My family is catholic. When I was younger, I remember dressing up each Sunday in preparation for mass. Once I grew old enough, I started attending CCD, or Sunday church school as I described it. When I reached middle school until the beginning of my high school career, I became one of the first girl alter servers in the church. By my actions, I always appeared to be concrete in my religious faith. But I did not feel as certain in my faith as other people thought I was.
As a kid, I could not remember much about what the priest said. Mass, for me, was a time where I can catch a nap. When I began CCD, it was just another class that I needed to exceed in. And when I became an alter server, I could only think about the service hours I would earn. It wasn’t until I began to attend high school and stopped serving during mass that I understood the importance of religion.
By the end of my freshmen year in high school, I became a part of YoungLife, a non Christian youth group lead by Christians. They taught me the importance of being loved by a greater being despite the wrong paths that I walked on. Once I became a member of YoungLife, I was no longer satisfied with Catholicism. I sought more beyond what my catholic church had to offer. There is nothing wrong with being catholic, but as I progressed through high school, my interests became different. I wanted a place that did not judge me for my wrong doing.
I became eager to join a bigger community that felt the same as I. I attended the church that hosted YoungLife’s bible study. I attended a baptist church near north side. I attended another church near south side. Then finally I attended a church, that I did not now existed, ten minutes away from my house, and I felt at home.
That sense of belonging is so difficult to find. Mostly walking into the church feeling as an outsider, feeling alone. Sitting down, I tried to busy myself on my phone. But within minutes, people poured into the church and welcomed me greatly. I shook hands with what seemed like many and conversed with them until the beginning of service. As the service went on, I had quickly felt in community with them.
After what seemed like a long time searching, I had found the place that I had dreamed about. Building relationships with people that I would become friends with. Finding a religious community where I belong.