The kitchen table is a great place for family discussions on faith...
Hello my Pilgrims... It's been too long. First, let's cover the important news of life in California. All is extraordinary, the weather warm and delightful, and we are all healthy. While I haven't been writing, you are not far from my thoughts and are always in my prayers. A quick recap on my journey.
Since early January, I have taken on more volunteering opportunities at the Mission. The duties of my volunteer work has shifted my time from my writing to sharing my gifts with fellow parishioners. I'm coordinating small faith sharing groups; about 80 of my fellow parishioners are participating in a six week program. The program runs on Thursday nights and Friday mornings. I have loved meeting so many of my fellow parishioners, while still running my own small group. And I still teach my weekly first grade religious education class; my student Beauties are adorable and I love the time I spend with them and their parents. Which means my weekdays are full with prepping for all these responsibilities.
That gives you a full sense of my "professional life"-- but I'm sure you really want to know how my walk on the pilgrimage is progressing. I have answers for that too! Jeff's travel schedule has been consistent and just this past week he was in DC for a full week of meetings. I have shared that Jeff travels! He travels one to two nights every week; we have accepted that level of travel. When Jeff and I reminded the Beauties that he would be gone for a whole week... well that didn't go as well. Ian my schedule keeper, expressed his disappointment, "A whole week?!?!". We reminded the Beauties that Dad is the breadwinner; that his traveling is part of the responsibility of his job. I made some off hand 1950's comment that Dad is the Head of our Household and with that Mini-me spoke up, "Well that makes sense. Dad is the Head of the Household, but Mom you are the Spiritual Head of our family."
I guess I am...
One of my dear friends, told me the story of the meeting she and her future husband had with their rabbi. The rabbi explained that as a couple they would determine how religious/observant they would be as a family. It's a wonderful comment, that I wish more folks would consider. I think for most families, their faith participation isn't considered--it's just done. Done out of routine, or out of guilt, or the expectations of others...
Like taxes. You don't think about it, you just do it. That Pilgrims is what we need to discuss.
If you aren't actively navigating you and your family's spiritual journey--Don't panic, I'm going to help you fix that today. It will be the easiest and most joyful change in your home life, if you are willing to make a few simple modification to your daily routine. I'm asking you to change the order of your to-do list--not add anything, just re-prioritize.
As the "Spiritual Head" of this household; I try to focus most of my daily life to recognizing and improving our spiritual life. I'm thinking about it during laundry, before dinner prep, many times throughout the day, I'm considering their faith life. How am I developing their faith? Is it working to ensure they have a personal relationship with the Divine? I don't need to nag Ian every time to say grace before he dives into dinner (Norah does that.)
No, I'm in the tool box business. Yes, learning your prayers are important, but what matters most to me is that you have the Divine in your thoughts throughout the day. That the Divine is in your decision making process, in your encounters with strangers and friends alike.
I give my Beauties the same marching orders daily. You know the amazing morning routine of bickering, backpacks hitting ever surface, complaints about lunch boxes, violins, doors being opened with too much force--I lovingly remind them the hammer question that they know is coming at dinner:
"Who was the face of Christ for you today? And were you the face of Christ for someone else?"
Boom... that is Divine in action, no matter your tradition, it is the question that resonates. It's not just Sunday that they consider the Divine--it's hopefully in all they do, daily.
Another way to say it, "Where did you see the Divine/God in action today? How did the Divine/God work through you today?"
I went to Catholic schools, I loved every second. It was my plan that my children would do the same. They aren't, both my children needed academic supports that our Catholic school could not provide. That's not a criticism, it was just our reality. That decision has given me a different world view and different challenges. I have had to use different muscles, I have had to take on more of the religious education, but more than that; I have had to work harder to create the opportunities of living in faith.
I admit that my weekly priority is faith, but it's not theirs. They are worried about sports, extra-curricular activities, school, homework, even Jeff's travel. The question is, how can I weave the gift of faith into their daily living?
How do I do that?
Well it's more than just words and it's more than simple actions. It's about the priorities in our family life. You can take your children to religious services every week; but if it's not in your home all the time, you are not living in faith.
You can't farm it out. This isn't an activity that you can pay someone else to complete.
You have to be active at living it. Are you discussing tough subjects with your children and explaining how your religious views frame your political, social and civic duties? Are you actively making prayer a part of your daily journey? Do you explain that you read articles or books on your faith? Are you discussing the homily/sermon after you go to religious services? And if it was a crummy homily/sermon are you offering a different take? I ask my Beauties what did you hear the priest say? Then Jeff and I offer what we have learned.
These are simple first steps. Their are so many other opportunities that I'm sure oodles of you are doing. So share away. Let's not keep our ideas a secret, let us share how we are raising faith filled humans to live and support our world.
And I promise to be in closer touch.... I have missed all of you. Till we meet again on the road.
The Divine in me bows and honors the Divine in each of you.
Thank you for walking with me this week and always. I do use social media to keep in touch. You are welcome to find me on
or comment below. I personally answer all my correspondence... and I'm always glad to meet another traveler.