It was a few days before the lame no-snow Minnesota Christmas of 2011. I was in my brother’s mini-van heading from my Nana Jo’s Catholic funeral to the Elk Lodge for post ceremony beers and goulash. We were talking about the Catholic service and I said that it was strange how our father’s side follows the Nuns and Friars but we were raised very Lutheran. My brother looked in the rearview mirror and raised his brow, “We’re not Lutheran.”
“Yes we are!”
“No, I’m not Lutheran. Why do you think we are Lutheran?”
I became frustrated.
“Mom is Lutheran. I went to a Lutheran high school. We’re Scandinavian and eat casseroles.” There, I had made my point. Everyone in the car started laughing. The joke was on me. Apparently I was the only one who had been praying to the Baby Lutheran Jesus all these years.
I had to think back. I remember going to catholic churches at times with my (other alive) Nana when I was really young, I liked lighting the candles and staring at the ‘picture windows.’ She made tape recordings of me praying with her, not sure where those were. When my dad remarried I went to Sunday school every other weekend at a nice little Presbyterian church and I had a part in the Christmas play in which I said something about the ‘multitude of angels.’ I ended up going to Lutheran high school where I learned that Martin Luther and Martin Luther King Jr. were VERY different people. I attended youth group on Thursdays with friends and kept a Jesus Journal for quite a while. All in all it seemed my childhood was religious enough and more Lutheran than not.
(Jesus didn’t go to Simpson College. Or if he did, we just ran in different circles. But I prayed, in desperation at mid-terms and finals.)
So here I was back at home under-analyzing if I really was Lutheran. The next day as my mom and I were driving to lunch I asked her about it. She said she was raised Lutheran but wasn’t religious except she had decided yesterday she was Catholic. I told her that she can’t just decide to be a catholic! But she wouldn’t listen to me and started going on and on about “her people” and how she likes rosaries because they are pretty and how their churches are better. Just then we passed a large Cathedral and she yelled out, “Look at MY people’s Church!” Then she made me take a picture of the manger scene, which was awkward because a nice Mexican family was standing in front of it for their photo.
Since my mom is now Catholic and the person who I live-in-sin with is as well why shouldn’t I explore the options? I’m not getting any younger and I’ll want to drag Gus (my make believe future daughter) to Sunday school so she turns out better than her mom.
I went to my first “So you wanna become Catholic” class last night. It was fun (minus the guy who should be attending AA and not this particular venue) and I think I’ll go back next Monday too.
I will always love casseroles.