The Cat and the Bath (and a lot of Church Talk)
July 12, 2020
The Cat and the Bath (and a whole lot of church talk)
I was in the bathtub the other morning. I am a serious bath girl. Many epiphanies have been born out of my bath time and this one is no exception. I was in the bath and my cat walked in to come sit by the tub and to get some water. She pranced around her water dish and meowed just enough. I started talking to her “Oooh Sophie…you are about to become a European kitty and you don’t even know it! You don’t even know how much your life is about to change girl, and what’s more is that you’re going to love it! Sunshine every day!” She did not notice any of what I was saying to her, she just continued to move slow and sweet. I thought to myself: you don’t understand what I’m saying to you, but you will soon enough and even though it’s going to be rough going in getting there, once you are there, it’s going to be wonderful. I wish you could understand what I’m saying to you so I could prepare you in some way.
Then the Aha! moment came out of that space. This is what God has been saying to me for over a year now! While I’ve been prancing around my water bowl and trying to figure out why in the world we moved to the small town across the city in Georgia, and why the public schools did not work out for us when they were so great where we came from, only to throw us into a Catholic homeschool program…this was the reason! God has been preparing us for exactly this! We moved just far enough away from my mom that I would loosen some of the purse strings and get more independent and not be so addicted to having to be so close to her.
And the Catholic school thing? Well, I’ve spent the year wondering if we were doing the right thing. Although I love the families and they saved my children and brought so much kindness and love into their lives, it’s also felt to me that I was caught in a reality show of keeping up with the Jones’s Catholic edition. Everyone trying to be the very best Catholic, while I sat to the side wondering what in the world was happening to us. This was what God has been stirring into our pot and although from time to time I did wonder if Malta was really an option ahead of us, it is now a full reality and I played the role of my cat! Totally unaware of what the Great Spirit has been preparing me for and now the cloak has come off and he’s showing me why everything laid out as it did this year. This was all to prepare not only me, but my children. Moving to a country that is 98% Catholic would have totally thrown them upside down had they not had this year of Latin singing and Catholic studies to prepare them for what’s to come.
In Malta, being Catholic is a way of life, it is a culture more so than the way the Southern US does it living in the bible belt and turn it into more of an Evangelical way of being. I’m so looking forward to experiencing it from that perspective.
The southern perspective on any organized religion makes me want to vomit; that is across the board. It makes me want to run far, far away from the church. I believe this is where we use fear to control the masses and guilt is our primary weapon of choice. It’s more manipulative and less caring and compassionate. It’s people studying Jesus while in church and then immediately going out to the parking lot and honking at people to get out of their way. It’s sitting in the pews carrying a pistol and on the ready to have a good old fashion shoot out. In the south, racism runs very deep and prejudice is on full blast. That is on race, color, gender and religion. I will not miss that part of living here. And it feels like it’s only getting worse.
What will it be like to move to a country where they all share the same one religion and have no fights over religious freedom? It’s not ‘religious freedom’ that is being fought for here, it’s more how do we get the Evangelicals to win this fight and get everyone else to comply. In the southern protestant religions, they don’t actually believe the Catholics to be Christian…hello?!? Ignorance is calling, you might want to pick it up.
This takes me back to the nightmare of two years ago when the Kindergarten program at my child’s preschool didn’t have enough enrollment and we were left scrambling at the last minute. I called a large and very well-respected (and expensive) church school program to see if they had any spots left. The very kind lady with the southern draw answered and told me that there were some spots left. After I said “oh thank God!” she said… “speaking of God…what religion are you?” I answered “we are members of the Catholic church.” She then answered with “I’m sorry but we will need to end this conversation right there. We are a Christian only school!” I answered with “You do realize that Catholics are Christian, right?!?” She said as politely as she could with an even thicker southern accent “This is a Christian Evangelical school only.” And that was that. Whatever opinions I had going in, became all the more clear to me in that moment. We won’t accept your CHILD because you are not what we consider to be Christian enough for our standards. That right there is my experience of southern religions in a nutshell.
I have a second one to add to this. This time it was a different and new Christian private school operating from a non-denominational church and we attended the welcome meeting. This is when they let us know that they are not in line with the Christian non-denominational ideology and that they were what is called a “Christian Covenant” school (the former school mentioned above is also a covenant school). What does it mean to be a Christian Covenant school you might ask? What he said next in its description had my jaw drop to the floor. He actually said the words “This means that you will not find any Hindu, Muslim, gay, lesbian, LBGTQ people in this school or within their families.” Holy. Shit. I’m just going to leave that right there. That was a snip-it of our search for the best Kindergarten program for my girl. Heartbreaking at best. It might give some deeper context into why I am so freaked out in making sure I choose wisely as we move across the world.
I am not making that up nor am I embellishing. It was heart breaking trying to find the right school and it turned out that my very last choice, the public school, was actually the best choice. Kindergarten for my child was a dream- but only because the teacher was a true gift. Moving from that school over to the other side of the city was a shocking revelation on just how important the choice of school is and that the teacher will make or break any experience of it. My mom always says “your school is only as good as the teacher you’ve got” and I could not agree more.The public school last year brought my recovered child all the way back to close to square one. It was like watching a time lapse immediately and three years of recovery went out the window. I had to pull her out of that school, start again on her health and basically re-recover her and figure out what school we could find that would nourish her spirit and not steal it. That is when we found our precious homeschool hybrid Catholic school. We went to school three days a week and home schooled the other two. It was the greatest blessing my children could have ever had. It gave them everything they needed. Friends, Faith and a sense of inner peace and confidence that can only be found in such a loving environment. If the Catholic children in Malta are anything like the ones we just came from? Life will be so blessed.