But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, 1 Peter 3:15
I've been doing a lot of thinking lately.
Thinking about work, about love, about family. Mostly though, I've been thinking about God and my relationship with Him.
In times of strife, one often turns to God for help. Help in the form of guidance, protection, or a miracle. Having been baptized and confirmed Catholic, I grew up with a strong sense of spirituality, but had an omnipresent hesitation towards the Religion. In my teen years, I started to pull away from the Church - largely out of rebellion towards my parents, who were trying to force me down that path even after my Confirmation, but I saw no point in it. Eventually they gave up trying, and I gave up caring.
As I got older, I began to realize that some of my hesitation was directed toward what I felt was the hypocritical a-la-carte approach to the Faith, by many Catholics who called themselves "practicing" but in reality were picking and choosing what was convenient for them. Midnight Mass was in the same bucket as baking Christmas cookies and decorating the tree - a nice Christmas tradition to do with the kids every year and an excuse to show off the Christmas dresses.
I'm sorry, but what about every other Sunday in the year? One thing I know is that to be in the Lord's favor you need to live, breath and set example through your Faith and the Tenants of that Faith as directed by Church leaders. Going to Church once a year didnt cut it; as a Catholic, I was (at a minimum) expected to go to Mass and take Communion on a weekly basis (more often during Lent) and serve Penance monthly. My youthful observation that others didnt take that seriously didnt sit well with me but rather than leading by example, I walked away altogether.
That being said...I still maintained a strong sense of spirituality that serves me till today. Case in point:
I was 24 and at one of the lowest points in my life when I went hiking one night at sunset to the top of Camelback Mountain in Phoenix. I was two years out of college and had moved cross-country to work in the exciting world of politics. It's a long story but I lost that job after my boss was indicted on embezzlement charges and didnt think I had any other prospects. My first inclination was to run home to mom and dad. I was all set to go, but I kept feeling this sense of failure.
I got to the top of the mountain and looked out over the Valley and the tears started flowing. I honestly didnt know what to do. I looked up at the sky, with the stars coming out, and said out loud "Lord, please help me. Please guide me to the right decision. I'm putting my life in your hands because I dont know what else to do." It was getting late so I hiked back down the mountain and went home. The next morning I woke up feeling this strong sense of peace and the knowledge that I couldnt leave; I had to stay. Long story short, I went out and found myself gainful employment, and remained in Phoenix for three more years until leaving under my own steam.
Since then, my Faith has seen me through....a fact not lost on me but one that I havent embraced until recently.
At the suggestion of a friend, I have been reading scripture; specifically Proverbs. I've started at 1 and am currently on 18. It's taking me awhile to get through each one as I find myself thirsty for spiritual knowledge and reading them over and again so I can absorb as much of the meaning as possible. In these days of personal "complications", I am finding comfort in the Word. I am finding a sense of warmth and security I hadnt had before. And I am finding my way Home.