Most of my life I have been surrounded by a strong faith. I was raised as a Roman Catholic, going to church every day, and receiving the sacraments: first holy communion, confession, and confirmation, even holy matrimony (in much later years, of course). When I was 10, my parents became involved with the Catholic Charismatic Renewal; my life was forever changed.
My parents began having weekly prayer meetings in our house. I attended, but only because there was nothing else to do; we couldn't watch TV, we had to be quiet - so why not sing and pray? Plus, we were adored by those attending - everyone thought it was so cute to see 'the little children' praying so fervently. My Dad took to giving us scripture lessons at dinner - boring! He would have us memorize scriptures, sing chants, learn prayers...all this we did with loud groans and embarrassment. No one else had to endure what we endured. I remember the lessons my Dad gave on the Our Father and the Creed...he dissected each prayer, line by line - teaching us the meaning and intent, so we would understand what we were praying. Did we listen? Yes and no...
As I grew older, I attended church every week. Not so much because of a strong desire to do so, but because it was expected ~ mostly out of guilt. I was in my thirties when I began questioning exactly why I was doing what I was doing. I decided that it wasn't important to go to Mass every day; but rather, my relationship with God, with Jesus - that was the most important thing. An excuse? Perhaps.
I still do not attend church regularly. I pray daily, I seek God's guidance for my life on a regular basis. I have a strong faith and a deep love for my heavenly Father. I owe this faith to my parents. I find that all those lessons, all those chants, all those scripture readings, touched me deeply. A seed was deeply implanted in my heart and soul. When I do attend church, I find a peace that I find in no other place: I find myself loving the prayers, and remembering the words of my father, the lessons he so faithfully and lovingly taught us.
My Dad often wonders what God will say to him when he reaches the pearly gates. Will God be displeased because some of his children have wandered in their faith? I try to reassure him: he and Mom did all they could do to teach us, to lead us in the way of the Lord. Once adults, we each chose our own path. I believe God will be most pleased with my parents and will say 'job well done!'.
Though many of my siblings and I have chosen different paths, we all have a strong faith. Even those of us who are lost and wandering the misty flats. Our parents did good by us; they instructed us, giving us a faith to lean upon through trial and tribulations. Daddy, rest easy, you planted the seeds deep within. I am most grateful for your love, wisdom, and most of all, faith.