Max9 Mind you, this is on my mind because Easter was my first time in church in quite some time, and I was belted and banded for the experience. My mother-in-law has been trying to get me to embrace religion again ever since she "adopted" me fully as her daughter, and while I'm not a huge fan of going to church again, I also respect her wishes as one of my keyholders and a woman I hold in high regard. Going to church for easter was a huge deal for her -- it was the first time in more than a year she's gone in-person, because we're all vaccinated now. So I was willing to do so for the special occasion. (I won't lie -- dressing up all the way to the nines for Easter wasn't a bad thing either! Hat, gloves, the works -- we stepped right out of a church guidebook from 1954 🙂. ) My wife also went, a bit more reluctantly but she also supports her mother. My wife keeps joking that at the rate I'm going, I'm going to be a conservatively observant catholic again before too long! Of course, the joke's on both her and the church -- because I'm so dedicated to chastity and generally kind of a low-key person who doesn't do much, I probably hold true to Catholic action even if I don't believe in the rulebook behind it! Masturbation is forbidden but there are very few Catholics who can say they honestly did it fewer than ten times in the past five years, haha.
But honestly, the pomp and ceremony and circumstance, the readings of love and sacrifice for a better world, those are all things that still speak pretty closely to me. Enough time has passed that I no longer hate the church for the damage done to me, and I can even appreciate it for what it is. If I had the mindset thirty years ago that I do now, maybe my youthful guilt-induced chastity wouldn't have been so mentally damaging.