I felt a lot like this when I was in high school, which is when I became a lapsed Catholic. Of course, much heartbreak and much reflection later I came to realize that I was pulling myself down in a whole lot of ways.
I don’t think I relayed much of this here, but I know I have some of it. I was not a good guy, though everyone thought I was. I was involved in a graffiti gang with connections to a Mexican gang with connections to organized Mexican crime (even though I was Irish! – how weird is that?) Anyway, I was also a jock and believe you me I did not treat women with the respect and love I do now… et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.
Long story short I had an abortion with my fiancée, which at the time I agreed with, but then my whole world seem to come crumbling down… first my sister got pregnant in high school, my dad left the family for the second and last time, my mother went through a bout of depression and then cancer for the second time, my dad informed me it was my family now and that I needed to be the man of the house now and take care of the family, my brother contracted mono and CMV at the same time and was a moment away form death at the tender age of 14. And all of this on the heels of the break up of my fiancée and I over the problems stemming from the abortion. Indeed life seemed very, very unfair and there certainly seemed like there was no God, let alone a Catholic Church, which claimed to be the church established by this God. Indeed I was very much a believer that if there were a God then I, and most everyone I knew, would not have to suffer in such ways.
To be honest I came to a crossroads in my life where I had to decide if life was worth living anymore. While I was not actively contemplating suicide, I certainly did not want to live in such a cruel world anymore and I definitely did not want a whole bunch of rules and regulations church! After much pain, crying (and yes this Colorado Cowboy cried when it hit that hard), and personal reflection I decided to “find God” in order to see if He was real so I could find the best way to yell at him… an Irish tradition ya know.
I looked at anything and everything. I explored New Ageism (really warped), which led me to Celtic Wiccaism (sp?), a Shao Lin (sp?) temple (Kung Fu and a sect of Buddhism), more New Ageism (this time self help guru stuff), and some other stuff. I did not find him there and so I checked into monotheism: Judaism and Mohammedanism. I kind of felt him in Mohammedanism, but definitely in Judaism. Yet, I did not feel him there in the way I was looking for. I then explored Evangelical Presbyterianism, Missouri Synod Lutheranism, and finally High Church Anglicanism. Again I was close to Him there, but always something felt amiss – something missing.
It was not until my mom enrolled me in the WYD in Denver in 1993 that I truly felt like I had found Him. I remember coming back into the Church – with my heart, mind and body, on August 15 of that year. Now you are probably wondering what happened to the “yell at Him stuff” right? Well, interestingly enough, my anger subsided the more I looked for Him and the more I looked the more I found myself seeking Him for all together different reasons. For me, the journey was my therapy. The search helped me heal more than I could have asked for. Though that healing would have been entirely incomplete without coming full circle into the Church.
I tell you this because, while your reasons for stress, pain, anger, and disbelief are different from mine in their particulars the situation seems to be much the same. I will not tell you that you have to do this and you have to do that. I can only tell you that in this trial that you are in there is going to be ample opportunity to seek Him. Just do it honestly, without prejudice and certainly be open to His guidance during the whole process. Also remember that suffering, however hard and disgusting it tastes, is a fact of life for every species of life in both the animal and plant kingdoms. Life consists of pains and that is the natural order of things.
I can tell you that as a Catholic I have at least found meaning in all of my sufferings. I will pray for you. I will pray that St. Christopher intercede on your behalf during this journey. I will pray that however your journey unfolds that the Lord will always be with you. And, as your Catholic brother (for we are a true family) I will pray for your return home… like the prodigal son in that wonderful parable.
Until then I am your unworthy brother in Christ.