I'm not really the religious type. My parents attempted to raise me Catholic, but everything in my being always seem to revolt against it. We weren't an especially religious family and rarely actually attended church when it wasn't a holiday or due to a streak of guilt. Matt was baptized Catholic, but that was the extent of his involvement with a church. We're both what I've heard called "recovering Catholics."
We didn't get married in a church. We hired an officiant, who was an Unitarian minister, and included very little mention of God in our ceremony. W was not baptized. At the age of three he has yet to even enter a church. I don't question these decisions. But, when B was born, I started to question my beliefs... Is this it? We live, we create people we love dearly, and then we die? Is that what I really believe? Because, maaaaan, that is super depressing, right?
I was dealing with my own mortality, yes. (It's not lost on me that I had a son named Beckett and then suddenly seemed to have my own "Waiting for Godot" experience...) It's not faith that I'm looking for, because we're faithful people. We believe in doing good. We believe in being truthful. We believe in treating others well. We live with a strong moral compass and are raising our children to do the same. We don't cheat, we don't lie, we don't steal, or do any of the other things that most religions command you not to do. But, are we religious? No. Do we have a general sense of faith that I can't describe? Yes.
So, I asked myself some questions that I haven't before:
Are we looking for a church? Not right now.
Might we in the future? Possibly.
Do I feel like my childhood religion experience added anything to my life? Not really.
Do I feel like my children could gain something from being involved in a religion? Possibly.
I'm not opposed to religion, but as a friend so eloquently said to me recently: "Churches have very little to do with faith or religion these days." And he's right. If we choose a religion, it has to be a place that would feel like home, that would include teachings I would be pleased to share with my children, that was built on core beliefs that I share. We don't need a church or religion to raise good people, but it might be nice to meet people who share our views. I see the opportunity that churches give to volunteer, participate in family activities, and meet like-minded people, but I also see plenty of not-very-good people hiding behind church and religion. So, for now, we'll continue to raise good people who may not step into a church for a few more years. And I'm ok with that.
This post is inspired by I AM FORBIDDEN by Anouk Markovits. Though not sisters by blood but through their Hasidic faith, Mila and Atara views the rules and structure of their culture differently. Mila seeks comfort in the Torah while Atara searches for answers in secular literature she is forbidden to read. Ultimately each must make an irrevocable decision that will change their lives forever. Join From Left to Write on May 8 as we discuss I AM FORBIDDEN. As a member, I received a copy of the book for review purposes.