Ceili, the best posts here on A2K or anywhere rather are those from the heart as yours diffidently is. They are also the greatest catalyst for change in others.
Now I have a story of my own.
When I first moved to the city I currently live in here in Maine I though I had AIDS. A friend of mine confused me when I got my test results they said negative/positive I am not sure meant I had AIDS...
I believed them like fool. So for a few years I did not dare date or even attempt to find love. I was also at the time part of a religion that "marked and avoided" gay people. I was able to fool them for a time but eventually things fell apart and I was tossed out like yesterdays news.
Well this all left me emotionally distraught and wrecked for much else.
I was homeless for two years and tossed from shelter to shelter. Always miserable and defeated. One day I was at the free clinic and a nun took a liking to me and decided to mentor me.
I told her I had AIDS but for some reason she made me get tested again.
The test came out negative. It was like I was given a new body to live in.
Well I got personal one day while she was counseling me and told her that the religion of which I came from believe I was possessed by demons every time I did gay things.
I said to her sobbing, how would you feel if you were told your love was a devil spirit?
I could see this had had some impact on her. Within a week she left the clinic and decided to go work at the AIDS clinic instead testing people for AIDS. Out of the frying pan into the fire...I admired her so much. To this day I believe in human angels...
There is a serious divide in the catholic church on one hand there are people like you and her and on there other hand there are vulture clergy that have no heart and no place in the church.
I was both hurt and healed by religion.
I think of the recent episode of the "nuns on the bus" woman who every time I see her I am taken back to that clinic and the love and healing I felt there.
I sometimes may seem like I talk in superlatives but it is the divisive part of religion that I object to while the nuns on the bus have my love and respect.