think think think CONTINUED

It’s 8:35pm on a Friday night! What are you up to? If you’re boring like me, you’re WRITING IN YOUR BLOG IN YOUR PJ’S! IN BED.

OK. So getting back to what I trying to convey this morning with limited time and a lagging computer. I think I’d just finished posting some pros and cons of Army Guy and trying to analyze this potential relationship that I am so concerned about starting (though not technically right because it has already begun). Further information. He’s the first person I text and the last person I text on a regular basis which usually translates to the first and last person I communicate with on a regular day. Seeing his texts usually make me happy and it’s not weird at all to text random words of sounds. Somewhat similar to what I text my siblings. Today was no exception, and he doesn’t find it strange at all to fill me in on the status of his current affairs.

Last year one of my New Year’s resolutions was to get back into my faith more. IT didn’t really go all that well in part because since I live here at home with my mom, there’s an expectation there for me to regularly attend mass, unlike when I was in college where I was consciously making that decision myself. It’s….different. It shouldn’t be like that, but it is. And as everyone knows, the more you are forced to do something, the more you grow to resent it. I keep telling myself that when I end up living regularly on my own, that I would most certainly become more involved with my faith and church…just like I did in college. I find that I escape down south so I don’t have to. But that’s not how I want to deal with it. Then I go an make the excuse that I don’t like the church here…that the Arlington diocese is nothing like the Richmond Diocese. Well, it’s true, and not only that but the people that attend mass up here vs down south (even if it’s the same diocese) are truly different. Just a mirror of the region’s overall personality. I think I mentioned before that I feel religion up here is more a label or a status…there are more churches here than I’ve seen anywhere and more Catholics than I’ve seen in other areas, but there is also much more anti-religious sentiment than anywhere I’ve been. In my workplace, I’ve noticed among patients that it’s…embarrassing or taboo…to admit Catholicism or Christianity. The Jewish seem totally unaffected and unembarrassed to admit their affiliation. Our patient pool doesn’t see too many Muslims, so I can’t tell you anything there. Buddhism is seen as something to be proud of and admired.

Online dating yields very low levels of Christians as well, and I’ve found more than a few Catholics/Christians hiding behind a non-religious status just to help pull in more potential matches. Heck, I’ve tried it myself! When I change my description to any religious tendencies no matter how minute, matches stay away like the plague. The moment I take it away, they come pouring back in. In fact, I’ve experienced outright hostility or disclaimers from some people. An acquaintance of mine was suggesting a venue for greyhound events and had to place in the description of the winery that, “unfortunately it’s Christian based” but that they don’t shove that down everyone’s throats. Why couldn’t they just say that it’s a beautiful winery and leave it at that? My mom’s Target is closed on Christmas Day and Easter…so does that make Target a crazy Christian? Or like Ukrops when it was still alive for not selling alcohol or open on Sundays. I guess that makes them crazy religious people out to cause inconvenience to others?

At any rate, it’s part of my disillusioned view of this area. It stifles me and it makes it hard for someone to grow in their faith. Even those who attend mass regularly. I don’t feel the community vibe. It’s not there and to be honest, I feel like it’s not as encouraged. The Diocese is traditional and rather uptight, so when you walk into church it’s like QUIET and no one wants to talk. Singing is encouraged, but no one does it because you’re afraid that someone will out-sing you or heaven-forbid hear your voice… Then before mass is done everyone’s like LET’S JET. You do the minimum to pass by and that’s it. When I was in Richmond (and of course each church is a little different) I feel like their less stringent rules allow for a more community feel. The Epiphany was like that. Very community driven. I remember at both the Epiphany and the Cathedral sometimes it would be hard to quiet down the congregation to start mass because everyone was so busy catching up with each other and laughing. Then again, just going south is enough for the feel to be different. It’s a good mix between north and south, so you have the quiet, but most people sing and most people hang around, being less time crazy. Everything’s so fast and attention spans are so short here. But they allow Altar girls!! wuuuut!! Blasphemy. AND THE BLING. OMG some of the churches up here!!! It’s like a museum!!!!

So what does this drivel have to do with anything? OK, getting down to the relationship part, I’ve been introspecting heavily and as much as I’ve let my faith take a back seat, I can’t deny that it’s a very important part of me. I’ve tried to stifle it, to convince myself that a being with my ability to see every angle of everything couldn’t possibly be meant to be bound by anything as stringent and limiting as religion. However, it’s an essential part of me, and something I sorely want my future mate to share. And it’s not that I was born into my faith and that it has been forced on me. It’s for real. It’s my pillar. It makes and completes me. At this point I’m not sure how much of a religious person I want my man to be. Ideally, it would be as much as I’m into it, but I know that’s super hard to find. I know I don’t want the apathetic and hostile and I don’t want the super radical religious either. Too tricky of criteria.  I hear ya.

It’s easy to say that I can forgo and pass it up for the perfect guy, but that’s not taking into account how I’d feel in 3, 5, 10 years. It’s going to be a big problem if, no, when I decide I can’t take it. I look at Army Guy, and while we haven’t fully discussed the subject in person, I sense resistance. There is no inkling in my body of hoping to change my man. You don’t change people and shouldn’t expect to do such a thing. My dad “converted” into Catholicism just to appease my mom, but we all could tell he felt nothing for it. What a terrible way to go about it. My bosses are Catholic and Jewish. At least there’s similarity there, but I don’t want to be that kind of Catholic. It’s not like I’m a diehard Catholic either. I have my own views on things. I don’t go around damning non-believers. I don’t hate people for their orientation or religion.  I feel like people are people and should be respected as such.

So I have to look at myself realistically and think about how much I want this. Everything else is good, but something I place so much significance on is missing. Passing up something so perfect is a mistake, but once again, I don’t want to hate my decision years from now when we stop being so tolerant and courteous to each other. No regrets and wishing I chose this other guy who shares that kind of mentality and morality. It seems petty and ridiculous, but it’s not to me. And as much as I don’t want to think that my family’s acceptance is extremely significant in my decision, well, it is. It’s not like a movie where “love conquers all.” There’s too many factors in life for that. My family needs to get along with their family and with him. And don’t think for a moment that just because they’re Christian or Catholic means that they are this awesome amazing person. I’ve met some pretty ridiculous “Christian/Catholics” whose decisions and actions don’t seem very Christian-like at all. Status and labels, remember?

I need to think on all this again. In the meantime, I’ve started to create that “spiritual place” for me to go meditate. I want one at all my dwellings. Almost like a sanctuary where I can go and just meditate and try try to grow in my faith. If a person can’t help me, then I’ll help myself.

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