To my dear child,
I write this to you because I don’t know how to say all these words to you in person. I love you. You are my child and I love you. That I do say to you, and hopefully you hear and believe that. I want to ask you if you hear and feel that same love from God.
“Oh Mum,” I hear you sigh. “Do you have to mention God?”
We live in a world that doesn’t mention the word God, unless it is in an expression of anger or excitement – and as a swear word not as a plea of love to God. I would like to share with you this love for God that I have and why this love I feel from God for me is life giving. In the same way I physically gave you life, God gives me life every single day.
God gives me life. God gives me energy. In my everyday failings, God loves me and forgives me. I am sure you know this my child, but I am not the perfect parent you need me to be!
In my darkest moments when I feel I have failed, when I feel alone and unlovable, I feel God’s hand guiding me, nudging me along saying, “I am here. I’ve got this.”
In the joyous moments of life, I try to live out of gratefulness, thanking God for the graces I experience right then and there, because God is there in the good times and the bad times. I feel that. I really, really feel that. I hope you can feel that too.
But what does it actually feel like? At best, I can describe it as a feeling of peace. A reassuring feeling of peace that I am not alone.
I’m sure as a child and now as a teenager you may think that feeling of peace and calm can be elusive. You are dealing with so much. I get that. I would encourage you to take time to stop. To sit in silence. To really try to hear the voice of God speaking to you in your mind and in your heart. I would love to sit with you sometime and maybe we can experience that peace together.
I know you have so many questions about God. I can hear it when you come home from school. When what you learn in science isn’t matching what you are taught in religion. I love that you question all that you hear and want to know more.
I am sorry that there isn’t the opportunity to break that open more at school, but I relish the opportunity to talk to you about that. Because, my dear child, this is where the richness is. In questioning, you will find God. Keep asking questions. Always. Never stop.
Full disclosure. It breaks my heart not to be able to share the Eucharist with you during Mass. To be able to talk about the mystery that is shared in the readings and Gospel and to break them open with you.
I see other families and I think, “What did I do wrong as a parent? Do I force my child to come and begin each Mass with a fight? Is that what it is about?”
But then when we talk, you remind me that you pray. You pray to God every night. You remind me that Eucharist isn’t only in the tabernacle but that you hope to be like Jesus to everyone you meet.
One day, I would like it if you shared with me what that is like – what praying to God and being like Jesus means to you. I would like to share in your experience of God. Because the God subject is not something off limits, but something that I hope we can share comfortably with each other.
Because in this world of graces and challenges, of awesomeness and confusion – the one constant in life will be God.
Whether you feel it or not, God will always be there for you. I want you to know that. I want you to really, really, REALLY feel that.
If there is anything that I can give to you, let it be that. Because if you know and feel that, then you, my beautiful child, will feel like the most loved person on earth.
And when you can feel that, you will be able to do anything.
Lisa Bright is a Project Officer in the Pastoral Planning Office, Diocese of Parramatta.