Wednesday, September 17, 2008

My Intro Into Organized Religion & The Educational System

My Intro Into Organized Religion & The Educational System

I tend to forget much with the passage of time, but have noticed some windows can still be viewed with amazing clarity just by the impressions made. Looking through one such window takes me back to a brief period of time I’d spent during my formative years growing up in S. Cal. By the way, in order to stay on track, I’m not going to delve into my experience with the public school system for which I spent a number of years…but let me put it this way, due in part to both; you could say I have a problem with blackboards maybe in the same way a dog might take issue with a broomstick!

My dad once told me "you'll either grow up to be a basket weaver or you'll have to marry someone rich" This lie coupled with my own recognition of failure and limitation was exactly what set me free...but not free necessarily from the result of stupidity.

Was my spiritual awareness really opened for the first time during a typical morning drive? It would be one of many I'd take with my mom and siblings while passing the convent on my way to what would be a brief time spent at St. John’s elementary school.

I remember vividly, thinking in my young mind (that of a first and second grader)-what it must be like to know those Holy but loving people who lived there? I mean I assumed the setting of the church convent must have indicated a spiritual connection? Leaves fell and scattered as we turned the corner. Behind the low trailing wall the sheer beauty of those lovely premises beckoned and seemed to speak of what must lay beyond giant trees casting huge shadows over mysterious grounds; creating an ere of enchantment. I was rather astonished at what I encountered, as I discovered it had nothing to do with it?

I can recall without much difficulty, the habits the nuns wore, the way they carried themselves (with an overall aloofness) -set against the stark backdrop of large imposing blackboards, towering over those old wooden desks. Here we sat, dressed in soft brown and white uniforms with similar matching shoes and haircuts staring up beside neat rows- rows from which I can still recount the sensation of long voluminous black robes as they brushed against my leg. I can tell you just what it felt like to have my chair yanked up to the front for talking too much...only because it happen so often. An older student and friend of my brother happened to come into the room on occasion. He asked later if that's where I always sat?

Funny, this stands out like an odd penciled sketch… as if to say no, I wasn’t really mistreated, yet it’s the irony now over the absence of much life (what religion generally represents). I mean the student’s are dressed in a way that identifies them with the school and religion they’re affiliated with; similarly, the nuns and priests dress and reflect the religious order they took their vows with. Still, I realize with either public or private school you have to account for the large classroom size and the fact each child can’t receive adequate attention unless they happen to be singled out (negatively or positively), hmm??

To be fair, I have to mention why I’m still grateful for Catholicism to this day. It’s significant in that as much as my parents devoted themselves to this religion and its principals, our family in turn benefited. For example, they basically followed the Ten Commandments and taught us the same, so as a result they remained faithful to one another; therefore marriage was seen as sacred. There was love and consistency through the meals my mom prepared as well as my dad getting up and going to work -both everyday. Homework and chores were expected and television and movies were carefully monitored. Besides a strong work ethic, they exemplified moderation. All of this provided cohesiveness, structure and discipline; grateful for all I could rely on, later in life.

I believe they laid out what they felt was important, and helped them -then tried to demonstrate this as best they could; hoping for what we could in turn fall back on as well. But all these I mention are and were flawed because each individual simply has free choice. So, it all trickled down like water- despite failure and the many inconsistencies. But you have the law so it’s important to note that there was and is, always a choice -either a wrong or right spirit in response to that law.

Well my observation in regard to school, typically, those who were more academically inclined seem to do pretty well…they were treated better too. Of course things tend to shift according to ones circumstances but if you were a teacher, what pupil would you rather have in class; one who stares out the window daydreaming, chatters- while unable to concentrate like I was, or one who just went with the plan? If we did poorly, it was never the teacher’s/systems fault I might add.

So was it the misery of not knowing how to confront in the early days when I tried desperately to fight back, but found no words? Then the reality behind 1 Co. 1:27-But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God has chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty;

I think I would of been as bitter as the next person but somehow I wanted a solution, this coupled with a drive, lying mostly shrouded in a mysterious canopy that captivated me.... the mystery unfolding... always just ahead, silently but powerfully leading me on. Initially, it wasn't something I could really define but- would discover, propelled me like a mighty wind. You could say it was like layers of deception that had poked through the fabric- this despite all efforts to conceal it.


Sunny said...

can't wait to read the continuation!

gmarie said...

Oh, what a surprise...I was re-reading it to check if it was all there and I saw a comment! Thankyou-