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!