I'm a convert who fell away from the faith about three years after my baptism. I guess for a while I was a cafeteria Catholic (I wasn't married and I wanted to have sex, so I did), but after a while just going to mass every Sunday got to be too much for me. I guess the "final" break came when I decided to have my tubes tied. It's funny, the reason I had the operation was so I would never be faced with needing an abortion. I always knew that the "thing" in the womb had a soul, and was therefore a person right from the beginning. I knew if I didn't do something major to prevent it, I would have more babies. I was a single mom with three kids already. I couldn't risk it, so I had it done and then threw away that wonderful gift of faith and went my own way.
For more than 20 years, I would say my religion was Catholic, but I didn't practice. I thought briefly about returning a time or two, but somewhere in those two decades I became an atheist. I hated God and religion. I didn't believe in ANYTHING. The world got darker and darker and finally something in me snapped and I ended up in an out-patient psych program. I had clinical depression and I ended up in the nutball class because I wanted to kill my boss (RAGE issues) and myself. The program helped. Properly medicated, the first thing I was able to do was look up and notice the color of the sky and the trees. I hadn't seen the colors in years, and it seemed to me that God had returned, after a long absence.
Still, it took me another couple of years to finally return, and this happened just before Ash Wednesday. I attended mass a couple of times, and took Communion, even though I knew I was in mortal sin and hadn't been to confession. (I figured I really needed it, Jesus wouldn't mind, and there was no point in even going to mass if I didn't take communion. As you can see, I still need work on that obedience thing.) I finally went to confession and had to tell Father that it had been 28 years since my last confession and I'd racked up a lot of sins in that time. I'll tell you what I told him: that my main sin, the one from which all my other sins had sprung, was pride. I thought I knew better than God, how to live my life, what to teach my kids. I realized that, not so much my life, but the lives of my three innocent children would have been so much better had I not abandoned God and the Church. But I knew what I was doing; it was MY life, you see, so who would know better?
Well, I know better, now. It is damn hard to be a Catholic, which is why there are so many people out there with their trays, reaching for the tasty dessert and passing on the nutritious but hard-to-digest stuff like chastity and obedience. It is HARD to relinquish your autonomy, to say: okay, I'm not sure this is really right, but I will toe Your line on the right to life, and contraception, and other things I hadn't agreed with, because You say, through Your priests, that this is the right way. And if I obey, then no matter how difficult life got, for whatever reason, You'll always have my back.
As for Hell... who knows? What difference does it make when you wouldn't know Hell if it slapped you upside your head because you've been living in it all along. Hell is place but more than that it is the absence of God in your life. You don't miss something you never had.
I feel for you, troll or no, because I've been there in the darkness, as certain as anything that I was going the right way because it was the way I had decided to go. I opened my eyes (with God's help) and realized that way was death. You know what was really amazing? When I turned around to head back, He was right there. I didn't have to take a single step in His direction. He came to me.
Enjoy your dessert.