Monday, November 7, 2011

A Culture of Gratitude. Day 7.

Today is November 7th.
Today marks 18 days until Thanksgiving.

I know. I skipped a few days in there...
They're actually at home, scribbled on napkins and the backs of watercolor pages (don't tell The Monkey) They'll get worked back in here in a day or so. I just don't have interwebs at home. My bad.

But today? Today I am Thankful for growing up in Faith.

Notice I said Faith. Not necessarily the Catholic Church.
Which, let's be honest here, I AM Thankful I was able to grow up in the Catholic Church. It's so much a part of who I am. But Faith is both a part of that...and something greater than the sum of it all at the same time.

Every Sunday morning, for as far back as I can remember, we woke up and poured our sleepy selves into dress clothes (no jeans!) and went to early mass. It was just a part of the schedule. It was what we did. I attended both a Catholic grade school and a Catholic high school and I owe much of my sense of self to those two institutions. I feel most at home, honest, when I am perched on a wooden pew, surrounded by the buzz of pre-mass greetings and catching up; the trail of incense wending its way through the crowd. I feel alive in my own skin when I reach across the empty space between people to clasp someone else's hand in mine for the Our Father. I feel a sense of warmth and comfort when I stop mid-hymn to listen to the scattered voices echoing across vaulted ceilings and hard tiled floors to become, if only for just a short time, one voice each Sunday.

But Faith is more than all those things as well.

Faith involves practicing what is preached.

Growing up, It involved celebrating our beliefs at home and at school, not just on Sundays between the hours of 8:30 and 10:00.  It seeped into every aspect of our lives. And it's this continual reinforcement of the understanding that there is something greater than ourselves stringing us all together that I am Thankful for. It's the lesson that was reinforced by my parents and my teachers and everyone my young, awkward self came into contact with that helped me to understand that my religion is not something I visit on Sundays and major holidays, it's something I live. It's not church. It's Faith.

And I've let that slip a bit with The Munchkins.  And I was ashamed of that and a bit adrift over how to fix it for a long time now. And, so, as hard as it was last week to suck it up and contact Holy Cross (which, granted, we've been attending for a few months now, anonymously.) I did it.  I joined the Parish. I signed The Biz up for First Holy Communion Classes. I paid my dues and signed The Monkey up for her baptismal classes.  Faith is about family. It's about that bigger connection. It's about celebrating your beliefs in every aspect of your life. And, while we'd been doing that at home, we had yet to find a new parish family for ourselves after being a bit adrift the past few years.  And I think we've finally come home.

And I've found it's self-renewing...that faith. It builds and builds when you feed it.
After church each Sunday The Munchkins have questions. And I find myself racking my Catechism to answer some of them. I lament the fact that they are not  attending a Catholic grade school almost daily. But, as it's not an option right now, I try and compensate in as many ways as I know how.

I'm excited to work on an Advent calendar with them...
I'm excited to find a new Advent wreath and light it nightly and weekly...
I'm excited about my Faith again.
And that's the funny thing about Faith...and one of the reasons I'm so grateful for it.
It was always there for me, even when I lost sight of it for great swaths of time. And it's that sense of Faith that I so desperately want to pass on to The Munchkins, no, that I will pass on to them.

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