I haven’t written a blog post in a while. I find plenty of excuses why I’m too busy to sit down and write. I guess I needed the push I got tonight from my kids to sit still for 10 minutes and jot down my thoughts.
It all started with a discussion after dinner about LENT. The kids were asking each other what they were giving up. What started as a discussion about sacrifice quickly turned into fights between brothers and sister questioning their choices. “You’re giving up your I-touch for 40 days? Yeah right! You’ll just sneak onto the I-Pad.” “Are you serious, you can’t give up Instagram, you take too many selfies!” “Like you’re really going to give up sweets, you have a stash of Halloween candy under your bed you liar!”
Although I gave up yelling for Lent, I quickly blew that one listening to the chaos. Do they not understand what Lent is about? They go to Catholic school, we go to church, we pray together, we talk about our faith. We are definitely not the perfect Christian family but why weren’t they getting “it”?
Then it hit me. Because they’re kids.
What followed was a conversation I wasn’t ready for…the first time any of my kids have seriously questioned their faith. My daughter says to me, “Why should I believe in God when everything that he’s done to me this week has been horrible?” She did have a really tough week so I can understand her reasoning. She had a massive vomiting migraine episode lasting two days that left her feeling terrible just in time for her school soccer team to head to their championship game. Her 8th grade year and last time playing for her school. The finals game at the end of an undefeated season. Although she bravely tried to make it through she just wasn’t well enough to play which broke her heart. To make matters worse she fell and hit her head hard on the turf during the game in the few minutes she tried to play and had to be rushed to the ER where she was diagnosed with a probable mild concussion.
So I get it. I completely understand why she’s ticked off at God.
Then my 12 year-old son says, “Yeah, sometimes I don’t know if God is real, it’s really hard to believe in someone you can’t see.” My youngest pipes in next, “You guys are crazy, he is totally real!”
Ok, my eight year-old gets it. I paused for a minute, not knowing what to say to the older kids. How do I change my daughter’s frustrated tears and my son’s turbulent faith into triumph?
I shared with them my faith journey, how many hills and valleys I met along the way. How questioning our faith only makes it stronger and that faith is so much bigger than the eye can see. It’s not just about God, the bible and the saints. It’s about believing in something bigger than us, trusting that there is a plan for each and every one of us and ultimately we are blindly following the path whether we like it or not.
I told them bad things will happen along the way, as will good. Some will have explanations, most will not. Everything will seem unfair at times and once in a while we’ll get a break and be on top of that hill just in time to fall into another valley.
I had my iPhone on my lap at the time. I glanced down for a minute because I felt like I wasn’t getting through to them. Then I saw a song title on my phone’s music playlist. “Open the eyes of my heart”. Coincidence? Maybe. Maybe not.
Forget your head, the analytical thinking and practical rational. Forget your eyes because faith is not something you will ever be able to see. The only thing you need to do is simply open your heart, and believe everything will be ok and everything happens for a reason even in our darkest moments.
The good, the bad, the tears and turbulence…eventually the triumphs will surpass them all.