In search of a Christian bubble

Dear Pope Francis,

A few weeks ago, Lauren wrote about how she needs to get out of her Catholic bubble and engage with the world more. I’m a little jealous that she has a Catholic bubble to begin with.

One of the hardest things about coming back to the Church is the feeling of otherness I brought back with me.

In my second year of university I took a course with Fr. Dolan. One of the concepts we spent a lot of time discussing was how the essence of who we are is influenced by our life surround. When there is disconnect between our values and our life surround, one of them is going to change.

My life surround is the people, places, and things I interact with every day. When I left the Church there was otherness amongst my secular friends. The sense of being different didn’t really start to fade until I gave up many of the moral beliefs I had been raised with.

Some were easy to let go of because they were never deeply held, for example the prohibition against same sex couples. Other virtues, like temperance were easy to disregard but hard to ignore entirely.

France-Islam2Little by little, I became less the well-behaved Catholic I was raised as and more in sync with the attitudes my friends held. My life surround contained people and things contrary to the values I was raised with, so the values changed.

Coming back to the Catholic Church was like putting on a favourite shirt I hadn’t worn since the middle of puberty. I loved the familiar feel of the ritual of Mass and the music was still exactly the right shade to soothe my soul. But it didn’t fit like it had before, because I had developed and changed. The sleeves were too short and I couldn’t run easily in it because there wasn’t room for my chest to move when I breathed.

I’ve been blessed to meet so many good people and to make the few close friends I have made in the four and a half years since I came back to the church. The Catholic Church shirt I wear now is torn and tie-dyed. It fits loosely. Often when I consciously try to spend time with other young adults in the Church, it feels like they’re trying to make me wear my old shirt.

I miss having a Christian bubble to be a part of, but my old shirt just doesn’t fit anymore. I want my life surround to have more people who share my belief in God and more opportunities for me to learn about the practical side of Christian living. But it’s also really important to me to remain approachable for people outside the church, and I need my tie-dye church shirt for that.

Awkward and othered,


P.S. Pretty sure being pope gives you a little extra pull with God. Can you please remind him it’s supposed to be springtime in Canada?

Categories: Meredith | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

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5 thoughts on “In search of a Christian bubble

  1. Keen

    I hope you are able to reconstruct your bubble. Bubbles are very important. Just don’t make it an inescapable hamster ball, because those of us not suited to the Catholic bubble would miss you dearly.

    • Haha, thanks Keen. Keeping the bubble open to other bubbles around me is part of why I think it’s important for me to keep engaging with non-Catholics and non-Christians. I have a lot of fun with those people and spending time with people outside the church has really opened my eyes to some of the areas where the church needs to work on tone and attitude for outreach to be effective.

      But where I’m at now I’m also really craving the company of a larger circle of friends who share my faith. Some of the stuff I’m figuring out I need to be able to discuss with people who don’t need me to explain why I believe in God in order to get into the details of doctrine or tradition.

      Beyond that, I’m finding I really need some more people in my life who I can hang out with and watch a movie, or shoot pool or go bowling with who share my worldview. There’s lots of opportunities for faith formation through my church and the places I lurk online these days, but very few opportunities for fellowship. More than anything it’s the fellowship I’m missing.

  2. I really appreciate your heart in your writing. So many write the things they think people want to hear to get the accolades that go with it. As I was reading I thought about my grandson who is now eight months old.
    He spent some time with us this weekend, and as we were going through his clothes I discovered that many of the things he looked so adorable in were now too small. He is growing and will need new things as time goes on. And as he changes his clothes will change also from baby things to toddler, from toddler to little boy and so on.
    Your shirt was not meant to fit for all time. As you experience more of the Lord you in community with others who are like-minded He will introduce you to new clothes.
    Taking what you know and applying it (practical) to your life will allow to be relevant to those outside the church. Because everyone is searching for truth, something that makes sense that they can hold onto in the midst of the madness.
    I am excited about your journey. Keep us posted!
    (Sorry to make this so long)

    • Thanks very much! It’s important to me to be real with people about where I’m at and what I’m thinking about when I’m writing these posts.

      Where I’ve been struggling the last few years has been in finding a community of like minded individuals within my church community. I’m going to be moving to a new province in a couple of months for work, I think being someplace bigger will help a lot with finding a bubble I fit in.

      Thanks for commenting, I hope you’ll continue to join me in this journey!

  3. Pingback: Settling into Life | Letters to the Pope

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