Sunday, November 3, 2013

keeping the faith

Lately, I've been making Sunday mornings special with a pâtisserie. I pick it up the day before so I can enjoy my pain aux raisins or chausson au pomme or pain au chocolat upon waking, alongside yogurt and green tea, as church bells ring outside my window...
{Notre Dame - Paris, France}
I used to sleep over their house on weekends. I'd arrive late Saturday afternoon, help my grandmother with whatever she was doing, set the table for our early bird dinner, pour myself a tall glass of cranberry juice or milk, and join them at the table to enjoy the usual: grilled chicken breasts, steamed broccoli, and mashed potatoes (hopefully from a box; my favorite at the time). I don't remember what we discussed, but I do remember loving being the center of their attention and affection. Clearly I had eldest child syndrome. Afterwards, we'd clean up the kitchen and I'd get to work on convincing my grandpa to take us out for ice cream. It wasn't that hard. He's always had a sweet tooth, or so my mom says.

By the time we got back to their house, the sun would be setting, and my grandmother's shows would be just about to start. She's from Colombia so when I say "shows" I mean "soap operas", and yes, those extra dramatic ones that are in Spanish. I'd watch with her and use the commercial breaks to ask questions about parts of the telenovelas I didn't understand. We'd go to bed soon after. More often than not, she'd lie with me in the guest bedroom and scratch my back as I fell asleep. It's the best way to fall asleep.

We'd wake up early on Sunday morning, and if I was lucky, they'd have cinnamon raisin bread. I'd so happily make cinnamon raisin toast and slather it with butter. For some reason, I never asked my parents to buy it, so it was a special grandparents' kitchen affair. Then we'd go to church.

It was extraordinary to me. We'd go, and see neighbors and friends, and have a grand ol' time listening to the Gospel. I truly enjoyed it. So much so, that sometimes I'd actually "play church", reading the Bible to my grandma, grandpa, and anyone willing to listen.

I continued being unquestionably pious until my confirmation. My godmother, my aunt Donna, wasn't allowed to be my sponsor because she hadn't been confirmed in the Catholic Church. I thought it was dumb. She's always been one of the best people I know.

Fast forward a few years later, and I was a freshman at Syracuse University. My random roommate was originally from New Jersey and became one of my closest friends. She also happened to be in love with another girl. Suddenly, gay rights (human rights) were extensively important to me. I knew how much they loved each other, and how much they still do, and how much that love deserves to be recognized. And the most opposition I heard came from the Church, or followers of the Church, sauf que these believers.

A couple of weeks ago, my disappointment was challenged by a New York Times article. Pope Francis had remarked, "that the church had grown 'obsessed' with abortion, gay marriage and contraception, and that he had chosen not to talk about those issues despite recriminations from critics." I've been contemplating religion ever since. This post has been brewing for a while as a result.

Anywho, whatever your faith or beliefs, please keep my grandparents in your thoughts and prayers. They could both really use 'em.


  1. I am so jealous that you are in France. That is number one on my list of places to visit at the moment. I want to eat and drink wine for days on end. :) Enjoy.

    Sweet Apple Lifestyle

    1. I wish I could just eat and drink wine for days on end for you ;) glad you found my blog!

  2. As someone who deeply believes and practices spirituality in an everyday way with weekly excursions to church, there is a church out there for all. One of my gay friends who is a Christian in San Francisco has been involved in a number of them in our fair city. So much can be summed up in this: "Love God with all your soul, mind and strength, and then love your neighbor as yourself." That last bit is the hard part as I find sometimes it can be hard for us to actually love ourselves, let alone like ourselves. I'll be praying for your sweet grandparents (the backscratching! the tele-novellas!) and for you as you consider your path. Bisous.

    1. Thank you so much, Annelies. I appreciate your kind and encouraging words so, so much.

  3. your grandparents sounds so sweet - saying a prayer for them and praying you find some clarity. for me the best place to always find that is the bible itself....when i'm confused, when i need comfort, strength, or advice it's always right there.....and, i don't like to focus on religion but rather a relationship with god. xo . t

    1. Oh, they are. Thanks so much for your prayer and sharing personal approach.


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