I haven’t felt like this in a long time. Years, in fact. Maybe it’s because this past month was Ramadhan and I’ve had its meaning and everything that it stands for and everything that goes against it shoved down my throat. Maybe it’s because I’m back here, trying to pull my life back together with every fiber in my being, as excruciating as it is. Maybe it’s because over the past year I’ve been thinking a lot about the things I’ve done and that have happened and wondering how it all came to be. Maybe it’s a sign that I’m finally ready to renew my faith in my religion. Whatever the reason is, I can’t wait for Lent.
After I was baptised when I was twelve, I tried to be a good Catholic, to live up to the reason I chose to be Catholic in the first place. I wasn’t a diehard Catholic, but I never missed Sunday Mass if I could help it, I took Communion and went to Confession, and I observed Lent even though I wasn’t considered of age to be doing so, because I wanted to understand what it was that I had cleaved to and why it had seemed so important to me to go down that road.
And somewhere along the way, about four years ago, I got lost. I made mistakes that I couldn’t yet learn from, and I sought comfort in the absolution that Confession brought. But then it came to a point where I couldn’t bring myself to go to church, because I felt like a fraud for being there when I was so steeped in sin that I knew if it had been entirely up to Him — and not on the obligation of the priest who must have balked at all my confessions — I would never have been forgiven. And so I stopped going to church, deciding that the day I knew in my bones that I had truly, truly learnt from my mistakes and was ready to embrace the purity of the Church again with a clear conscience, I would go back.
Yet I still observed Lent, because I felt it was at least the one thing I could do to keep that last shred of faith hanging on. During those forty days I took little comfort in the thought that I was trying not to let go of everything that I had learnt and accomplished, which was a substantial amount for someone who had had no sense of faith or spirituality in the first eleven years of her life. But it never brought the same sense of peace and contentment that it used to, and there were days when I wondered why I was even doing it.
To say I’ve reverted would be an exaggeration. To say things are back to the way they were before would not be quite so accurate. But things are certainly different now, in a way I have yet to figure out. There is no going back, only forward, whether on the same road I was on before, or on a different one that will teach me different things along the way, but in the end let me understand again why I was on that road in the first place.
So yes, I can’t wait for Lent.