Today, I wanted to tell you about my personal spiritual journey, how it's going and all, but, I don't really want to, and, well... that's a problem. My plan has always been to tread lightly here on this page, tread gently, tread nicely. Which is why, ostensibly, I avoid talking about politics and religion and, other than a few undertones I may have inadvertently added, I think I've done well.
Basically, I fabricated a loophole so I won't have to talk of things about which I am uncomfortable. Like my spiritual journey. But... but, if I am really writing this for the men-my-boys-will-become, then shouldn't I show them some of the struggles and doubts I have come up against in the walk of faith that is required of us, required of us even as we walk the difficult path that is living itself. Together we must take on this double-edged sword of mystery and certainty. It's hard to do, boys, I understand that.
So I'll distract us all and show you this. It sat alone on the table, no crayons in sight, no boy, no other papers, alone. I had to pick it up and give it my full attention. I'm not sure what it is, exactly, but I sure want it as my logo:
Actually, I think it's an angel shirt.
If a man reads this, and is my son, shouldn't I remind him that I too struggled as a man, that I had my faith rocked hard on many occasions, that I have so often had faith in the faith of others as mine withered, including him when he was an eight-year-old first communicant accepting something so seemingly mysterious and different - something which frightens me. I want to tell you that it is all alright, doubts and fears are an enormous part of this journey, knowing that eases the burden, knowing others feel - knowing that I feel, now or then - the significance of difficult decisions about faith, church, the spiritual, the divine, the sacred, the holy is a great comfort, somehow.
I think I'd rather just show you a spider-boy. Nick and Zack aren't kids who are familiar with a lot of movies or cartoons or comics or the like. They wouldn't know The Hulk from that big guy at church, or what the heck Spiderman is about - radioactive spiders? Swings on a web? Teenage angst? No. But Zack can leap up in doorway and scream "I am Spider Boy" because, well, who wouldn't?
What about you, dear reader, what if something I can say right now could help you, lift you, sustain you for that brief weightless moment when your faith falters? I'll tell you this, I draw great strength from The Trinity not because of its awesomeness, not because of its impenetrable mystery, not because of its unutterable beauty - although it is all three. I draw strength in its safety, its flexibility, its forgiveness. I never have been a great follower of Christ (and I wonder if you will ever see this sentence). I have always been in awe of God and His essential supremacy, that's a fact. I have always seen the beauty of the Holy Spirit, sometimes in a meadow or a song or a soul or in the whisper of the wind, but usually in others. I have not known Christ, however, not with a closeness so many describe. I am sorry for that, but, it is true. I have never sensed that I was known by name, chosen, friended by a savior. But, such is the subtle beauty of The Trinity - by its very design I am forgiven, understood, accepted. I hope you see that, dear friend.
Let's take a look at this, it's a logic page from third grade:
Well, uh, yeah, so Conner and Joseph had, no that wouldn't work... Makala didn't have, no, did have... Kaityln probably had the donuts because... I'll go cook some more sausages.
Wait, wait... there's an answer key:
It is hard to tell about a journey as you are on it; it is difficult to write a story, or a even a chapter of one, as it unfolds before you; it is difficult to trust the answers when you didn't really comprehend the questions. Is there an answer key? I hope for my sake, for the sake of these fine young men, and for yours, there is.
(OK, actually said at the dinner table before the meal)
“Bless us, O Lord, and these Thy gifts,
which we are about to receive from Thy bounty,
through Christ our Lord.