The Best I Can Do

Sacred Heart Church, Lebanon, New Hampshire

When I was single, it was easy to dismiss religion. To attack it. To see only the bad: the endless wars it has caused, the sex abuse scandal in the Catholic Church. Not to mention its stance against homosexuality (why would God create people a certain way only to condemn them?). I’m troubled, too, by an institution that won’t let women ascend to the highest level (unlike Groucho Marx and Woody Allen, I want to be part of a club that would accept people like me as a member.)

Before Maroun, I surrounded myself with like-minded people and never had to think hard about spiritual issues in the way that happens when the person you sleep next to claims to have a direct line to Jesus.

Maroun had grown up in Mount Lebanon, his country’s Maronite Catholic region, where the community had a common faith. The truth is, I’m envious—of Catholics, of any religious people, for that matter. Religion, after all, is a way to make sense of life, and to me, life makes no sense at all. And just as religion can be misused, it can also be  powerful. I know people who have overcome addiction, grief, cancer—through God, prayer, and their religious communities. If I could flick a switch and become a believer, I would.

Occasionally, I attend church with Maroun. His religious conviction was a major difference between us, at first, but it’s always been one of the things I love about him. I find it comforting that he thinks a greater being watches over us; that by praying, he can relinquish a desire for control; that he believes he and I will one day reunite in heaven. I still don’t share his certainty in a spiritual world, but I love the possibilities spirituality offers.