I don’t know how it felt to her, but from my point of view this—way back in December—was one of the bravest blog posts I’ve read.
Churches have been important to me—as communities, as places for questioning and reflection and discussion and activism—for most of my life. Reading, thinking, and writing about religions was essentially my job for many years (as a student and graduate student), and exploring spiritual life has been high on my list of occupations for many more years than that. My closest friends often end up being people of deep faith.
But even after all that, I’m not generally someone who prays. At Ingrid’s day care, they sing Blessings on the blossoms / Blessings on the roots / Blessings on the leaves and stems / Blessings on our food before lunch, and that’s lovely. But when it comes to saying Dear God, Thank you for this day, and by the way could you also please help me keep from screaming at my daughter this evening, I normally can’t quite get through it. I get tripped up somewhere around the word God.
Except. Except for sometimes lately. Since Iris was born, I have been praying sometimes, without even intending to. Even though there is nothing I can firmly say I believe that would account for prayer—let alone a response—being possible, I have been praying: Help. Help me be good enough for them.
That’s scary to say: I’m doing something I don’t understand. Even scarier: Sometimes—not always but sometimes—it seems to work in a way that I can’t even pretend to get. One minute I don’t have any peace, or patience, or compassion, and then, suddenly, I do.
The cliché is that parenting changes us. This, though, I did not expect: My children are driving me to religion.