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Sunday, December 12, 2010

Faith

    I will start out by saying that it took me a long time to think of a title proper for this passage. Personally, I feel it has more to do with the subject matter more than my daughter having way too much fun. (which makes it harder to sit here and type much of anything. ^_^ )


     I remember when I was seven I went to live with my parents. Even at seven I was impressionable and malleable. Both my parents were attenders of the St. Lawrence Catholic Church. This church is beautiful, with it's brick walls and stained glass windows, though the thing I remember the most about it was the large crucifixion of Jesus in the center above the altar. I never remember making an actual conscious decision to become Catholic, though I remember the events of the actual baptism quite well. I never went through a proclamation of faith, and I could tell you at that time I had no idea what exactly baptism meant. I went through the motions that was required of me: Stand there and say "yes father". The priest took my head and, from the thoughts of a seven year old, dunked my head in a pool of crystal clear water, and made a "salad dressing" cross on my forehead. I stood there, with my mom helping me dry off my hair, and thinking to myself what exactly was changed? I didn't feel different... just soaked and hoping the oil would get off my forehead.

     The rest of my life I did not live like I was saved. Yes, I was baptized and received the Catholic tradition of the First Communion. According to those laws of religion I was saved and held accountable for them. All of the many mistakes and lessons I've learned these few years are what some would consider normal. Boy troubles, grades at school, and even the not so special times with the family. I was always aware that things could be a whole lot worse, though it never really came to the front of my mind, nor did I ever really question being saved. There were times that the things of the Bible made sense, though those were definitely few and far between. I guess I was what I would call now, complacent. Why change the status quo when it was not anything detrimental to me? I cracked open the Bible a few times and read passages, though discouraged as most of it made no sense. I even went as far as to go to a Bible Study with a group of classmates. The things they were trying to teach sounded so good in theory, though slightly misguided. I was still impressionable and malleable even at 18, though equally as stubborn.

    Joining the Military did not change my opinion of being saved, though it help me grow slightly more into a person not so stubborn and eager to get things over with. I went to church in basic training like all the other 60+ females in my squad, mostly to get away from my TI for a few minutes a week and even cry without looking like a complete wuss. Everyone cried. Thinking back on it, I wonder how many cried tears of joy, and how many cried tears of sadness like mine... Heading out to my first location overseas was an adventure I was excited to have, though I would not know how much it would really change my life. Not a lot changed between how I lived before joining and how I lived while there, minus the obvious heading out to do a job every day. I lived in a large building, like an old hotel, and shared a bathroom with another girl who did sheet metal. (pretty awesome chick, I might add) I went to the gym every day and worked, worked out, ate, and went to bed. My weekends were usually spent between the base club and doing not much of anything in my room. It was quite lonely for a while until I met the hubby.

     Through all the odds and ends of a crazy deployment, I still believed I was saved. I sat there on the pad with everyone else waiting for us to get the go ahead to leave, and I was eating a cold spaghetti M.R.E. (the only one that tastes remotely decent cold, as the days were 115F and the nights were 80F at least) The events of the past week were floating through my head, and I was silent. I kept thinking about what our chaplain had said earlier about repenting our sins constantly, and that those who were saved were washed clean of them. He had since left us to join with another group of Marines who lost a few people a few days before. I knew that war meant I'd have to go kill people, and that I may not be the same on my return, but I would not have been able to guess how much blood I felt was on my hands. I compare it to being able to cover every single person in a church from head to toe in it. The more I pondered, the more I realized that I was NOT saved. At all. Not even remotely close. The thought bothered me, but I could not do anything about it then, so I stashed it aside to contemplate when I returned and wasn't getting shot at on a daily basis.

    I did return, and I returned to a shattered engagement and almost hollowed out shell of my former self. I had to establish a relationship that I thought I had, and fix the one I messed up. Adding to all of this, I had a time limit. I knew I had orders to another base sitting in my Email In-box, though I really did not want to deal with the orders at that time period. After realizing that drinking myself stupid via Captain Morgan and Coke was not going to help me with anything I had to do, I poured them all down the drain of my sink and wrote down my priority list and taped it to the back of my door, to my computer screen, to my bed, and even so bad as to post it on my bathroom door. I COULD NOT LET IT WAIT. As backwards as it sounds, I decided to fix my engagement first, and I'd be able to better deal with my harder predicament later. Makes things a lot harder saying marriage vows to God, whom you are not right with.

     Moving out to South Dakota has been a refreshing change. Easier to not drink as I was not old enough at the time, and when I did become old enough, the desire had completely left. I bought myself a new Bible. I read through it, and still confused me. I brought up my issue with my husband, who said that it is something he can only help with, I had to come to God myself. All he could do was show me how to go about doing that. I was not right, and I had to get right. The urge hit me more when I realized I was pregnant.

     Though it did take me some time, I became saved, and I actually know more now than I did when I was seven. I am ready now more than I was then to dunk my head in a pool of crystal clear water, and I'll even accept the "salad dressing" cross on my forehead. Then, I can be content in knowing I hold our daughter with clean hands.
 

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