I’ve never had to change churches before. I have no idea how to do it. I think I’m doing it wrong.
It’s not that I think I’ve made the wrong choice. Converting to Catholicism and being grafted to the true vine is the best thing I’ve ever done. I know I will put down roots and flourish here at St. Joseph’s. The problem is that it seems to be taking longer than I thought it would.
Of course, I don’t expect to get to know everyone right away; in a parish of some four thousand men, women and children, such an expectation would be madness. Nor do I expect to find my place within the church’s ministry right away, even though I intend to volunteer for the same ministries I had at St. Matthew’s, my old church, insofar as they are available. I’ve enjoyed being just another face in this great crowd of witnesses, learning by observation and osmosis those little tidbits of knowledge and culture that cannot be taught, only experienced. At least I no longer reflexively add the doxology to the end of the Lord’s Prayer during mass.
Still, I can’t help feeling that I am always behind, that there’s something I’ve missed. Sure, I’ve spent some time in adoration before the Blessed Sacrament, but making time to learn the Rosary has been problematic. I’ve joined the Knights of Columbus, but up until last Sunday’s pancake breakfast I haven’t been able to connect with everything else they do. I’ve been going to confession, but I seem to bring the same old grocery list of the same sins every week.
Sometimes, I feel like I’m always not quite “there”.
Some clarification is in order. I didn’t join the Catholic Church because I wanted to be Catholic. I didn’t join the Catholic Church because I wanted to look or feel Catholic. I joined the church because I believed—and still believe, and always will believe—that it is true, the way a straight line is true or the way that big black arrow on a map points true north. The truth will make you free, I remember reading Someone say. I’m more than okay with that. It’s just that the truth isn’t easy.
Sometimes I wish I could go back. Sometimes I wish I could turn back time and take the blue pill, remain comfortable and cocooned in my always not quite real Christian life. That’s what I wanted more than anything. I would’ve been content. I would’ve been happy.
But I wouldn’t have what I have now, which means everything to me.
Am I doing it wrong? Maybe yes, maybe no. Neither here nor there. There is no “there” there. The absolute worst part is seeing for the first time that there never was. Not for me.
I don’t know. I’ve never changed churches before. I never want to do it again.