Tuesday, May 22, 2007
I excommunicated myself from the Catholic Church when I was in high school and realized that the feeling I had for other girls were real and valid. I kept attending the school until graduation but stopped receiving the sacraments. I kept going to Sunday mass until my mother stopped because of her depression-probably my sophomore year in college. Then I felt that I had no need to go. I never discussed it with my mother, and she was never diagnosed.
I dated boys in college. This was the lasted 60’s to early 70’s, but ultimately came our in 1971 at the Kent State Gay Liberation Front.
Immediately after graduation, I left Ohio and moved to NY to become a lesbian. I never thought about religion or spirituality, until some things happened in my late 30’s. I though about exploring what was happening with gays and lesbians in the Catholic Church. I attended Dignity, the g&L Catholic organization and found that, in NYC at least, it was primarily men. After much research I found the Conference for Catholic Lesbians. This was a small group that got together and met in each others homes, made their own liturgy and socialized. I was fine with this until I got involved with the politics of the organization. Then it didn’t work out for me.
Years passed. I met and settled down with my spouse. She is Jewish and when we met she said she said she was an atheist and I said I was agnostic-the easy out of fallen Catholics everywhere. Shortly after we met, her mother got sick and passed away. She started attending Congregation Beth Simchat Torah. Eventually she got more involved (in CBST) and we got more involved. She proceeded from attending to say Kaddish to attending every Friday and holidays, quoting the rabbi’s drash and serving as the committee chair for the Friday dinners. She asked me to attend some services, and I did. I started to enjoy the community, the music, and the exuberance. I didn’t enjoy the long services after a day’s work.
After 9/11 we decided we wanted to formalize our relationship, to marry in front of our friends and family. My idea was to go to a place where marriage was legal and find a justice of the peace, but Sue wanted a Jewish wedding. We went to the rabbi of the only glbt congregation in New York City. She said she could not marry a Jew and a non-Jew. (They would rent us the synagogue.)
We eventually found a wonderful rabbi and had a great wedding, but it changed the way we felt about CBST. (to be continued)
Sunday, May 20, 2007
I took a class in Mindfulness Meditation several years ago. This is a kind of meditation that is primarily used for stress reduction and is also the subject of Jon Kabat-Zinn's best-selling book, Full Catastrophe Living: Using the Wisdom of Your Body and Mind to Face Stress, Pain, and Illness (Delta, 1990) and Saki Santorelli's book, Heal Thy Self: Lessons on Mindfulness in Medicine (Random House, 1999). Since I took this class, I did a group at the office which worked well and helped calm my day as well as that of my co-workers. I still automatically do this practice when I get into a stressful situation or want to refresh my day. I recomend it!