Sense & Sensitivity by Harriette Cole

Reader Should Feel Welcome to Engage in Church

DEAR HARRIETTE: When I was younger, my dad took my siblings and me to church every Sunday. We attended the hourlong mass and then went to Sunday school afterward. I attended a private Catholic elementary school, which incorporated some religious practices into the school curriculum.

I am now 26 years old, and I haven’t gone to church in years. I feel disconnected from my religion, and I want to start attending mass again. I think going to church might help me clear my head -- especially now that I am going through a rough time in my life. How can I get involved in church again? -- Can I Be Religious Again?, Shreveport, Louisiana

DEAR CAN I BE RELIGIOUS AGAIN: It is common for young adults to distance themselves from the religious practices they grew up in, only to come to a moment when they realize that faith is important in their lives. You are at that point, and it is up to you to embrace the religious practice that will support and guide your steps. You have no reason to feel ashamed or uneasy about immersing yourself in your religious practice and getting involved in your faith again.

Pay close attention and learn how to incorporate religious practice into your daily routine. You may want to keep a journal of observations about your life. Take note of how you handle challenging situations and see if incorporating religious rituals helps you to navigate them with greater ease.

DEAR HARRIETTE: My boyfriend and I are just about to graduate from college. We attended different schools, but we both plan to move to New York City after graduation, since that is where both of our jobs are.

Recently, my boyfriend has been making comments about us moving in together once we graduate. As much as I love him, I don’t think I am ready to live with him. I want to experience living in the city with my girlfriends or living on my own. This is not to say that I never want to move in with my boyfriend or that I don’t think it will happen one day; I just don’t think right now is the right time. How do I express my concerns to my boyfriend without making it seem like I am doubting our relationship? -- Don't Want to Live With Boyfriend, Philadelphia

DEAR DON’T WANT TO LIVE WITH BOYFRIEND: Well in advance of moving to New York City, you two should discuss your plans. Have you talked about marriage at all? If you think you will get married, you may want to add that to the discussion and point out that while you plan to spend your lives together, you want to live independent of him first. You want to learn to live on your own before settling down, so you are not ready to live with him yet -- that's all.

(Harriette Cole is a lifestylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to askharriette@harriettecole.com or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.)