My parents have been in town for a week, they arrived last Friday night (one of many reasons for my recent absence from the blogosphere). Last weekend was Palm Sunday and, being completely worn out from a long work week, little sleep, and hard skiing the day before I had no interest in going. Dad was upset that morning, though I couldn't figure out if that was because I wasn't dressed and ready to go with them or because they were late getting out of the house. They were walking to church, and I think ended up getting lost along the way, after all the directions and consternation. When they returned (I, having spent the hour cleaning with great vigor and having imaginary religious arguments with my father in my head) Dad offered me a palm and I decided it was best to accept it with grace and put it on display.
I've never had a proper talk with my parents about what I believe, or why I've stopped attending Mass. Dad brought it up at the dinner table several years back when I was still staying with them on occasion, and they knew that I was reading a lot of books on witchcraft. It didn't go well. Dad was not pleased with what he saw as my rejection of our family's religion, was unwilling to consider other perspectives, and despite trying to be civil about it, ended up uttering the famous phrase "But the Bible says it (what ever I might be studying) is evil and you'll go to hell!". Needless to say I felt cornered, could not articulate my thoughts, started crying, and Mom (the perpetual mediator) stepped in with the "I don't hear a willingness to listen others' points here, I hear a lot of judging", which made Dad more upset, I left the table and we've never spoken of it since. I've been thinking it's a chat we need to have, but I've never found the right time. Also, I'm still trying to work out what exactly I do believe (e.g. one lifetime or many? Eternal punishment/reward, or we all end up in the Summerlands?)
Which brings me here to this Good Friday. When I'm at home I go to church with my family as a sign of respect for them and the faith that bonded our family together. It was a hugely integral part of my upbringing. Here, out west, an independent adult, I do not go to church. So now here, out west, but with my parents staying with me - what to do? I want to honour and respect my parents, I can relate to the Easter story with Jesus nailed to a cross, dying, and resurrecting much in the same way I can relate to the Pagan stories of people/gods passing into the underworld to re-emerge. I see them all as stories humans created to help them relate to the Great Unknowable. However, would I also not be perpetuating a falsehood - that I consider myself a Catholic? Or worse, that I've become a "C&E Catholic", the likes of whom we looked down upon in church? You could always pick them out, those that did not remember when to sit/stand/kneel or did not know the words to say along with the priest because they only came twice a year. Lazy Catholics - only bothered to show up for Christmas and Easter.
No, I do not want to be seen as one of those. However, neither can I come forth an proclaim myself Pagan of one path or another because I just haven't figured it out yet. I haven't met any particular gods or goddesses (at least not by name), and I feel foolish performing rituals by myself at home. I don't wear a pentacle, but I do talk to trees and birds, and while I don't cast spells, I do know that when I cry out in pain and despair, that comfort will come on the wind. What I am I? I'm an in-betweener, existing the the liminal spiritual places between declared religions.
And thus, as an in-betweener I shall eat no meat today on Good Friday, I shall decorate my home with tulips and daffodils to celebrate the coming of spring, and sit here and keep an eye on the hot-cross bun dough that is rising in the oven while two of the people I love the most mark the decent of their god into the underworld.
...and probably eat some chocolate. Happy Easter, all - however you celebrate!
|Somewhere between Paganism and Christianity is this photo.|