I feel like I am going though a "three steps forward, two steps back" pattern when it comes to my own maturity, spiritually and otherwise.
I think that CS Lewis said it best in the Screwtape Letters:
My dear Wormwood,
So you 'have great hopes that the patient's religious phase is dying away', have you? I always thought the Training College had gone to pieces since they put old Subgob at the head of it, and now I am sure. Has no one every told you about the law of Undulation?
Humans are amphibians-- half spirit and half animal. (The Enemy's determination to produce such a revolting hybrid was one of the things that determined Our Father to withdraw his support from Him.) As spirits they belong to the eternal world, but as animals they inhabit time. This means that while their spirit can be directed to an eternal object, their bodies, passions, and imaginations are in continual change, for as to be in time means to change. Their nearest approach to constancy, therefore, is undulation-- the repeated return to a level from which they repeatedly fall back, a series of troughs and peaks. If you had watched your patient carefully you would have seen this undulation in every department of his life-- his interest in his work, his affection for his friends, his physical appetites, all go up and down. As long as he lives on earth periods of emotional and bodily richness and liveliness will alternate with periods of numbness and poverty. The dryness and dullness through which your patient is now going are not, as you fondly suppose, your workmanship; they are merely a natural phenomenon which will do us no good unless you make a good use of it.
I've spent a lot of time in prayer and introspection during the last couple of weeks; specifically in working towards healing old wounds that never quite closed up. I'm constantly fighting this strange phenomenon...a desire to just wish, wish, wish, wish, wish, wish and wish that I could go back ten years and do EVERYTHING over again. I guess a good word for this feeling is the "redo button" phenomenon.
My remedy for this, which can be a bit mentally taxing, is to try and visuallise a giant red STOP sign, focus on my breathing for a beat or so, and then mentally list the things I am thankful for in the present, and WHY the present is better for my overall well being than things in the past had things happened differently.
Spiritually speaking, I can't help but admit that I find things to be incredibly difficult right now.
I am a Catholic. Been Catholic all of my life; my faith has been one of the few constants in the whirlwhinds of change surrounding me. However, I can't help but feel more alienated and alone than EVER in my faith.
For the last two years, I've been attending mass at either St. Joseph's Cathedral or Christ Our Hope parish on a weekly basis. I try my best...but there are SO many times when I find that I'm just going though the motions...
"Peace Be With You,"
"The Body Of Christ, Amen."
"We Believe in One God, The Father Almighty..."
and so on and so forth.
I hate to say it, I do...but I find it SO difficult to connect and relate to my fellow parishoners. God forgive me...but I am surrounded by senior citizens.
I'm trying to find a group of like minded individuals...but there seems to be two poles when it comes to Catholic (or any Christian, for that matter) "youth groups;" that both irritate the CRAP out of me:
The "Life Teen" style of youth groups have esentially watered down the miricle of christ's life and resurecction to a never ending cheerleading routine of "WE LOVE JESUS, YES WE DO, WE LOVE JESUS, HOW ABOUT YOUUUUUUU??????" or an hour-long episode of "veggie tales" that does nothing more than insult the intelligence of the congregation present and infantalize the people that it is there to supposedly "guide" and "enlighten". (There was, no joke, a man who came to speak at a young adult meeing I attended who said, "Do you guys know that GOD SENT HIS SON FOR YOU????" and it took all of my self control not to blurt out, "WELL NO SHIT SHERLOCK!" ). We've only had our faith pounded into our heads since the time we were baptized. We are well aware of the story of Christ's life, death and rising. It seems to me that "Life Teen" is simply an exuse to turn the miracle of the mass into a giant Christian Rock concert (Which there is nothing wrong with, but I'd like to be able to concentrate on having a conversation with God without a woman's bare navel in my face.)
The other end of the spectrum is the "solemnity of the mass" crowd. When I was in high school, this was what was going down at my home parish: everything was slow, dark, solemn...and in Latin. While I can appreciate the history and the beauty of the Latin Mass and that it was a tool for EVERYONE to communicate with one another in the dark ages, I'm sorry, Latin is no longer the go-to language for educated people. I can't help but notice that there seems to be a smug, hipster esque aire to the regular congregations who regualrly do the Latin Masses; "David Haas? Too mainstream. WE only use GREGORIAN CHANT here. *puts on hipster glasses and tight pants*" The "life teeny" crowd tended to just annoy me with its childish tendencies and constant dumbing down of miracle of the Mass; the "solemn" crowd just tends to creep me out...not unlike sitting next to that one goth kid in the white makeup who is staring at you and then looking down at their tarot card deck and shaking their head.
I love my boyfriend so much...but this is one thing that we do not share. He is an atheist, and I can't go to him or get much support from him when it comes to my spirituality, which leaves me feeling so frustrated...
My friends have also been great...but I can't help but feel left out.
I'm too old for the college group. Too young for the Catholic Daughers of America. Arg.
**Edit: Yes, readers, I am cranky tonight. So, I bring you this:**