I strongly resisted it, but I was raised Roman Catholic. In the 60s and 70s, that especially meant going to church. At least once a week. That was important for social acceptance, but this Roman rebel didn't think it was necessary.
I did not want to go to church, but was dragged by my ear. I came up with a strategy. I voluntarily attended church, but left immediately after commencement of service. No soul dared to confront me in the church ... In retrospect, that naturally gave a fuss, but that was manageable. Moreover, it made the regime milder.
Then and now
Then I was a non believer and was fierce against believers. Now I am an unspoken doubter and milder, as long as no patent is claimed on the truth. Then I was suppost to believe in the unique truth, but I didn't. Now I wish all believers my enlightenment and my ongoing development.
Then I didn't want to go to church, but I had to. Now the church attendance is marginalized. From 1 or 2 times a week to only with Easter and Christmas. Church buildings close, or are sold to developers who build apartments in them.
And what about my church attendance? Wherever I am, I cannot walk past a church without wanting to go inside. In Malta you find numerous chapels, supplied with fresh flowers every day. You can visit a different church here every day for a year. I don't do the latter, but I find the church in Malta a special place, where I am always surprised.
Time for one anecdote to explain why
An open door
Gullible as I am, I did not change my mind for a moment when I saw that the door of this church was also open. Wonderful that you can enter here almost all churches, you do not have to pay for it and especially because they are always beautiful and serene spaces. Sometimes there is even a mass going on and it does not bother anyone that you just squeak inside. Once inside, all my senses are stimulated.
Then I see a door ajar. An almost decayed sign seems to be meant to deny access, but it is unreadable enough to go inside anyway. It appears to be the sacristy. Beautiful oak wooden benches, large paintings and high cupboards with richly colored chasubles.
I am startled when I suddenly see an old, slender man. He drinks coffee, or maybe tea. I think: "……. got caught!!"
But without any reproach he says: “Good afternoon. Come and sit down. I can't offer you coffee, but I do have some wine, if you would have come earlier, ……… but unfortunately I have to leave soon ”.
He turns out to be the sexton and he has all sorts of questions. He would like to know what I am doing here. We exchange thoughts openly. These open churches and friendly people feel so warm and you feel welcome in this already so sunny island.
After our meeting of about fifteen minutes he puts down his now empty cup, shakes my hand and says with a smile: "Too bad, but I really have to go now." As he disappears through the forbidden door, I just hear him say: "Do you close that door when you leave? "
Lovely; in the past I was dragged to church by my ear, now a nice chat with the sexton in the sacristy.
© TrefMij april 2019