I really ought to have done this yesterday, since that was my two-year anniversary of entering the Church, but I got busy. It’s close, right?
I don’t really have a lot of deep insights right now, but I feel like I should put something down for the historical record… Being a Catholic is like life, you know? Some things good, some things bad, most things just running in the background.
I guess the main thing that I didn’t anticipate was that my (now soon-to-be-ex) husband would follow me into the Church within a few months. Almost as soon as I joined, he suddenly became much more interested, received personalized, expedited instruction from the chaplain at his command, and was confirmed that October.
On one hand, that’s good. Obviously, I believe that the Church is true, and that to align oneself with Her is the correct thing to do. On the other hand, given my personal situation, the Church suddenly became much less safe for me. Previously, the Church had been a safe haven; I knew that I could always go there to be safe — mentally AND physically, since it was once place my husband wasn’t. But things like the Rosary, Adoration, and Catholic radio became things that brought me nearer to my husband’s orbit, instead of farther away.
Of course, if we had a healthy relationship, this would have been great news. Many converts’ journeys into the Church are burdened by their spouse NOT agreeing with what they’re doing. As with so many things, my problems are the mirror-image of normal… As it is, my entry into the Church was followed by a swift cooling of interest and decline in practice (although not below the required minimum), because my attempts to stay as far away from my husband as possible led me in the opposite direction.
I believe that one’s journey toward Truth is necessarily paved with difficulties. It’s like you have to prove you want it, you know? In my case, before I entered the Church, I had to accept that I may have to endure a sacramental marriage until death, despite abuse and civil divorce. After I entered the Church, I had to force myself to continue to be faithful, despite wanting to flee in the opposite direction to avoid my husband. The timing is important: had he shown interest beforehand, I may have thrown over the whole thing to get away from him. But since I had been confirmed, I was committed…
The greatest benefit to being a one-religion family is that our daughter will be raised in agreement. She attends Catholic school, and I have every reason to expect that we both will do our best to raise her in the faith. We may live in different houses, and attend different parishes, but there’s consistency.
The other challenge to my young Catholicism has been the normal strains of everyday life. Attending college, moving, trying to find a job and support myself, illness… I no longer have the time available to spend researching and studying the Faith. And truthfully, that’s something that I have always appreciated about Catholicism: it’s for the merely human! You don’t have to study, read, and devote all your spare time to trying to determine what the truth is. The Church has done that for you, and She gives you a very, very light minimum weight to carry to continue to be in good standing. The Church understands the difficulties of life, and constantly makes allowances for them. It doesn’t take much to be a Catholic, fortunately. Or it takes everything, whichever. Depends on which day I’m looking at it…