I got to thinking after watching the movie Gravity (which I found both odd and thought provoking) when Sandra Bullock says that line about not knowing how to pray because no one taught her how. Hearing that made me very thankful for the seed that my parents planted in me to trust and believe in God.
I don't talk about religion because I've always found it to be a pretty personal thing. But when I reflect on the why and how of what I believe, I know I do so because it's what feels right in my heart. I know I'm lucky to have had this gift of the Catholic religion passed on to me and I've always found power in our long family legacy of Catholics.
When I was younger, we used to make family road trips out to North Dakota (where I was born, and where my mother is from). I remember visiting the church (which I thought was so cool because it's walking distance from my grandma Betty's house) that my parents were married in and feeling such a special warmth. The high ceilings, the stained glass, the incense, the songs, these are all familiar things you'll find in any Catholic church, but I'm talking about a deeper presence. This was also the church that my Grandma had her funeral in. Experiencing both the place of my mother's wedding and her mother's funeral at a young age were very powerful for me. I was reminded that God is with us through the good and the sad. I also liked seeing how all of my extended family members filled up close to half of the church. I remember looking at them all and proudly connecting myself with them as my people.
It was with these same people that I recall traveling with one summer across the North Dakota fields in a Jeep Wrangler. It was hot. We were squished. But when my Aunt Reene began reciting the Hail Mary, suddenly the whole car was praying aloud with her. I remember being taught how to say the rosary by my grandmother, mother, and godmother as well as in church school, but this was another one of those experiences when I remember really feeling the true devotion of my faith.
While dating my now husband I remember telling him how getting married in the Catholic church was very important to me. He was very supportive of this as well as my desire to raise our children as Catholics. Like my mother did during her wedding ceremony, I too took a special moment to pray at the alter to Mary where I asked her to bless our marriage and give me the strength necessary for our marital commitment.
Together we're working at providing our children with a foundation (whether they choose to practice later in their lives is up to them) that teaches them who God is and why it's important for us to recognize Him and His sacrifices. I still find it very important to have that belief in something bigger than yourself and to be grateful for the many blessings we are so fortunate to have. I hope that our children take the time to really feel His love and cherish the opportunities they have to connect with Him and our faith so that they can be forever comforted by His presence and guiding light.