okay, i admit it…i’m totally in love with an old man. and an ex-catholic. the man? the author pat conroy (the water is wide; the great santini; the prince of tides). in college, mr. conroy showed me that bad things happen in families, and adults can survive their childhoods. after reading the prince of tides, i discovered new reasons to love being southern (even moved to charleston for a while–and totally adored my time there–no city like it in the world! no wonder scarlett and rhett were so head over heels in love with it!).  but more than that, conroy gave me permission to let some of my closest friends know just how troubled i was. (okay, the fact that i made a poor decision about who was a “friend” and who was not should in no way be seen as a slight on mr. conroy!).

tonight while looking for a writing topic to fall from the sky (or at least from one of the myriad google bookmarks i have!), i stumbled across this article from conroy about being an ex-catholic (Confessions of an Ex-Catholic). this is just a snippet of a longer article or essay, i’m sure, but he talks about how ingrained catholicism was during his youth, but he’s chosen not to raise his kids like that–however, you can take the kid out of the church, but you can’t take the church out of the kid. and, although i’m not catholic, have never been catholic, and don’t really understand the whole “move the pedophile priest to another parish” attitude, i totally get what he’s saying about religion.

after my mom remarried when i was 7, she and her new hubby became the most “religious” people ever. we were ALWAYS in church–it became our whole life, not just a place to go on sundays. mama had weird people living with us (they just needed “ministering” to–never really knew what that meant); there was no more music that wasn’t of a religious nature (christian “rock” before it was cool!); and definitely no more doctors (which totally sucked when i was sick!). usually, if something bad happened, they blamed it on my lack of “faith” or not being in prayer 24/7. when i was 14, their “friends” kept me locked in a room for almost two hours, so i could “receive the holy spirit” and “speak in tongues” to prove it (i finally started uttering some nonsense that sounded like what they wanted–and low and behold, they let me go, thanking the lord the whole time. i’ve never felt so low in my life).

in conroy’s essay, he says he’s “god-haunted” and that the church “will never let me go”–and that’s exactly how i feel. i don’t know what i would have done during those horrible ten years if i had been listening to “worldly” music (haha… i can’t believe i called it that!). it’s almost like because i was forced to listen to spiritual stuff, i could handle the violence. i still pray to myself everyday for little things like helping jake on a test or keeping my family and friends safe or helping me be a better person. and i miss the friendships that form through church.

i’m sure that jake has missed out on something since i never made him go to church (well, other than when i was in grad school–but the church was in walking distance of the school, and how can you say no to that??). i keep telling myself that i should start back, but there’s always something holding me back. maybe i shouldn’t be that way; however maybe i shouldn’t have been abused by my parents and church leaders, either. a bigger person should be able to get over it–but i’m sticking with pat. if he goes back, then so will i!