Thursday, April 4, 2013

Jessa Diebel’s Year Off: My Vacation from Declaring a Belief

by Project Interfaith Communications Intern, Jessa Diebel

Ferris Bueller inspired my decision to take a step back from religion and my internal need to declare my beliefs to my friends and family. As an enthusiastic viewer of the classic movie, “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” I found I admired Ferris’ ability to let go of his responsibilities and instead experience life. Instead of skipping school, I have skipped declaring a belief system, just for a year.

I grew up in a relaxed religious household. I was baptized, received communion and was confirmed as a Roman Catholic and attended religious education every Wednesday evening at the local Catholic school. I grew up in a mainly Catholic neighborhood in the Midwest with little religious diversity. Growing up, I was just never excited to go to church. In fact, I was terrified of the religion. I still remember being terrified before my first time through reconciliation; I clutched my instructions for the sacrament and shook through the entire experience. I basically realized that others my age were experiencing something that I was not – a connection to the religion I was raised in.

Thankfully, my parents are accepting people. I began to realize how lucky I was to have them as my parents when I began to express my lack of connection to the Catholic Church; something that many people my age were never able to do. My parents realized that it was not something that I truly believed in.  I was not excited to attend mass or participate in the sacraments. I attended a private Catholic high school and began to learn the church’s stance on certain social issues and I realized our views were severely different. I was feeling like Cameron did at the beginning of Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, apathetic and listless.

Enter college and I became more comfortable with my confusion when it came to religious beliefs. I encountered meditation, different religions and more people that seemed to be transitioning from the religions they were raised in to ones they identified with more. I found myself telling people that I just plain did not know what was above or below me. I refrained from calling myself a Catholic; I refrained from calling myself anything. I started to become more and more comfortable with my lack of religious identity. I metaphorically pushed my dad’s $90,000 sports car through the glass and destroyed it. 

I am currently working on finding a religion that I can identify with because I do not want to become too comfortable with this uncertainty. Contrary to my wishes, I cannot remain on break from religion for forever. If my theology classes have taught me anything, it has been the history behind Catholicism, as well as the power that comes from living a purposeful life. To this day, I hope to have a religious experience or have some sign that tells me where to go and what path to follow – I am looking for Ferris’ ‘Danke Schoen’ moment, because it is obvious to me that Ferris goes on to become a superstar lip-syncher.

I know other people experience this same feeling of uncertainty, especially at my age (I’m nearly 21) and I think it is more than okay. Faith is an important thing to have, no matter where it comes from and no matter the religion behind it. I have found it most helpful to discuss religious beliefs with my friends and family. I have found the greatest resources are the people around you.

Jessa Diebel is the current Communications Intern at Project Interfaith. She is a junior Graphic Design and Advertising major at Creighton University, with a penchant for social media and the internet. She loves Omaha almost as much as she loves her hometown of St. Paul, Minnesota. She is passionate about learning and sharing informative information through Project Interfaith. She enjoys looking at pictures of cute dogs, traveling when she has the means, watching classic movies and being with friends.

No comments: