Let me begin by first saying, I do not enjoy writing about religion. I rarely discuss faith with anyone other than very close friends or George. It isn’t something I enjoy. I am going to make a rather small exception this time.
Over the last year George and I have rediscovered our Catholic Faith. We were both born and raised Catholics. I am not sure I speak for him, but I got a little lazy. It was easy to say I was Catholic and believed in God, but I never really did anything about it.
About a year ago George and I started taking the kids to mass at St. Aloysius on the Ohio. It is a small parish in our neighborhood of Sayler Park. Many of our neighbors attend St. Al’s. Many of their children go to or have gone to St. Al’s school and then onto Catholic High School here in Cincinnati. George’s twins went to PSR there on Sunday. It is a lovely parish full of wonderful caring people.
For a few weeks, we went thru the motions of being church goers. Then one day as we sat and listened to Fr. Rick’s homily, George and I looked at each other as if a lightbulb had gone off over our heads. We realized our lives had a path. A path that had been there all along, clearly lit for us. All we had to do was open our eyes and our hearts to see that path. It is lit with compassion, benevolence, humility, charity, courage, and unselfishness, among other things.
Another thing that we have learned in the last year is how to pray. I think many people pray to God to give them things. We treat God like a drive thru…we ask him for things…”Please God can you give me just this one thing super sized and for dessert can you make me prettier?” God has already given us what we need, our path. And from the beginning, he made sure it was clear and brightly lit. It is up to us to keep it luminous for ourselves by not giving into feelings of anger, bitterness, revenge, and greed, among others. Those are what thwart the peaceful and smooth ride down our path.
None of us are perfect. And it is not always an easy ride. For example, yesterday the thorny vines of revenge were spreading down my path, and me without my pruners. And as I felt the vines grow stronger, I realized I was the only one that could find a way to dissever and remove them from my path. As I sat with George, we discussed our path and how we wished to live our lives. I said a prayer, not asking God for anything, but praying that I find the strength do the right thing with the gifts he has already given me. And in the end, those vines were destroyed and my path was lit clearly again.
If I were sitting with a close friend or George, I would continue this conversation about religion and what is means to me now, at age 47. But at nearly 600 words, I am already treading the line of comfort for me. So for now, I will just say, if you hear George and I discussing our path, it is something we work hard on clearing every single day. Some areas are easier for us than others, but together we cut back those vines that wish to grow and block our path and make the path of our life more difficult. Now, off to Home Depot for some Round-Up.