A rough night at gymnastics.
A cut, a fall, more tumbles when tumbling was not supposed to happen.
A quick trip for frozen yogurt and a smile returns.
Just as the sun sinks into the sky, while she licks the last remnants of treat from the spoon, her small voice catches me off guard.
“What can I pray for you for Momma?”
I cannot claim credit for teaching her to ask the question.
After weeks of watching us start each Sunday mass with that question to the person in the pew beside us, she has learned this is a way she can engage.
Her church community has nurtured in her the desire to connect in this manner.
I paused not sure how to answer.
There is a line I’ve often felt when revealing ones prayers that are closest to the heart.
“Will you pray for guidance and for wisdom for Momma?”
With the heart of a six year old her response makes me pause one more time.
“Can we pray now Momma? I want to pray for you and for some others I’ve been thinking about.”
Grateful for our church.
Grateful for this journey of mothering where I receive more then I give.
Sometimes the words don’t come as I would have them.
They feel so inadequate amid the enormity of the moment.
And so it was on Saturday night.
As I found myself in front of a church of 700, I realized that I could not possibly convey the feelings that had moved in me.
The words would never do the moment justice.
The confirmation of my choice, the sureness in my heart would fill the void of vocabulary.
People frequently shrink from conversations about religion.
What one believes or doesn’t is not often discussed in public places.
How does a person in search of a religion then navigate the road?
We take tentative steps to inquire of those we know. We find other seekers who help to guide the way.
Soon months turn into years and we wonder if in the waiting for a sign we have found our sign.
On a quiet Sunday morning, with heads bowed in prayer, we finally decide that this place doesn’t just feel like home, it is home.
It doesn’t matter that we weren’t born of this tradition.
In this place we find beauty in the ritual; a comfort lines our hearts.
Faith is an act.
To live out the act we believe we must find the community to support us,
and so we have.
The journey is over, but the searching will never be complete.
This church is now the guide.
I was taught to say my prayers each night.
The Our Father as an end note to my day.
On Sunday’s I sat in the wooden pew and watched my papa preach.
He weaved stories.
Words strung together.
Me straining to understand what they meant for my life.
Years passed. Different wooden pews. Different men and women with their words and my ache to understand.
And then these last 8 years the clarity came in moments least expected.
Moments alone with joy and with grief, I came to realize I wasn’t by myself.
Turning to him, head bowed, heart opened in prayer, I learned that I was supported in my aloneness.
He would carry me, if only I brought myself to his feet.
So I have.
On days when the dog throws up on the carpet, when I forget to pack lunches or when my flight is delayed three times over and I miss those meetings a thousand miles away;
I look to him in my exasperation.
When the girl’s dad tells me he has made the decision to remarry or Audrey’s third grade teacher praises her social intelligence;
I turn to him to guide my response.
The understanding reached.
I can be alone, together.