Lately, either through suggestions from friends or my own internet wandering, I've stumbled upon a few blogs and sites w/beautiful written word and exuberant faith shared. Of course I'm not forward thinking enough to have, ya know... saved those links or anything. If I find them all again I will edit this post to include some links.
But that isn't the point... what has been a learning experience for me has been to read what has been on some owmen's hearts, their need to journal/blog about their faith and the familiarity of so much of what they write. I find myself thinking... is she Catholic too? More often than not, the naswer has been 'no'. But I'm (just being honest here) workingon allowing myself to remain open after I come to that discovery (that they aren't Catholic).
You see, I've lived a very beautiful, but somewhat narrow life. Growing up going to Catholic grade school for 7 years, and then attending college at a Catholic university, I didn't have a lot of people of other faiths in my life. In grade school, there was one baptist girl in my class (she attended there because her mom was our music teacher)...
In high school my horizons were opened when my parents moved us to a home in the country to begin life as public school students. There was so much that was unfamiliar about life in a public school (going from a class of 24 to a class of 104!) that in some ways I found myself clinging to the intimacy of youth group and religious education classes at my parish even stronger. While I did make many friends with non Catholics, the majority of my circle of friends (a beloved bunch of misfits) were not church goers in any way- "Chr-Easter Christians" at the very most (Christmas & Easter). So, in my daily life, faith sharing, evangelization, and ecumenism were not lived experiences.
In college, once again I had a sprinkling of non Catholic friends including my room mate and my would-be husband's best friend. They were never much in a position or perspective to be strongly evangelizing their other churches to me, seeing as how we lived an experience of our Catholic faith with witness from professors who were monks & nuns, consistent involvement in our campus ministry group, and an opinionated and vocal group of fellow Catholic friends who loved to gather at breakfast to debate moral theology over waffles.
Here I am now, 8 years (EIGHT YEARS?!?! WHAT???) out of college and with my theology degree in hand (or on wall) deeply immersed in a very Catholic adulthood. I've worked in parish & diocesan environments, my oldest daughter attends our parish school, our daycare provider is a fellow parishioner... I'm living my faith in a professional manner and husband and I are making our way through raising our 3 girls in the Church.
And through happy circumstances (making friends w/an amazing and diverse group of women who all had babies together and all returned to work after our respective maternity leaves- shout out to my beautiful NOV05WM!!- gaining a larger extended circle of friends and acquaintances, plus that beast Facebook brining me in contact w/so many high school friends, and let's not forget the good ol' internet and world of blogging) I've expanded my horizons socially & spiritually... or at least I'm trying to. The familiarity I've found in speaking with and reading the words of people of other backgrounds and faiths have brought to light a tremendous truth for me... we are all church. We are broken and divided and do not see eye to eye on a number of topics, but the Truth that lives in each of us, His Word living and serving on a daily basis is real. I won't be leaving the beautiful traditions and ritual that are so familiar and nourishing to me, but I do relish the opportunity to witness and admire the aspects of others' faith and how it grows in them.