When my father died two months before I was to graduate high school, it seems it could have been an opportunity to sink into and draw strength from my faith or to cast it aside. My shallow catholic faith didn't really stand a chance. I still believed, but I was pretty angry with God. I guess it's the difference between being a once a week church attending catholic and having a relationship with God.
Fast forward five years, I met my husband to be - a wonderful, agnostic man. Six years later we were married of course not in the church. Not once did I go to church in that time. Our every free minute was spent outdoors in Oregon's truly wonder-full forests, beaches and mountains. That was our "church" and I couldn't believe others believed you needed to sit in a man-made building to commune with God.
Fast forward through sixteen more years of a beautiful life mixed with 2 terrible miscarriages, 3 amazing children, the death of my mom, grandparents, brother-in-law, a major health scare and I find myself craving daily mass. Yup, I said it... Daily Mass.
Yesterday, was a rough day. I've had some health symptoms rearing up, feeling stretched thin with time, commitments, finances, motherhood... You name it. It's just a stressful time for us. Truly, everything was just swirling in my mind like a tornado.
We'd accomplished little in schoolwork during the morning and suddenly it was 11:45am. I had wanted to get to church but thought how could we with the little we'd accomplished.
But I made the decision to rally the troops. We got there a little late.
I can't explain it well but I just prayed that God would fill me with his love and help me experience my day with his eyes, words and heart. In the course of 30 minutes, the tornado stopped spinning, the stress melted away and we all left feeling put back together.
During the course of the day, answers started showing up to most of the issues in that tornado with perfect timing and seemingly all by happenstance.
Another lesson that worrying doesn't change anything but trusting in my faith and myself changes everything.
Judging from the contentment in my kids after church, I'm praying that they are growing with that sink-into-it kind of solid faith in God.
And yes, I do still think the outdoors is one of the most intimate, sacred places to experience God but I now know that there's something to be said for sitting among as part of a community in one of those man-made buildings.