This is my first Christmas since leaving Christianity and it's not been without some angst. I've found myself nostalgic for the pomp and ceremony of Christmas Eve services at St. Mark's. Oddly, there is no other church I feel nostalgic toward but in the Episcopal Church I found the ritual and sense of spirituality I thought I had been looking for all my life. Except I didn't believe anymore. I still feel a bit cheated that I finally found the manner in which I could worship Christ and lost the ability to do so.
I have pondered of late returning to St. Mark's as an unbeliever who participates in a ritual that far outdates Christianity anyway. I won't do anything during the holidays because I suspect this is a whim based on lost memories but I have been missing the people there. I'll postpone the decision until long after the holidays. Likely the urge will disappear the first time the alarm goes off to wake me up early to attend. If not, then I'll just wing it.
I hesitate about going back for a number of reasons. One being that if I do go back and find that I just can't do it anymore, then I'll be leaving again and have to go through the process of saying good-bye again. Another reason is that there will be the inevitable questions about where I've been and where Zach is. He won't go back and I won't ask him to. I get tired of trying to field personal questions.
On the other hand, I am lonely. I miss having people in my life to do things with, even if only for an hour or so a week. I am pretty sure that the solitary path is perfect for me spiritually but I am isolated enough as it is and could use some community.
One huge drawback is Tom. He never liked us going to that church (it being nearly Catholic) and he has told me he didn't like me much as a Christian so it really impairs my ability to make a decision when I've got a good idea that one choice will bring discord into the home. On the other hand, it's my spirituality and since he apparently only exercises his when it's convenient, I shouldn't let him interfere in my decision making.
One thing I know is that I am called to Paganism in a way I was never called to Christianity. I am still very new to it and don't have the familiarity with it that I do with Christianity, but I do have the connection with Paganism that I don't feel with Christianity. Within Christianity it was a struggle to keep my thoughts constantly on God as I was supposed to do. In Paganism, it comes naturally to me to think of this God or that Goddess in the course of my activities, in a natural way. I frequently commune with the Goddess (whichever one is beckoning me at the time) as I would talk to my mother or a dear friend.
I suspect this is all about being wistfully nostalgic because I have no desire to go back to that way of life. I just miss the rituals now and then. And the people. Although I would wager that more than a few of them would distance themselves from me should they find out I no longer believe.
Ah, well. These are the things I'm pondering today but tomorrow it will be about the presents!!!! I'm shameless, I know but it's not about me receiving...it's about watching my loved ones receive. That's the best thing for me.
Have a Happy Christmas however your celebrate it.