WHY I ABANDONED CHRISTIANITY and WHY I RETURNED
Kaitlin Ann Trepanier, January 20, 2022
Even through the eyes of a child Catholicism and Catholics did not make sense to me. I did not understand that for all the talk of love, the kind of love I experienced hurt. A lot. And my highly curious, investigative, and logical mind could not make sense of the contradictions between words and actions.
Early grade school reports revealed I thrived on learning, demonstrated by my excelling in all areas, but the black and white clothed grade three teacher curbed my learning drive. Her constant frustration with my becoming restless and inattentive with her constant chatter compelled her to ship me off to the corner of the classroom, cloaked in embarrassment and shame. Regular rapping of my knuckles with a ruler fuelled more defiance, but the day she stormed towards me with her brandished yardstick and smashed the wood across my head, she surprised and riotously angered me.
Grade four memories evade me still because by this time I was slipping away from school and home to find peace and quiet in the outdoors, encountering strangers and often not remembering still how I got where I was and whom I had been with.
By grade five in Catholic school, hurt and pain had been transformed to constant defiance lashed out on others in outraged anger, well beyond the scope of the hurt he or she may have inflicted on me. My horror to this day is still wondering if I played a part in upending a female student’s desk with her in it as part of a pact the class bullies decided to inflict upon the one person teased and ostracized more than me. As I stood in the lineup of students to be strapped for their involvement, all boys but me, I recall my wonder when my favourite teacher sent me packing to the office instead. Teasing and taunting grew as my height spiked and towered over most of the males in grades six, seven, and eight in Catholic junior high school and family life still pushed me out of doors, but no longer for peace, but the search for love and acceptance … somewhere.
The idea of being loved by God faded with every passing year and by sixteen was non-existent, pushed to the extreme after a violent marriage that made previous physical disciplines look and feel like taps.
Berated by a priest for my audacity to ask to be married for the second time in my life in his Catholic church sealed God out of my life well into my forties, with the exception of yearly attending Christmas Eve midnight mass with my sister.
Philosophy and new age studies took over my mind for awhile, but no matter what, peace evaded my tortured spirit and soul, so I gave up on believing there was any more to life other than life and doing one’s best with whatever presented itself. Even the second marriage of almost twenty years could not survive because of long-buried hurts, trauma, unforgiveness, deep-seated rage, and never ever truly feeling loved and accepted.
Eventually the deep craving for peace and love would not leave me alone and I found myself entering churches of many different denominations, but old wounds and careful scrutiny kept me at arm’s distance from settling in somewhere. And then there were the constant contradictions red flagging all my and other people’s attempts. The only time I felt comfortable thinking about God was singing in a community choir and eventually a church choir.
What pushed me out of a church faster than anything else were the people who pushed their way into my personal space with invasive questions and uninvited touch.
Finally I gave up walking into churches and turned to the Bible to try and understand unfettered by people, but after the violence I experienced in my lifetime, the Bible’s violence, righteous or not, turned my stomach and my eyes from the words.
Partial to studying, books beckoned as did movies and television shows, such as Touched By An Angel, which took the sting out while teaching softly and gently, until I could finally listen to televangelists whose style and words did not smack of the familiar condemnations, but instead fostered hope while teaching actual Bible truths rather than some people’s adaptations of Bible truths.
The long, winding sojourn back to God has been fraught with the consequences of unbelief and the unrighteous acts of defiance and revenge forged by a lifetime of immense pain, trauma, and loneliness.
My later in life journey also angered many people as they wrote me off as lazy or worse, not able to comprehend as people could not when I was younger because of their lack of knowledge too about different personality types, love languages, learning, and communication styles, plus the wounds the different experience born of ignorance and intolerance. Even now, their frustration with my choices when I say I asked God and He directed me, startle me as many are Christian believers too, though I now understand their level of belief has not grown as much as mine, in part because of my intense study and relationship development with God, through Jesus and the Holy Spirit in order to actually save my life from the heavy burdens of guilt, judgment, condemnation, and resulting depression.
And just last week, the day following my sixty seventh birthday, God directed me to give up on the project I worked on for seven years to transform respect from a discretionary value to a global principle, Connecting The Dots With The Respect Principle, to turn instead to helping people with writing what I have learned and starting divinity studies to eventually serve also as a minister.
I share this for anyone who walked away from God or was never even introduced because learning He is for you, especially when no one else is, provides comfort and peace not easily found or experienced in this world.
Kaitlin Ann Trepanier, Human Rights/Peace Advocate, Connecting The Dots With The Respect Principle social business Founder/President and Blog Writer, plus Author of Connecting The Dots With The Respect Principle and Broken Compass How To Save A Life. NEW FOR 2022! Freelance Writing and Divinity College/University. All rights reserved.