And yet, last Sunday, I woke up early and drove 30 minutes to a tiny building where a small branch of my church people meet. I didn’t do it because I needed spiritual upliftment. I did it because I was lonely. Growing up in a family that practice strict religion and being about people who did the same, I took it for granted that church and church activities was a main way of meeting people and making friends. I never went out much to bars and partying. I never learned how to make friends in that way and still feel a bit uncomfortable with it.
So, after a few months of not making friends in my new country, I decide that I was desperate enough to go to church. I know, that sounds awful. Forgive me. I've been pretty vocal about some religious dissatisfactions I've had with my church in the past two years. As I drove to church I wondered, was I biting a hand that still has room to feed me? Would I be able to pull church off again, since there is so much I don't agree with? Was it right of me to even do so? I felt a bit like a traitor.
I walked into the first meeting of the block, Relief Society. There were 8 women there. ALL of them were over 80 years old. Two were in wheel chairs. One had an oxygen tank.
I AM NOT KIDDING.
Seems like religion is dying out all over Europe, but I don't think the church was ever that alive in Switzerland. I almost laughed as all the eyes bugged out of their heads to see a new, fresh, young church going girl walk into their midsts. I decided that even though I didn't get what I wanted (some young fun women to go to a movie with or something!), that perhaps I could learn something from these wise and sweet Swiss women. I did. They spoke simply of faith and love and in French that I could actually understand. It was refreshing. It was sweet. I liked it. I think I am going to go again next week. They'll probably ask me to give a talk in French, and you know what--I'm a bit excited. I stick to the fact that church just seems better in Europe, away from the pressures and culture of Utah. I like being a member more when I'm over here.
JESUS UPDATE (because every blog post needs a Jesus update at some point or other!): I've not really cared about Jesus the past two years. I don't mean that to sound trite or casual. It's just how it is. I'm not sure if I even label myself a Christian anymore, but lately, just lately, I've felt drawn to reevaluating the teachings of Jesus...but not through a Christian lens. Impossible you might say! But no! These two books have come into my life and are helping me feel the admiration and love and honor for Jesus that I haven't felt in a long time.
RELIGIOUS DISCLAIMER (needed after being so positive about Jesus): Sometimes I worry that when I say something positive about religion that all my actively religious friends are going to say, "Oh, I just knew Stella's testimony of truth was going to come back!" And the truth is, it IS growing and changing and it doesn't really involve organized religion at all. In fact, I still have all my religious issues that I've expressed before. Those haven't changed and probably never will. However, I still think there is something sacred about honoring my roots every once in awhile, not ever being bitter about my religious heritage, and learning where things fit in my life.