The journey back before the journey ahead

When I first started contemplating the idea of converting to Judaism, I had to go back and delve into the early years of my spirituality.

I am now 29 and I remember distancing myself from religion around the age of 15. I was Baptised and I had my Confirmation and Eucharist in Brazil. My parents are both Christians, married in the Catholic church. My mother was raised Roman Catholic, in a very Catholic and religious farmer family in the south of Brazil. She used to practice her religion and has always been very spiritual and very connected to the Christian world.

My father, on the other hand, comes from a family that was a bit divided. His father was Protestant, while his mother was Catholic. He was raised mostly Catholic. But at some point around his 40s, he stopped joining my mother when she went to the mass on Sundays and slowly started drifting into a more Protestant practice.

Nowadays, my mother and my father both attend the same church — The pentecostal Christian Congregation (Christian Congregation in Brazil). But this didn't happen overnight OR smoothly.

When I was a teenager, I remember watching my parents argue about religion and my father using harsh words to convey his opinion about the Catholic Church. This stressful environment plus the chaos that goes through the mind of a teenager, contributed to me distancing myself from any religion.

At that point in my life, my parents also had relationship issues and I eventually got too involved in them. That had an impact. At some point, I didn't believe in the sacredness of marriage anymore. Religion and marriage had a negative meaning in my heart.

Eventually, I managed to forgive my father for the things that hurt me and my mother. My mother managed to forgive him much earlier than I did. Being able to forgive him completely recently allowed me to touch my spirituality back again and when I saw that my mother was joining him for the cult on Saturdays at his Pentecostal church, I decided to join them too.

The times I joined them were full of joy and love of God. I could finally feel that my family was being glued together again with the help of religion and faith. My parents were happy to see me attending church services again and I felt that that was the right thing to do at that moment.

I was living with them again for a couple of months between a transition in my life. After moving out when I was 17, I moved back in last year (when I was 28) before finally moving out of the country in January 2017. Those 2 months allowed me to reconnect with my family on a level that changed many concepts in my heart, mind and soul.

I truly believe that everything happens for a reason. The way my life was shifting, brought me back to my family before I left the country and this was important because when I left, I had a clear image of what my family is and how I feel and see them in my heart and within my spirituality. It allowed me to go freely and in peace, knowing that my family is strong together, even if I am physically far away.

Those experiences also allowed me to rethink and restructure my idea of marriage and the role of religion in a family. Even though religion separated my family in a way, it also brought it back together again. Now, more than ever, I know how important it is that parents follow the same path when it comes to faith and raising kids religiously.

In January, when I left my parents home and set off on a new journey in Europe, to live in London and build my life there, I knew what I have before my eyes, I knew the family I have and how much they love and support me, in life and in my spiritual life. When I said my "Goodbye", I wished that one day I would be the one to have a family like that and see my little birds fly, to see my children go after their dreams… but also to see them share a faith together with the family.

I am working towards this goal, specially now that life presented me with a gift of love and happiness. But this is subject for another article…

“I do not want followers who are righteous, rather I want followers who are too busy doing good that they won’t have time to do bad.” — Rabbi Menachem Mendel of Kotzk