Everyone has their own story about religion, whether they think they do or not.
I don't feel like mine is necessarily abnormal, but it does have its share of quirks.
My mother was the religious one in the family. My father could have cared less about religion.
I remember being tiny and wearing starched dresses, tights that constantly needed to be pulled up, and stiff shoes to sit on the hard wooden pews in church. All to listen to words that meant nothing to me, precisely because I was very young.
As I grew older, we frequented church more sporadically. I think by the time I was in 8th grade, I had visited approximately 7 or 8 different churches (all christian).
My mother would ask my father to go and he'd adamantly refuse, and I never understood why (I do understand now, but that's for a different post).
It was actually in 8th grade that my grandmother forced me to go to church and then dumped me into the youth room, leaving me standing in a room bewildered and worried about how my hair looked (hey, I was 13).
Luckily for me, a girl who I had known since sixth grade happened to be in that room. She was literally my saving grace that night. She introduced me to people who ended up becoming my friends all throughout high school.
I spent the rest of my 8th grade year and all of high school (well up until my senior year) at that church. Literally every Sunday and Wednesday I was there.
I did weekend retreats, taught sunday school and wednesday night groups, sang in the choir...I did it all.
Incidentally when I think of it, my mother was MIA at church for almost that entire time. My father remained staunchly silent about my need to be at church all the time.
I pledged my life to God over and over again during those four and a half years. But I don't think I truly knew what that meant until later on in life.
I wanted a place to belong, a place to feel secure and be me. At that time, church was the place.
It wasn't to remain that place for long.