Tuesday, July 20, 2010

And Now To Reflect, Refract, Retract, React

Steubenville at MSU was the greatest experience of my summer. It's true, but strange because it was a Catholic Youth Retreat....Up until Saturday, I hated being Catholic.

I went with Colleen and Caitlyn. We left late Friday morning. To my pleasant surprise, I found myself on a Huskey Charter Bus again. I really never thought I would be on one of those again after Nashville. About an hour and a half in, the engine started to overheat, so we had to pull off into a rest stop and wait two hours for a new bus. Everyone else on the bus thought it was horrible, but Colleen and I were unphased. Speaking of everyone else...I like to compare it to being on a band trip, except, instead of getting on your band's bus, you get on a different bus. It was definitely strange. We knew no one except for each other. Naturally, we were a bit shy, which probably came off as antisocial or elitist.

The description thus far doesn't sound so great, but trust me.

Finally, we get to MSU around 5:30. It's storming. Torrential rains. power is out. We hurry to get settled in our rooms (second floor, two flights of stairs, no elevator at all), and hurry to the cafeteria to eat dinner before heading to the JQH arena for the beginning of everything.

Colleen, Caitlyn and I were totally not ready for what we experienced. We entered the arena in a huge mob to see 3200 Catholic teens praising God. When I say praising, I mean scream-singing with appropriate hand motions. (Well, except for the attractive boy we were sitting by - he did nothing.) We were totally overwhelmed. It was like being thrown into a pit with really friendly lions....
After some opening spiels, and after Colleen and I had halfway learned the songs everyone else seemed to know they began the first Eucharistic Adoration of the weekend. For those who don't know, Eucharistic Adoration is a Catholic sacrament where Jesus Christ's physical being (through the Eucharist--the body of Christ) is displayed for everyone to adore. It's like the purest form of worship. I had never been to a Eucharistic Adoration before, and I never really paid much attention to it before, so I really had no idea what was going to happen. There was a lot of kneeling and a lot of singing and praying, but I was still too overwhelmed to really take in the fact that Jesus Christ was right there before me. So....I was pretty glad when it was over because the kneeling was over.

Saturday, however, was a totally different day. That morning, I went to a (for lack of a better word) massive Mass. It was so strange to be at a Mass that was almost entirely comprised of teenagers. I mean, generally Mass is mostly people over the age of thirty-five. I really felt like I was actually part of something bigger than myself for the first time. But that feeling was destroyed by the massive sex talk we had afterward....Jeez, that was awful. It was so awkward. It's not like they were saying anything I was really opposed to (except for contraception), but maybe it was because as they were talking about porn, masturabation and other distasteful things, I was seated between my best friend and her little sister, both of which have boyfriends. But I'm pretty sure it would have been awkward regardless.
After that, we went to lunch and then went to "Entertainment" with Jackie Francios (hilarious woman), which was...entertaining. Then we had to go to some workshops. We had a few different options, but we decided on going to one about how to pray (the best one out of the three at that time) and one called "Daring to Date". It was going to be hilarious and we knew it.
The first workshop was given by this guy that reminded Colleen and me of an angry Yoda. He was really intense and yelled a lot, but I guess he had a right to be since he was sexually abused as a child and worked with people recovering from Satanic Cult Abuse.....moving right along!
The next one was on dating "and how to keep it holy". Everybody went to this one. I mean, you just know it's going to be hilarious. En route, I even came across a lesbian couple (WHAT?!) and Colleen and I agreed that they had huge balls....(excuse the expression). It was hosted by Miss Francios and she was again hilarious.

I have two problems with Miss Francios' presentation.
1. She used a Chris Brown song to illustrate a man and woman's divine need for each other.
--Chris Brown is a wife-beater.
2. She quote Queen's "Somebody to Love" to illustrate the loneliness single people feel.
--While the song is often used for that purpose casually, I highly doubt Mr. Mercury would like the song he wrote to illustrated his tormenting struggle as a gay man to be used as such at a CATHOLIC HOMOPHOBIC function.

Yes....that was.....annoying.

That notwithstanding, it was a hilarious workshop.

Fast-forward to Adoration (DAY 2)

It was the most spiritual experience of my life. I saw and felt God, in a physical sense, for the first time. And almost everything I had been dealing with this past year made sense!

For example:

On my 18th birthday, I was for all intents and purposes kicked out of Jaguar Theatre for no apparent reason. Horrible. But that night Ash and Jen (my best friends) and Colleen (just a friend) came over and made it one of the best birthday's ever. (The best was my 15th--PS3 release!!!) From that point, I became closer and closer with Colleen. Now she is my best friend. I went to Steubenville with her. Because of her. And now here I was, in the presence of God.

How amazing is that?

Now that the retreat is over (the rest of the details don't really matter), I find myself in a state of re-evaluation.

I have decided that I am good enough for God's love. That I can forgive myself for the supposedly horrible things I've done.


There are certain things I can't just give up. I mean, I still completely support the legalizing gay marriage. I still believe that truly being gay is not someone's choice. I am still pro-choice simply because legal abortion is a hell of a lot safer than illegal abortion. (Back alleys are really disgusting.) And I will not align myself solely with the GOP.

So now I have to figure out where I actually fit in.
It would be rather presumptuous of me to decide that I am some sort of religious revolutionary, created by God to make the blind see the error of their ways. I mean, let's just be honest here. It's probably more practical for me to be a sort of bridge between those who are out for blood, those who are too afraid and those are confused. Maybe I am just an advocate. I really don't know. But I like going to Church now, so this must be something big.


Wow....that was a lot longer than I thought it would be. My bad.


MyBlueHeaven said...

One word - WOW!

MyBlueHeaven said...

I don't normally read all that is on Janet's blog, however I heard her comment on your recent post. I went on it and read it. I can't express how much I enjoyed reading it. I feel I gained more insight into you. You have such insight and are so reflective. The fact that you feel you are still sorting some things out is how you should be. good luck in all.

Old Pirate Pappy