When I was nine years old, I had the most beautiful Easter shoes. They were white patent leather (not black patent leather, of course) and they fastened with a little gold clasp in the shape of a butterfly. We had gone all out because I could wear the shoes when I made my first communion later that same spring. I loved those shoes. They were only supposed to be worn for special occasions but I was happy to call any occasion special if I meant I could wear those beautiful shoes.
The summer after that Easter, we moved. Then we moved again the next year. We had a hard time establishing ourselves at a local parish. We drifted from the Church.
And that drift was fine with me. As I settled into my broody teenage years, I didn't believe in anything anymore, much less the teachings of the Catholic Church, but slowly over the years, I began to miss it—not the Church, exactly, but the concept of faith, the idea of belief.
That longing shows itself in funny ways. When I worked in midtown, during bad days I would sometimes sit in the back at St. Patrick's cathedral, not to pray, but to think (of course, if that didn't work, I consoled myself by buying expensive somethings at the Saks Fifth Avenue next door). When I was planning my wedding, I vaguely wanted someone to read 1 Corinthians, Chapter 13, but I certainly didn't want to be married in a church.
In 2001, I took some of my dot com bubble severance to travel to Ireland. I visited churches upon churches and bought myself a simple silver cross as a token of my Catholic past. Although I still didn't pray, I wore that cross until infertility treatments began to go awry three years later. Then I took it off and put it away.
After the kids were born, I started to think about religion in a different way. I don't worry that not being a part of a church somehow jeopardizes their immortal souls—I don't know if they have immortal souls—but I do worry that they are missing out on something by not being more exposed to the concept of faith.
I dabble in non-Catholic churches, but the last few attempts have been so unsatisying that I won't try again this Easter. Maybe next year.
Faith—is the Pierless Bridge
Supporting what We see
Unto the Scene that We do not—
Too slender for the eye
It bears the Soul as bold
As it were rocked in Steel
With Arms of Steel at either side—
It joins—behind the Veil
To what, could We presume
The Bridge would cease to be
To Our far, vacillating Feet
A first Necessity.