When I was 18, I became Catholic. For months, leading up to the day of my entrance into the Church, I sat in the pew, in awe of this beautiful Church which had shown me so much in so little a time. I was amazed by the depth, the beauty, the wisdom, the overwhelming love. The dozens of questions I had asked, for my entire life, which had been so easily answered. Finally.
I was love-struck, after a very long race. My heart’s desire was finally here.
So, naturally I was protective. And fiercely loyal. I wanted everyone to join me, holding hands like the ‘We Are the World’ video of my youth, traipsing through the doors together, all united, all loving my same Jesus. All at once, just like that, I wanted it. Badly.
But, that did not happen. My family and friends remained who they were. Still attended their various churches, or none at all. And I was perturbed. Couldn’t they SEE? Why did they not FOLLOW me? Could they not tell, just by the look on my face, that my whole life had changed?
And so, my view toward Ecumenicism (the effort to promote mutual understanding and, ultimately, unity among all Christians) became that of total conversion or nothing. If you’re not with me, you’re against me. (just so you know, that’s not a very good place to be.)
Slowly, as years went by, I softened. Thank goodness. I became more accepting. Wondering at the ways of God and all these churches scattering the sides of the highways. “What saint is that one named for, Mommy?” my children would ask, as we passed the Chinese Baptist Church near our house. “Oh, I don’t know.” I would resort. Not wanting to explain all that just yet.
And so, I was able to ignore all of this for years. For almost 20 years, in fact. Until now.
The year all my children entered public schools.