Tuesdays With Tyler: Losing My Religion

I am raising Tyler as a Catholic, like me.  I had him christened at three months old…and that is the last time he or I have ever been in a church.  For many years due to chronic illness I have been unable to attend Mass.  By the time Saturday evenings rolled around I was exhausted, in for the night, and mornings are the toughest for me; for pain, brain function, fatigue, etc.  I used to attend church weekly; dressed nicely with hair and makeup done, and now just doing those things is enough to ruin me for the day.

After feeling guilty for many years, I had made my peace with it.  It wasn’t like I was spending Saturday nights out on the town or heading to the beach on Sunday mornings.  I was just…resting.

And then came Tyler.

I knew I wanted to raise him in the church and I figured I was somehow going to HAVE to find the will to get him there.

He is now six.  And really needs to start CCD next year.

I think I am feeling well enough to try to take him to church, only now, no real surprise here, he doesn’t want to go.

Lately he has been expressing interest in religions.  How does Orthodox Judaism differ from other Judaic religions?  What is the difference between being a Christian and being a Catholic?  (Yep, I’ve got a budding genius on my hands.)

It seems like the perfect time to start going to Mass on a regular basis but when I talk about trying out a service after our Saturday activities or attending a Sunday school class to learn more about God and Jesus, Tyler says, “Maybe next week, Mommy.”

It would have been so much easier to have just taken him to Mass from when he was a baby, when he had no choice in the matter, but I just wasn’t feeling well enough at the time.

Lots of Chronically Ill and Catholic Mom guilt here.

As a child I remember being at Mass with a bunch of little children’s religious books which I would read to pass away the hour that I did not understand.  Music was always the best part of the Mass for me and I started singing in the Children’s Choir when I was ten.  I did Folk Group in junior high and also sung in the Adult Choir.

At some point I guess I am just going to have to drag Tyler to church, and soon.

I just hope I have the energy.

Photo Courtesy of Living-The-Mission (Wiki)

 

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About mamasick

Emily Cullen is a pen-name. I suffer from chronic illnesses and diseases which include Bipolar Disorder, Asthma, Diabetes and Fibromyalgia. I had battled Lupus and Rheumatoid Arthritis but there is no longer evidence of me having these diseases and my Rheumatologist has declared them to be "burnt out" of my system. I am separated from my husband, “Grant”. Our son, “Tyler” was born in September of 2006 and suffers from tics and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, and is delayed in fine and gross motor skills. In my blog I seek to let sick moms know that they are not the only ones going through this, and to educate people about what can happens when one becomes catastrophically ill. I also strive to break down stereotypes of what a “Welfare Mom” is like. Anything that I have gone through due to being sick, is written on the pages of Mama Sick.
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3 Responses to Tuesdays With Tyler: Losing My Religion

  1. OzarksUSA says:

    I think you are doing a good job. It’s not always the best thing to force a child to attend a parent’s chosen religious services. Most of the people I know who were forced by their parents to attend Church when they didn’t want to, left the Church as soon as they could when they got older. I know how Catholic guilt feels, but you are doing a good job as a mom, and shouldn’t feel guilty. (Easier said than done, when talking about Catholic guilt. lol) I think it’s great you are letting Tyler ask these questions about religions. I’ve seen some great looking books on Amazon explaining to children, from other childrens’ points of view, what other religions are like. The series is “Religions of the World.” It’s for ages 5 and up and some of the titles in the series are “I Am Jewish (Religions of the World)” by Bernard P. Weiss, “I Am Hindu (Religions of the World)” by Devi S. Aiyengar, “I Am Roman Catholic (Religions of the World)” by Philemon D. Sevastiades, and “I Am Eastern Orthodox (Religions of the World)” by Philemon Sevastiades. There’s an exhaustive list of religions that they have books on. I haven’t actually seen the books in person, but they look good on Amazon. I don’t know about your library, but in ours we can request specific books to be borrowed from other libraries if ours doesn’t have it. Tyler is such a bright little boy, I’m sure he’d enjoy learning about kids around the world and what they believe. It might make him want to explore what his family believes, too. 🙂
    OzarksUSA´s last blog post ..Missing: Katherine Maiden, 16 Nampa, ID

  2. Marcy K. says:

    Hi, I found your blog by accident and thought I would comment. I noticed this line “I guess I am just going to have to drag Tyler to church, and soon.” Please don’t think of it as “dragging to church.” Church is an outward sign of God’s love, it is what Christ left behind to help us get the guidance and worship we need to love and get to Him. Sometimes it seems dull, but really it is sublime. The people in the church are not perfect and make mistakes, but God normally uses people as His hands and it leads to making both the person being helped, and the helper, more holy.

    Now, in regards to your son: In normal circumstances, most children do not desire to go to church. Just like they don’t want to do their math homework or clean their room, they don’t want to sit in a pew for an hour. This is normal. It is our job to train them that there are some things that we have to do even though we may not understand why. Someday we will understand. For some people that takes longer than we think it will. Your son needs to learn there is a God that is madly in love with him and he needs to foster that relationship. Christianity (and Catholicism in particular) is all about fostering that love relationship. Many times we Christians don’t come across the right way, but that is truly what it is all about. Remember “God is Love” and He wants to shower us with His love and blessings. Taking your kid to church is guiding him in the right direction, not “Forcing it on him.” It is bringing him in contact with the Lord, so He can bestow His blessings.

    As a Christian, and Catholic to boot, we are not just called to love, but called to worship the Lord. Actually we are not just called, but commanded to do this: “Keeping the Lord’s Day Holy.” God gives us tons of hours a week, we can give Him back one hour of worship in Thanksgiving, which is what “Eucharist” means.

    Let’s start with you and YOUR spiritual life. The first thing you need to work on is your own relationship with God. I know, you only want to get your kid in CCD, why should you work on your spiritual life? Because you need to. God is calling you. He can be sneaky and you wanting your kid to go to Church is probably a call for you too.

    I was away from the Church for years because it wasn’t cool to go to Church. Then we had our son and I realized that I should be a good mom and get him baptized and raise him with God. It was also my way of answering the small voice inside me that was calling me to come back, but I had been too worried of people’s opinions of me to come back before. I started taking my baby to church and started building on my own relationship with God. This is not a onetime “Are You Saved?” kind of deal that the Protestants like to push. This is a lifelong relationship, similar to a marriage. There are days when it feels great and others it feels like a burden, but you work on it and over time it grows. God is the perfect one and we are the ones that fall – over and over – but God picks us up, and if we trust in Him he will help us.

    The first thing you need to do is start praying. You can use formal prayers if you wish (Our Father, Hail Mary, there are lots and lots of printed prayers around) but better are the prayers from your heart. Talk to God like you talk to a friend – because that is what He is. Tell him your complaints, your frustrations, your problems understanding Him and your relationship with Him. Ask Him for help. Ask Him to show you what to do. Do this in the line at the supermarket, driving around town, when you are cooking dinner, etc. It does not have to be formal.

    Next, try to get to Confession. This is a starting thing – get rid of all the baggage you have collected probably most of your adult life and start fresh. Sin weighs us down and makes it harder to move on. Most Confessions happen on Saturday afternoon, but for you, especially since you have not been for probably years and years, call and make an appointment with the priest and go see him. Ask for an hour appointment if possible. If for some reason you get a difficult receptionist (Church office ladies are notorious for being difficult for some reason) or you are uncomfortable in some way, then call another parish. Then you can not only go to Confession without the constraints of time, but you can discuss with the priest your spiritual life in general and how you want to bring your son up in the faith. Here is a guide to Confession: http://www.catholic.org/prayers/confession.php

    After you go to Confession then, IF you can, start going to Mass. You don’t have to dress up in makeup and heels (really I would be shocked if I saw someone really dressed up to go to Mass). Dress as decently (aka, it’s best to be clean) as you can and take it slow. Don’t put strong pressure on yourself and wind up collapsing in the aisle, ok? Perhaps a weekday Mass or an evening “healing Mass” would work for you better. Check out websites of churches in your area for times. MassTimes.org is good too. If you can’t swing that, then call the church and ask for Communion to be brought to you. This happens all the time for chronically ill people. A person from the parish comes and brings Communion to you.

    If you can’t leave your house, then don’t hesitate – please call the parish and ask for the priest to come see you. Tell them you want Confession and the Eucharist. If for some reason the priest can’t come out, call another parish. Really, priests visit people all the time.

    The next thing to do is buy a bible. Get one you will read, preferably Catholic so it has all the books of the Bible. I really like this one: http://www.amazon.com/New-Catholic-Answer-Bible-American/dp/1592761860/ref=pd_sim_sbs_b_1 because it is inexpensive and has a LOT of good information in it. Start in the Gospels (that is Matthew, Mark, Luke or John in the New Testament). Mark is good to start with because it is short and riveting. Read just a little every day and maybe take a couple of minutes to think about what you read and talk to God about it. Make it pleasurable: get comfortable, light a candle, be in a quiet place. But, no pressure, you can read it anywhere.

    You may also consider praying the Rosary. Any parish and serious Catholic has probably tons of Rosaries floating around if you don’t own one. You can get one at many places. Here is how to pray it if you don’t remember: http://www.newadvent.org/images/rosary.pdf Ask Our Lady to pray for you. You don’t have to pray the whole thing at once; you can pray a decade at a time if you want.

    These are all starting things, baby steps. When you talk to the priest then start asking about help. Help to get your child to CCD and church. Perhaps a mother’s group would be a good starting point. Perhaps he could car-pool with a family. Or maybe call the Director of Religious Education and explain the situation and what would be best to do. ASK, don’t be worried about putting people out. People WANT to help others but many times don’t know how.

    Take it how it best feels for you and foster your relationship with the Lord and at the same time talk to your son and tell him how important it is for all of you to welcome God into your life. Good books were important in my coming back to the faith. Surprised by Truth http://www.amazon.com/Surprised-Truth-Converts-Biblical-Historical/dp/0964261081 is a great book you may like. Catholicism for Dummies is another. I just finished reading a book called Wrapped Up: God’s Ten Gifts for Women that you might like. It is easy to read and one of the authors is chronically ill and talks about how that affects her relationship with God. http://www.amazon.com/Wrapped-Up-Gods-Gifts-Women/dp/1616364335/ref=pd_bxgy_b_img_y And you might be interested in my blog that has lots of resources for Catholics. I don’t get the chance to write very often but you may find the info there helpful: http://www.livecatholic.net/ In fact, I may just post this comment on my blog, so people actually know I’m alive!

    Sorry, I didn’t set out to start writing a book, but I hope you will find this helpful and give you ideas on what to do. I’ll be praying for you and you can contact me through my blog if you need help. God Bless!

    • mamasick says:

      Hi Marcy,

      Thanks for the wonderful advice. Tyler and I have been attending mass pretty regularly, except for me having the flu at Christmas. That was a big disappointment that we couldn’t go, but even the priest didn’t want me there to spread germs to the rest of his congregation!

      I feel blessed that I finally feel healthy enough that we can attend, for many years that was not the case.

      God bless and be well!

      Emily

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