Monday ramblings on faith

The year was 1993 and that picture is of my darling eldest child, Justin. He was an adorable baby - the perfect round baby face - the wisps of blonde hair and that plump baby fat body - my first child, all 9lbs of him at birth, and to me has always been a walking miracle.

However getting to the point of this picture being taken was a wake up call to me on man and religion. We were living in Addison, IL at the time of his birth and the Catholic church I belonged to had refused to baptize him as my husband and I had married outside of the faith. The refusal came the same night the priest chastised me for being a bad Catholic. I went home that night in tears...shaking...guilt ridden - feeling as if my actions had now damned my child for all of eternity. Tim, Justin's father, thought I was crazy to feel that way, and never really understood why it was important to me to have our children baptized..."screw 'em" was his comment.

The priest wouldn't allow me to explain why we went from planning a huge church wedding and going through all the preparation classes to a quick wedding in front of a minister. He didn't want to know that I was sick and without insurance. That I was in chronic pain with my insides literally bursting out with only my skin keeping them in. The surgery I had when I was 18 to have my spleen removed had left deep wounds in me that didn't heal right, and I had herniated in multiple places. Every time I coughed a huge bubble would appear from my intestines ached constantly because they were getting caught up in the hernia - and I had no insurance - the pain was more than I could handle, and when it comes to pain I can handle quite a bit. I needed to get on Tim's insurance before those intestines got cut off and I could die. So off we went and said our vows without the blessing of a Catholic priest - one month later I had medical insurance and within weeks from that I was being opened up yet again so that wire and mesh could be inserted inside me to bind my insides together - evidently it was worse than the doctor and the surgeon suspected - the incision that runs from my breast bone done the middle of my abdomen past my belly button had opened up in numerous places and was filled with infection. It was a long recovery ...over 6 weeks in bed with tubes draining the infection. Tim hated cleaning out the drains...who could blame him on that one.

So that is how my marriage of almost 18 years started out - sinful, huh?

Anyway, after I calmed down after a night of crying my eyes out that my child couldn't be baptized, I phoned the Archdiocese of Chicago and asked them what I could do. Their advice was to seek out another Catholic Church because interpretation of the rules were at the priests discretion. So that is exactly what I did, and just a few miles away in Wood Dale, IL, I found a priest who was willing to baptize my innocent child.

That experience among some when my father laid in ICU after suffering complications from a cancer surgery and heart problems...and when doctors thought he wouldn't survive, a Catholic priest refused him the last rites sacrament because my father was honest and told him he had married a divorced woman who was not Catholic, and he did not marry her in a Catholic Church. Because my father never had his marriage to my mother blessed, he was refused the sacrament. It didn't matter that my father married a woman with three children and raised them as his own, and working overtime to send my brothers and I to Catholic school...had them all baptized in the Catholic Church...all that mattered was mom was a divorcee...non Catholic...and their marriage wasn't ordained by the Church.

My father survived that time ....but now that memory was created in my mind.

Having gone many years to Catholic school the one thing I remember learning more than anything was that God was a forgiving God. Living the life I have led, I have learnt that man judges in the name of the Lord, and is not forgiving.  All of which I've spent many hours trying to wrap my head around the hypocrisy of man, and I just cannot seem to do it.

To me it seems that man picks and chooses the religious sentiments he wants to meet his needs at the time. I could never understand those who claim to believe in the sanctity of life, but believe in the death penalty or war declared based upon religion....or supporting any war for that matter. That free will is what separates us from the rest of the animal kingdom, but when one's free will to not choose the same religion or any religion, they are condemned by some of the self proclaimed most devout.  Maybe it's just me, but I just don't get it.

When I was a young girl Church did provide a sense of security to me. This was back in the days when I was being molested by a neighbor....a Vet who had returned home from the Vietnam War.  I use to walk myself the one block that was needed to get to the top of Washington Street and Ridge Ave in Evanston, IL and get inside St. Nicholas Church to find safety from the outside world. Still today I think it is one of the most beautiful churches I have ever laid eyes on. Plus it carries inside it's walls some of my family history of when Grandpa and Grandma Woywod first came to this country. Once Grandpa had settled down and was able to make a living he sent for Grandma, and that is where they got married. It was my sanctuary and the walls of the church knew my secrets...but that didn't stop more abuse to happen in my life nor to me as a young innocent child.

So today when I hear people place so much emphasis on man's interpretation of faith, I have a very hard time understanding it all, especially when contained in those interpretations is judgment against fellow humans who may not believe the same. To me that is not the God I learned about in school. It's not personal faith - it's a podium for man's ego and I doubt highly if actions such as that will open the Pearly Gates.

I guess this all boils down to life is open for interpretation, and all of us have free will - in the end it's how we treat our fellow man that counts despite what our personal faith may be or our past accomplishments and failures. All men are flawed...even those who interpret God's law. Who are we to judge another's faith, unless that faith judges us....and then my friends, once we use faith as a reason to explain away all actions or inactions we've entered into a cycle of societal dysfunction because we are all unique in our experience and interpretations.


Popular Posts