Most people can tell you what they wanted to be when they were children: a policeman, or a teacher, or a movie star.
I think when I was a child, part of me wanted to be a speaker. If you have met me you know I talk a lot. If you knew me when I was young you would know I never stopped talking. I wanted to tell people about my experiences and I wanted to teach them what I knew. Even now, whenever I am at a conference or a live performance or a concert, I always find myself desperately wanting to be a part of it. Back then, I had very little fear of embarrassment, and I didn’t care what other people thought about me.
The other day while talking to a friend, I said something like, “because I was raised Catholic…”
Not, “I am Catholic…”
Not, “because of my Faith…”
I said, “because I was raised Catholic…”
This bothered me to the point I corrected myself right then and there. However, it left me wondering – when did I stop identifying as a Catholic?
Now, I know you may not be Catholic or even interested in my crisis of faith, my dear reader, and that is fine. Please, bear with me. The real question I would like to address is: When did I start caring so much about what people think of me? When did I start becoming afraid of how people would judge me for my beliefs?
As a writer I want my work to reach people. Not only do I want it to reach people, I want it to touch people. I want it to help them in their journey. Growing up I knew that there were people of different faiths and some people who had no faith at all. I want to speak to them, I want to speak with them.
Matthew Kelly writes in his book Resisting Happiness: “I tried to speak to people about ‘the universal call to holiness’, but their eyes would just glaze over. I kept experimenting with ways to say it that connected with people, and then one day while I was speaking, it just came out: ‘God wants you to become the-best-version-of-yourself.’ I knew instantly. I could tell by the audience’s reaction. They got it. It made sense to them.”
I think that is along the lines of what I had originally intended. I wanted the ability to reach people where they were at.
C.S. Lewis was a known Christian and his stories are read quite vastly. Where Man and Monster Meet was heavily influenced by Lewis’s Till We Have Faces and The Great Divorce, both of which I highly recommend.
Dante Alighieri was a Catholic writer. His Divine Comedy is taught in schools around the world. I also recommend that one, not just the Inferno but the Purgatorio and Paradiso as well.
Dean Koontz is Catholic and he is a modern best seller… I was reading his Frankenstein series when I began my first rewrite of Where Man and Monster Meet.
So when and why did I become so afraid my faith would affect my presence as an author?
I could try to blame this on Social Media and the effects it has had on how people treat each other’s opinions, or I could blame it on joining the workforce and how it is typically taboo to discuss religion in the workplace. I could argue that I have recently been struggling in my belief in God and that it was just a slip of the tongue…
But it is important to be honest – particularly with ourselves. In all of my searching for the secret(s) of life, the importance of honesty is the most blatant universal truth I have found; reiterated in life stories, religions, belief systems, literature, etc.
Honestly, I am just a coward. I have been afraid to stand by my faith because of something as silly as sales and public opinion and that ends now.
Please know that I am a Catholic - I want to tell you about my experience’s and teach you what I know about life. I also would love to hear about you and your journey!
So, no matter what your religion or walk of life, welcome to my corner of the internet. I hope you enjoy it and I hope it adds some value to your life.
This month’s advice:
Know who you are. Don’t be afraid to stand by what you believe. And be honest with everyone… especially yourself.