…don’t pull away. But that’s exactly what I did last year.
After I made the decision to enter the Catholic faith, I got some less than excited reactions from some of my Protestant friends and mentors. This mostly happened in the summer, and by the time school was going to start, I was a bit shell-shocked. I take part in a Bible study with some of my classmates. Most of them of are some denomination of the Protestant faith. I was afraid that they would react in much the same way as my other friends did, so I pulled away. I attended less regularly, always making some work or school related excuse to not be at Bible study. I skipped it more often than I went. And I never officially told them that I was becoming Catholic in fear of how they would react (except one of them who had a particularly strong influence on my journey up to that point who was very supportive, by the way) .
But as I’ve reflected on the last year, I’ve realized that I missed out on a lot. It was a rough year with school and family health problems, and I had pulled myself away from the strongest support system I have. I didn’t know any Catholics yet, so I was kind of on my own to sort through it all. I still attended Bible study often enough to keep them up to date with my mom’s health issues and to ask for their prayers, but not really enough to receive support from them.
I also realized that I prevented myself being able to be a support for them. We all have our own struggles to deal with. By pulling away I wasn’t just hurting myself, I was hurting them, too. I wasn’t there to celebrate their joys with them and to weep for their sorrows as I should have been. I’ve realized that it doesn’t matter so much (at least most of the time) if we’re a mixture of Protestant and Catholic faiths. We are all Children of God and we can still lift each other up and support each other on our journeys to follow God’s will in our lives. We can still pray for each other, laugh with each other, and cry for each other. We can still be friends. I think now that all of my friendships from last summer are mending, I’ve realized that disagreements do not mean friendship is impossible. So this year, I am going to be better at being there for my friends, even when we don’t agree on everything. No pulling away when I get scared.