to meditate, do yoga, biofeedback, or even just really breathe. I do pray every night. I begin with my family, friends, acquaintances, my government, my country, and yes (as beauty pageant-ish as it sounds) world peace.
Last week, for the first time in a very long time, I picked up a rosary and prayed. I prayed my "Hail Mary"'s and "Our Father"'s . I had forgotten the mysteries, so I kept it simple. I figured it was a prayer, so I couldn't do any harm by not praying the right way. I didn't do this because I'm a good Catholic; I'm not. I did it because I just didn't know what else to do. To my surprise, it helped. I was able to get out of my head and into my heart and say those long ago memorized prayers without anything else screwing with my over-thinking brain. It was a meditation.
I have come to the conclusion that all religions are basically the same. The rituals are different, the verbiage is different, and our cultures and life experiences are different. But we all hope for something better. We all try to achieve that through our spiritual practices.   Somehow we want to be better people, even those who use religion as a crutch. I figure there are worse crutches to use.
Today my husband and I attended a funeral. It was held in the Catholic Church. We haven't been in a Catholic Church since my father-in-law died a year ago. It was a beautiful service, and I'm thankful we could pay our respects. For many reasons, there wasn't a lot we could contribute. So in my small way, I will say a rosary. RIP Rene.

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