Please read the following with the understanding that I fully respect others' spiritual views, even those radically different from my own. While I won't go into great detail, just know that my religious upbringing was unfulfilling to say the least. I highly respect (and am even envious) of those who figured it out early on and continue to hold true to their beliefs. It just wasn't that easy for me.
I was raised Catholic, but didn't go to mass regularly. I attended CCD (like Sunday school but not on Sunday, it was basically there to teach the sacraments and lead you through them). I made my first communion and continued with weekly classes until I made my confirmation (incidentally, in the middle of ceremony my sponsor and cousin Joey had to tell me that I had a huge hickey on the back of my neck, it was 10th grade and my boyfriend was sponsoring his brother who was my age and also confirming that day a few pews behind me...just shows you how seriously (not) I took the whole thing). I remember feeling relieved that I didn't have to do any church-stuff again until the next wedding or funeral came up. Done and done.
When it came time to get married, we decided to have the ceremony at the reception site and a Methodist minister conducted the ceremony. Nothing too religious. Sadly, nothing too spiritual. I just wasn't there yet.
Going through this IF journey, I've found great comfort in exploring other alternatives to not only Catholicism, but Christianity as a whole. I was looking for answers and hoped religion would have them. I've explored Buddhism and even the Baha'i faith, among others. I've learned to meditate and read authors who focus on the commonalities of world religions, as opposed to what divides them. I thought that there would never be an organized religion that met my needs and I considered returning to my roots, settling for "closing my ears" when the priest discussed agenda items that I can't subscribe to. I didn't have to do that though.
I'm full of joy as I tell you of my new church! My "new" church sounds funny because it implies that I had an old one. We've been going to a Unitarian Universalist church for the past few weeks. It's everything I've always wished church would be. They are "intentionally inclusive and diverse" and welcome those from all other religions, races, and sexual orientation. While they don't follow any particular text (Bible, Torah, ect), they base their beliefs on recognizing the inherent worth and dignity of all people. It's a warm, welcoming place where you leave feeling inspired to go out and make a difference in the world. We sing and pray and meditate. I've lit a candle during the candle lighting portion every week for our baby girl Sofia. Last week I was so moved by the meditation, I wept unashamed afterward. I am full of peace and contentment as I think about our growing family finding a home there.