What My Parents Taught Me

It was late Sunday morning, and I took a break from packing and cleaning to meet Matt in the den. “Are we going to church?” We had planned to, but with the non-stop pace of vacation (is that an oxymoron?), we never made definitive plans. Matt whipped out the computer and began looking up local churches and church times.

And as Matt searched, I thought about my parents.

We never missed church. If we went on vacation, we found a church. If I had a gymnastics meet in another state, we’d catch up with the crew after Mass. There was never any question as to whether or not we would go–we always would.

One of the benefits of being Catholic was that we knew exactly where we were going and what to expect. We knew the dress code, the formalities, the length of the service; there weren’t any surprises. I can’t remember exactly what my feelings were toward church as a child–I’m sure I thought we should go–but I’m fairly certain I didn’t actually look forward to the idea of pausing vacation to go to Mass.

I did like noticing the differences between the church we were visiting and ours at home–whether or not the church was crowded or empty; if the church pews had cushions and if so, what color; from what country was the priest; did his homily have anything to do with the readings; and, if in the midst of tradition, the church had a relaxed feel or not. I would take in all these differences as we took the hand of the priest after Mass thanking him for letting us visit.

At that time, my parents didn’t understand that God desired an intimate relationship with them, but they did know that He was and is worthy of their awe and respect. I never had the sense that we were going to church to put a check in the box but because we should. God was God, and giving Him an hour of our lives every week to learn about Him was the right thing to do.

So that Sunday morning at the beach, Matt and I looked at all the church services we missed because they started at 10 a.m. (what happened to 11 a.m. being the church standard?). And then, doing something that my Catholic grandmother would have said didn’t count as church, we typed in the web address of a local church at home and watched their service live. We listened as the pastor taught that sometimes we don’t need a reason other than God. When He calls us to change jobs, adopt a child, move–whatever the call–we don’t always need to know why, just that God is God. And God can be trusted.

My parents knew part of that fact, and now they know His grace and the rest. And I am forever grateful for their example, an example that taught me that sometimes the questions are not necessary. Sometimes, we just need to take the time to do what’s right. Because God is God. And, really, that’s the only reasons we need.

I enjoyed our few days away, but it’s good to be home where we’re taking another ‘vacation’ day of lazily unpacking, a little writing while the kids watch T.V., and some relaxed cleaning. I’m linking up with Michelle and Jen today before we get back to business tomorrow!



19 thoughts on “What My Parents Taught Me

  1. The best way to start your day of rest is going to church and acknowledging our Lord and thanking Him for all that He has given us. Although the sabbath was actually Saturday, things have changed across the centuries but looking to share that day with Him is a great start of the day and should set the pace for the upcoming week. You and Matt have great values and Mom and I are so happy to have even bit a little part of what makes you "tick." I guess we did a pretty good job as parents.

    Love, Dad


  2. Having married into a Catholic family, the first thing I noticed right away was their dedication and passion about going to Church every Sunday to Mass, no matter where they were or what was going on. Growing up, when we went on vacation, we didn’t even talk about going to church. However, when I went on vacation with my husbands family, his mom picked our house or condo based on the fact that it was close to a Catholic church. I found it refreshing that they were so dedicated to they faith, and it helped me to develop an admiration for their religion and beliefs.
    Great post, once again!


    1. It's funny how our situations are almost exactly reversed! I'm so glad you have found admiration and respect in your husband's family's traditions and that you all share a meaningful faith together. πŸ™‚


  3. love this post. i have vacillated on the go-to-church-no-matter-what issue. as of late we have been going when we are out of town. and we don't always dress up. we actually thought we were going to beach church last summer and ended up in a sanctuary. and my younger son didn't have shoes on! we did it anyway….


    1. Good for you! God looks at the heart, not the shoes, right? πŸ™‚

      I've gone back and forth on the issue, too. I've known people who never miss church on Sunday but forget about God during the week and those who love God all the time but let 'grace' keep them from worrying about church any time they're not at home. I think there is probably a good middle ground somewhere. Missing church won't keep me out of heaven, but remembering the Sabbath probably isn't a command just for when we're in town, either.


  4. As i’ve grown in my faith, i can honestly exclaim that i don’t have to go to church, i get to go to church. This was a phrase a former pastor always said and it is so true. It is comforting to feel His presence, even if we feel unworthy.

    By the time a service ends, i feel energized and renewed. Our ladies bible study is another reason i love to go to church. We are learning to discover that what we view as an interruption in our life, might truly be God’s divine invitation for a life so much better than we can imagine.

    Good post, Jennie


    1. That's a nice perspective, especially knowing that is some countries people really don't get to go to church. I know I take my ability to worship for granted.


  5. I was wondering where you were! Somehow I missed the announcement. Glad to see you back!
    Not having grown up going to church much, the last ten years of being married to a pastor have instilled in me a need for that Sunday time with my brothers and sisters that I miss deeply whenever we cannot be at church (any church) so we seldom are not there. It's in the DNA of our family and something we are trying to instill in our children: not having to go to church, but getting to go to church like Bobbie said above.


    1. That's great, Gaby. I love to read how God has transformed your life and how you are taking this new life and teaching your children.


    1. I'm just glad you were able to comment, no matter the length! So a former Catholic girl, too–what else do we have in common?!


    1. Ha ha! A former pastor of ours with a quick wit liked to say that on vacation he liked to do what the majority of his congregation does–show up late, not pay attention, and not give a dime! πŸ™‚


  6. We don't go to church while we are on vacation, unless we are visiting a relative and then go with them. This is such a different perspective than the one I have grown up with. I can see all points of view here. And it makes me think about, as my time is ending as church as my job, that instead of just taking a break from church, that perhaps I just need a quick break from my church. This is time to see what God is doing in other places.


    1. It is very interesting to visit other churches. I think sometimes I get comfortable in my church home, our way of worship, and it does me good to see how others worship the same God, too.


  7. Because God is God. And, really, that’s the only reasons we need…we don't always need to know why! This spoke to me…affirming me…thankyou:)
    visiting from Jen's and by the way –
    I LOVE that picture!


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