The Moment I Rejected Christianity

What you believe is your business.  This is not a judgy post… This is about how the interpretation of my Higher Power changed around the year 2015.  If you’re interested, read on my friend.  If not, no harm… have a blessed day.

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I was baptized Catholic and grew up in a place called Bridesburg – a small Philadelphia, Pennsylvania neighborhood tightly nestled in a corner between the Delaware River and Frankford Creek. Less than 10,000 people live there and while some moved out, generations of families linger like the smell of freshly smoked kielbasa.

This neighborhood, roughly five blocks by eight blocks, has eleven churches and three cemeteries (two are connected to churches – one is not).  Two of the churches are Catholic, one is non-denominational, then there is a Baptist, Emanuel, Presbyterian, and Methodist church.

I left Bridesburg in 2005 and have visited less than five times since my bittersweet departure.

Anyway, I met this local guy when I was fourteen and his family was very Catholic. Like, so Catholic that they were all blinded by the God thing (when it served their purpose) and when I got pregnant at fifteen, we had to get married or the baby would be born out of wedlock and I’d go to hell. This chaotic, close-minded, archaic thinking would envelop me for the next twenty years of my life (even though that guy and I divorced when I was 24).

It was so bad (memoir-worthy, which I am writing) that one time (and only one time) I said ‘Bless You’ when my mother-in-law sneezed and the look I got, well, you may have thought I asked if she would be so kind as to stick her face in the garbage disposal.

“It’s not Bless You. It’s GOD Bless You. What the hell is wrong with you? Heathen. You’re a no good white trash heathen.” I mean, I had no religion. I didn’t know then that the word Heathen was not a nickname for the Devil. So, I basically thought she called me a devil… when I was a teenager. Oh, and she didn’t talk to me for two weeks after my blasphemic faux pas.

In retrospect, I should have gotten up and punched her in the face or maybe doused her face with her terrible homemade iced tea (way too many lemons), but I didn’t.

Instead, I clung to the notion that my life sucked because I sucked. I was a rotten human being and had done vile, unspeakable things that afforded me a lifetime of suffering and misery. I guess this is true if smoking pot and dropping out of high school is a heinous, shameful act.

Oh wait… I stole a pack of gum when I was seven. Shit.

My torment continued into my forties and into my sobriety in 2006, blaming every bad thing that happened to me on some unseen force that was displeased with my human nature. My drinking, lost jobs, lost relationships, everything that happened to me was because I was a bad person: A HEATHEN.

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Then, a proverbial anvil hit me in the face in 2015. None of my bad choices were anyone’s doing but my own. When I stopped putting all my eggs in the sin basket and took responsibility for my actions; when I decided that while sometimes extenuating circumstances could creep in and mess up my day, I ultimately, am responsible for everything that happens to me – good or bad.

So, I did a test of sorts. I stopped praying to the Christian idea of God for a few weeks. And started talking to my higher power as I understood it. And lo and behold, nothing changed except for one thing.

My guilt had vanished. I no longer felt pangs of regret because I forgot to pray, or because I said ‘bless you’ instead of God Bless You, or because – gasp! I ate meat on a Friday during Lent!

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No meat for you, Heathen!

The first time I ate meat on Lent (not on accident) was this year. And I have to say, I am still here to tell the tale. It was absolutely the best Buffalo Chicken Pizza I ever ingested in my life.

Again, I am not knocking Christianity… believe what you need to believe. That is your right as a human being. I believe in the earth, the universe, the elements. I believe in good begets good and evil begets evil. I believe that everyone has the right to pray to whomever – or whatever – they see fit.

It’s none of my business who your God is.

Do you consider yourself religious or spiritual?

Life: A Memoir of Embarrassing Moments

So….. I have been told by many people that my life has been interesting.  Well, mostly my children have told me this.  And I also noticed, that for every story someone has I have a counter story that is much, much better.

I bought a book six or so months ago about “How To Write Your Life Story” or some crap like that.  I read through most of it (I get through most of anything).  In the book they said “everyone’s life can be turned into a memoir.” I don’t think I necessarily agree with that.  There are certain people I wouldn’t really dig reading about, just as I am sure there are many people who wouldn’t dig reading about my life events.

And there there is the fame factor.

Like, if I wrote, “Today I had tuna on toast but decided to leave the crusts on because my horoscope said live on the edge” people would be like, “Wow. Lame.”

Buuut.. if say, Nikki Sixx of Motley Crue fame or Beyonce ate the same thing that day and blogged or tweeted about it or even threw it in an exclusive tell all book.. “This Is What I EAT!” people would be buying out the tuna and bread on the grocery aisle shelves.

I’m not sure why things go the way they do.  I just know that they go.

When I sit down to really think about it… I have had quite an interesting ride so far.  I have many stories that not only would be entertaining to people… but I really think people could get something out of them.  Kind of like, “wow I need to remember to never do that.  Ever.”

A couple of examples:

  • Never throw a cigarette butt in a trash can under a tree .. especially if the can is filled with paper.
  • When you’re seven, don’t put toothpaste on your eyelids. In fact, never do that at any age.
  • Listen to your grandmother when she tells you to never leave your drink unattended.  You could almost wind up dead somewhere.
  • If you really have to pee, just go to the bathroom.  Don’t stand in the classroom doing the wiggle jiggle dance while the teacher talks and ignores you.  The end result is embarrassing.

These are just a few instances that are fond memories of my past.  Ok, not 100% fond, but I lived through them and came out a stronger person for it.

Got any great stories? 😀