I think all we’re trying to do as mothers and fathers, is help our children sleep at night. We sing songs, we recite peaceful prayers, we kiss and hug and shut out the light. This is sometimes all that’s needed to keep the nightmares away, or at least push them back into the recesses of the closet.. Sometimes we need more intercession and sometimes everyone needs to huddle close together in one bed, breathing and dreaming in sync. Faith is like this. Little rituals before we’re tucked to bed for the night.
I was raised a patois Christian; my father deeply spiritual and Catholic and my mother deeply spiritual and Methodist. Neither were completely sold on organized religion, so our church attendance was sporadic and is somewhat drowsy in my memory. I remember liking all the Marys at the Catholic church and all of the singing at the Methodist. I went to CCD but didn’t receive my First Holy Communion until I was around twelve, and it was my choice and not by my parent’s insistence. I had my first drink of wine that day.
My husband and I have shopped around at different churches since I was carrying my son. We thought it would be nice to have a ritual, a regular attendance. Both of us believe in God. We believe in Jesus, Buddha, peace, little rituals, doing what’s right, etc. etc. etc. He was raised Episcopalian, and his parents still attend the church from his childhood. Needless to say, from Episcopalian to Unitarian to non-denominational Christian to Methodist, we’ve been in a lot of sanctuaries. We’re done, though. Not with the Universe/God etc but with the organized ritual. We know what feels right in our hearts and it doesn’t involve a doctrine.
Xander, our son, is having trouble sleeping at night. We find ourselves crafting calming rituals for him. New little songs, a new light, the radio on. We’ve smudged his little room and we’ve reassured and we’ve held him but he keeps waking up. Turns out it’s an evolutionary pattern in human children to start awakening often around this age. We’re hard-wired to listen for wolves.
I’ve been thinking that this is what our faith is. Calming words and allowing love to pump inside our hearts and sharing and doing what’s right. We add little rituals here and there to solidify and walk against the way the winds blow. It doesn’t have a name and we don’t shake hands or offer danishes and coffee but it’s ours and I’m good with that now. Life is frightening, and now that my son is becoming more aware of his surroundings and the sad things he’s having trouble sorting it out. Faith is how some of us sort it out.