I looked in temples, churches and mosques. But I found the divine within my heart. – Rumi
Over the last few weeks I have started to have incredible ideas and energetic shifts within myself. When I was sitting the little chapel in Labastide-Esparbairenque beside La Muse, we were lucky enough that the Mayor had let us in. As I sat in that little chapel and I was overwhelmed by the sense of calm and true peace form around me. I felt as if I had finally come home.
Over the past fourteen years, I have struggled with my faith and the Catholic Church. After AM was murdered in 2002, I sat in the mass every Sunday evening trying to find answers to why God made this happen and what lessons where there to be learnt. I gave up after post traumatic stress syndrome consumed me. I spent what energy I had dealing with ways to survive and not feel what I was feeling. I turned to alcohol to deal with the feelings.
I began to walk away from my God and especially the Catholic Church. One day at university I was so angry, fed up and truly let down by God (I was majoring in theology – the irony at a Catholic University) that I said there was no such thing as God and a heated debate was had in the lunch room. I was a woman on a mission and it wasn’t the right one. That Sunday was the last time I took communion and I stopped attending weekly mass. The years following university, I would occasionally attend midnight mass with my rock EW. Midnight mass is one of the most powerful and personally empowering experiences I have encountered, I put this down to one simple thing the pure joy. It is the joy that surrounds the church with the energetic atmosphere alive with singing and music echoing through the Cathedral.
Six years ago, during the Easter celebrations, I attended Sunday mass in a little shack in Boracay, Philippians. I was welcomed into their community as hundreds gathered to sing and celebrate Christ (of course in a foreign language). It was a beautiful experience and felt joy, peace and calm. I was amazed how full the offering basket were, these are some of the poorest of poor and they are handing over their money to the Church. Later that year, I found myself in Rome, the holly ground for all Catholics, I sat in Basilicas, Cathedrals, Churches and I have a strong love and appreciation for stained glass windows.
As I had climbed to the top of St Peters Basilica in the Vatican City with my friend Seb and his friend Eric. I remember looking out across the city, the gardens, the extravagant buildings there was a great energetic sift within me. I started to feel outraged. I was angry at the Catholic church and what they stood for. Again I blamed God of this, how could he let these priest in Italy live this way yet the people in the Philippines struggle. I was furious and poor Seb listened to me for hours moan about how frustrated I was! God and I were done. I only have attended mass once since then and that Christmas Eve, with my friend JG and her family in Canada.
I let go of Catholic beliefs and God.
Over the years, I have been in been involved in great debates when it came to the Catholic church, the fact I studied theology, religion and went to a Catholic University it always provided fuel to the conversation. The Catholic Church and God in my eyes had always let me down. This year I found my answer and why I always felt let down the Catholic Church and God.
When I started to deal and openly discuss my past trauma of sexual abuse which occurred at primary school, the person I turned to for help was my teacher, was a nun. She dismissed me as if I was nothing but saying don’t be ridiculous that would never happen at our school. She was saving face, saving the Catholic Church but not saving her student. God didn’t let me down, she did.
Over the past two years, there has been huge shifts in the way the victims of sexual abuse are treated and we have been given a voice but still the Catholic Church denies any wrong doing. Watching the Royal Commission with George Pell, I felt infuriated and more angry with Church and God.
Sitting in the little chapel in Labastide-Esparbairenque there was a little light that flickered on within me. I felt so at home, I was confused. I talked at great length with Kerry about how I was feeling. She suggested I write a letter to the Pope. I spent the next three days writing, talking and reflecting about my emotions and feelings. There was a change occurring. On our day to town we went to Cite de Carcassonne as we walked around, we found ourselves in the Basilica of Saint Nazarius and Celsus. I was moved to tears by the great beauty of the stained glass windows and feeling was overwhelming. I took a moment and I lit a candle, and said a prayer. It was then I realised that it wasn’t God who let me down but religion. I walked outside and said that same thing to my friend NG. I had an epiphany! It was the answer I was looking for.
Over the last weeks, whilst hiking and walking I have explored what God is, how we label God in our different religions and what does this actually mean. I know there is a Higher Being, God, Creator, Devine what ever you want to call it. Many years I have fought this positive energy, I blocked it out and I wouldn’t allow it in to help me instead I blamed it (my ego) for what pain I was going through. I haven’t had the easiest of journeys but I know though through my meditation, yoga and work I am inviting this energy in and becoming comfortable with it. I am feeling more purposeful, I have an abundant new energy to share and explore with the world. I feel most connected with God and my spirituality when I am in nature and its true beauty of
Great things come to those who wait.