For the first time in over 25 years, I went to church.

It’s the same place that I go every month to get food. I have been so impressed by the kindness of these people.Β The idea to check out a service has been on my mind for a while now.

I grew up a good Catholic girl, went to church every Sunday with my family. I recall my dad singing while the light from the stained glass window shone down upon him. I made my First Communion in the second grade. I made my Confirmation in the eighth grade, choosing the name Helen, which I never use because I am no longer a practicing Catholic.

My father died and I lost my faith at age 12. I went through the motions until I graduated and went to a public high school.

My full name is Merry Teresa O’Leary. What a fine time to finally come out here on my blog. I am as Irish as they come. The ladies at the church were thrilled. (I had to sign the guest book.)

I am so used to signing O’Leary instead of my married name, Sahl. I didn’t get married until 2009 at the age of 35. It is pure instinct.

I went to the church alone. My husband is completely supportive of my decision to go. My daughter is a self-proclaimed agnostic, which is fine. I am not doing this for anyone else besides myself. Honestly, I have no intention of trying to convert anyone.

I remember feeling peaceful as a child when I was at church. I felt that last night. My eyes welled up a few times. Everyone was so welcoming. The service reminded me of a Catholic mass, but it was more intimate.

You see, I am lost. Broken. I am sad, scared and not sure sometimes if I can handle what has happened to me. My entire life has turned into a nightmare within a short period of time. I have lost so much. My friends, my job, my independence and I fear that my sense of humor might end up taking a hit. That has always been my saving grace, but it gets harder everyday to laugh it all off.

I need help. I need God. I need to renew my relationship with him. I know that my father would be pleased, even though it isn’t a Catholic church. In fact, I am not even certain what kind it is, only that it’s a wonderful place to spend an hour on a Saturday evening when I am feeling well enough.

It feels good. I feel less alone. The Lords prayer came back to me. I didn’t even need to look at the paper it was printed on. I sang the hymns, in my wavering voice full of emotion. I shook hands with the people around me and repeated what they said to me, which I cannot recall at the moment what it was. I am sure that I will remember eventually.

I shook hands with the pastor and told him that I would be back next week.

And I meant it.

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