Thursday, February 16, 2012

Foreigner's Homeland

Today my RCIA director asked me if converting to Catholicism felt like coming into a foreign land or like coming home. This was actually a hard question for me to answer on the fly, because it's felt like both most of the time. And maybe that's my answer. But I liken it to the following:

Say I'm in America & I found out that I have family in Eastern Europe. We've been in contact & they're wanting me to come for a visit. So I do some research as to the place I'm going, customs, language, etc. I shell out the bucks to get my passport & medical taken care of & book a flight about 6 months out. I'm already anticipating how I'll communicate with these people or what we'll have to talk about. I wonder what stories I'll hear or what new things I'll be exposed to. The months pass by & suddenly the week of the trip is upon me. I need to start thinking about what to pack. Then comes the day I get to drag my bags through the airport & board the plane. I'm buzzing with excitement & a little bit of apprehension... I'm drained from being around people, standing in endless lines & all the other restrictive minutia of traveling in the 21st century. Its going to be a long flight. And when I land, these people I've only known through pictures & letters & emails are there to greet me. Someone in the family knows English, so we converse in broken sentences & nervous laughter. Its kind of awkward, but at the same time, this is my family. They bring me to their home (which is now my home) & we eat together. We talk some more. We stay up all night pouring over history. The days are full of things to see, places to go, people to meet. Short story shorter, I fall in love with it & decide to stay. This is kind of what converting to Catholicism is like for me. It's my foreign homeland. It's the place where I come from...

To my knowledge, no one in my family was Catholic... but the more I learn, the more I realize how aligned in heart I've been all these years. Even though some facets of the faith are definitely foreign to me, other things are somehow very familiar. I can't shake the feeling that this is where I belong.

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