"Gargoyles & Graffiti"chronicles architectural elements that I find interesting or unique in my travels. Gargoyles are my passion, but today graffiti (which I hate but am learning to love as it is everywhere) is as much a part of architecture as the gargoyles and decorative railings that thrill me.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

The 55 Year Old Question: Finding my Spirituality

Nunnery with a Mini-Cooper in front near Vigo, Spain

Church in Barfleur, France
I have had an ambivalent relationship with the Catholic Church for a long time. As an 8 year old, I collected saint statues, read missionary magazines, sent money to the lepers and wanted to become a nun when I grew up. By the time I was 14; I drank beer, had kissed a boy and wore eye makeup. My priorities had changed.   
You probably are thinking why should you give a rat's patooty what I think of the Church? But in reality, it is the main focus of this blog post, so listen up. Hahaha  It has to do with my bad relationship with the saints and Jesus on the cross and the Virgin Mary. I sit here in Mexico listening to a priest who reminds me more of a clown than a religious figure, and I understand nothing he is talking about. Neither does my husband who is a native speaker of Spanish, but this priest is from Spain. I'm not sure if it is his accent or the cheap microphone, but all I've understood so far is something about tacos, frijoles and tortillas.
 I believe in God, the God of my understanding that has nothing to do with Jesus, Mary, Joseph or any of the Saints, and yet I love Churches. Can't get enough of them and they have to be Catholic. The Cathedral in Canterbury, the Church of England, left me flat. Had to escape the Cathedral grounds where I spent the night and find solace in the Catholic Church down the street.  Yet here I sit, in a Catholic Church in Cozumel preparing for my role as Godparent to my niece and nephew (my husband's sister's children) and I feel resentful.  My husband and I will be Godparents but as single people, not as a married couple, because we weren't married in the Catholic Church and that upsets me.

I just got back from a magnificent cruise where I visited the Cathedral in Santiago de Compostela and the two Cathedrals of Cadiz. I passed a handful of Churches in Brussels, Cadiz and Barfleur and a nunnery near Vigo, Spain. What is it about me that loves the architecture and the ambiance of Churches, but not the things they teach? That is the 55 year old question (my age.)

Church in the countryside of Normandy

Cathedral in Santiago de Compostela

Grand Place, Brussels
Perhaps it has to do with my rejection of the Church at a young age and the finding of my spirituality many years later. I am not religious but I am a spiritual person. For now, wish me luck. Reciting a prayer in Spanish and not fumbling my role will be all I ask for on Saturday.  

Update .... Saturday, July 2nd, 2011
The First Communion went beautifully. Jesus and MariJose did great. (Note that with their two names, you get the Sacred Family .... Jesus, Mary and Joseph.) The ceremony was so moving. There was the typical total disorganization, but everything is taken in stride here where I now live. My mother-in-law and sister-in-law even came in from Merida to celebrate with us. Even though it included a lot of things I don't believe in, I took what I liked and ignored the rest. Here are a few shots from the First Communion. 

MariJose, Luh, Jesus & Moises

Mari and her older sister Yessin

And in case you are wondering, it does not suck to live in Cozumel! Here is what a typical Sunday is for my husband and me when we drive around the island.

Beach in Cozumel on east side

Out the car window on the other side of Cozumel


  1. I was just having that discussion with a friend yesterday, about spirituality vs. religion. I get your point of view. Sometimes the most religious people seem the least spiritual.

  2. I know what you mean, Trudy. But some people are both, spiritual and religious. My grandmother on my mother's side was like that. Great woman. I miss her dearly.

  3. My feelings exactly. Great post.

  4. For me, all those "rules" are the opposite of what Christianity is all about. Cheers to your spirituality!!

  5. Luh asked me to test to see if I could post here. Testing testing testing!

  6. Spirituality is the key. I agree with Jeanne.