Choosing my religion
Many women find their faith early in life. Perhaps they grew up in a
household where going to church every Sunday was a part of life. It was
expected and dutifully followed. In many ways, I feel that they are lucky
to have a foundation for their faith. It is much easier to keep on the
same traditions you had in your family or the conviction that you want
When we start our own families, we face having to
adapt to our spouse’s faith or have them adapt to ours. Often this issue
is kept under wraps until they start having children. I know
that I was not baptized due to my Father being a catholic and my Mother
was a protestant. Their brilliant solution was not to baptize me at
all. Therefore, my Mother would have us hop from one Christian
religion to another.
My faith is better than your faith.
This system seemed to work okay until I got to high school. For the first
time in my life, I was enrolled in a catholic school. I was not brought up
in this way like most of my schoolmates. They already know how to
work the system, and I clearly did not. On the first day of school in my
religion class, the teacher asked each girl to introduce them and
announce proudly what religion she was baptized in. I was in one of the
last rows, and this had me absolutely terrified. Everyone girl in the
room was baptized! This was my nightmare come to life; I was sweating
by the time she got to my row. When it was my turn, I mumbled my
name and that I was indeed not baptized. I did this in such a quiet
manner that only a handful of girls around several and me heard
gasped. This did not bolster my confidence. Finally, on the third
attempt, which was actually audible, the teacher, who of course was a
nun, dropped her jaw and asked me to repeat it as if she heard the
angels in heaven gasping for air, too.
She asked me to stay after class because she needed to speak to me. I
knew from the reaction of the entire class that I was in big trouble. In
much trepidation, I approached her desk, and she asked me if I lived in a
town about 45 minutes away and rode the bus to and from school, and I
replied yes, that I did. She then told me that since I wasn’t
baptized, if the bus crashed and I died, I would go to hell.
This traumatized me for years to come. My parents tried to calm me
down and defend their actions by saying they didn’t baptize me because
they couldn’t agree and thought it would be best to let me decide when I
was old enough. Perhaps this is why I went to every church in town
growing up, so I could pick one.
Sometimes religion is not enough.
Needless to say, when I got married, I was easily adopted by my
husband’s religion. I just needed a stable foundation for my future
children. I would not put them through what I went through as a child
and young adult. So when our first daughter was baptized, I was
baptized right along with her. I can’t say that I felt much different, but it
was still a right of passage that I needed to do, just in case.
But the reality was that I have always been very spiritual and not very
religious. There are several reasons for this, including that I have
spiritual gifts and have this sense of knowing that I can’t explain, nor do I
know where it comes from. There were many years of me seeking
answers through different spiritual classes and experiences.
As women raising families, we all have the sense of responsibility to give
our children a good religious foundation. It is up to them when they are
adults to carry on with the family traditions or to discover their own
faith, either way, we have done our job.
Finding more in spiritualism
But what happens to our faith when we become what I call “women in
full bloom”? I coined this term for women who are finally putting
themselves first, healing from the past, and rediscovering who they are
and what really they want. We are no longer are a mentor for our
children and their faith. Most of us are now divorced or widowed, and
let’s face it. We have bruises and scars from the wonderful journey called
life. None of us get to this age or season in life without losing,
disappointment, grief, and pain, whether physical or emotional.
So what becomes of our faith? We start to look for
answers to the many questions we have formed from what we’ve
experienced in life for many of us. Perhaps our faith has been pushed to the limit, or we
have lost it completely. For me, traditional religion has never brought
me these answers, and trust me, I have had many. It is at this time in life
that many of us turn to spirituality. There are many reasons for this and
perhaps as we get closer to death realize that the time is now or never.
Seeking answers and renewing one’s faith at this time of life is
incredibly healing and empowering. Seeing your life and life for
everyone at a higher level brings comfort and meaning. When we were
younger and busy raising kids, working, maintaining a marriage, there
wasn’t time to turn within and make space for our spiritual practices.
This process can start with just meditating for 10 minutes a day. Just
quieting the mind and feeling grounded can be incredibly restorative. It
is the greatest gift you can give yourself. Real healing starts from within
, and being introspective will bring about answers that you have longed
for. Being still and focusing on what is going on in your
body will bring about a release of past hurt and bring about emotional
Choosing to continue to bloom
As “Women in FULL bloom,” we are aware even at our age that we are
continuing to bloom, which means our petals are fully open, exposing our
glorious centers to the world. It takes years and years of love, joy,
passion, heartbreak, disappointment, and loss to finally bloom fully. We
are survivors and have the courage and wisdom to be fully open and
expose our true selves. Embrace your spirituality and experience the
wonder of self-love and acceptance. It is the greatest gift you can give