(confessions of a fairy very bad godmother)
Warning: This post contains poignant reflections and may not be suitable for everyone. If you would rather read our light and fluffy Catholic In and Out list for 2017, click here.catholic-in-and-out-2017
Dear Susan’s Boys,
Your mom recently wrote about you all being grown up and ready to adult. When did that happen and where was I? Sure, I showed up for major sacraments, coughed my way through your confirmations, and made it for high school graduations. I gave you years of lame Christmas presents and sometimes even remembered birthday gifts. I never really reached out to you or helped you, though. One of my biggest regrets is that we don’t have a closer bond. Honestly, I was just never sure how to approach you all.
Today, you are all 21 or over and I am inviting you to re-set our relationship. Not that you need another highly-strung, middle-aged woman in your life, but you never know when an impartial adult can come in handy. It is purely incidental that you are all now of legal drinking age. Really.
I know you have gotten plenty of advice from your parents, but, as a belated Christmas gift, here are a few pearls of wisdom from your poor, old godmother:
Don’t close the door on faith. I know it is tough to keep a handle on religion and faith at your age. There is a lot against it, especially the opinions of those around you. I think it’s OK if you need to question or step away from your faith at times. I do advise you not to close yourself off to it completely. Even if you think you don’t believe in God, I’ll just say it, you’re kidding yourself. I promise you, there will come a point in your future where you will want something more in your life. You will need your faith.
If you are staying away from God because you know you are doing the wrong thing at times, don’t. We all sin. God wants all of you, the good, the bad and the ugly. While I never really left the church, I did some questionable stuff. However, I have been lucky enough to feel the hand of God a few times. I was 3000 miles away in law school when my father died and it threw my world into complete disarray overnight. I went back to church. Just sitting in a church helped me. I could actually feel God with me and that changed my life. It didn’t happen overnight. It has taken me decades to get anything out of adoration or praying but I have gotten there. Now, I am one of those crying-during-adoration freaks that I never understood before. Sticking with God was not easy, but I promise you, it is so worth it.
Don’t be afraid to act. Success is great but so are mistakes. It’s not just that you learn from them, it’s that people can see great qualities in you when you fail. A major leadership position I received was based in part in a project I led that was a huge failure. What was important was acting; trying to accomplish a goal and handling it when things went wrong.
Age does not equal maturity. I was really good at getting out of school and supporting myself but I was not truly mature until much later. It’s not even a question of thinking you know it all. You just need to get out there on your own and deal with a lot of stuff. Only time buys you that, if you are lucky enough to get it. Honestly, I still struggle with selfishness and childishness. So there.
Treat the women in your life well. It is really hard to be female. You have no idea. You might think we talk a lot but, honestly, you are only getting about 1% of what is running through our heads. Scary, huh? Throwing a little theology of the body at you, though, women are vessels of life and deserve respect. One of the best things about our faith is that it gives a prominent place to the mother of God. All the Grrrl Power your generation has been force fed is mostly well-intended, but one by-product is that young women have been sold a bill of goods that soul-killing behavior is somehow empowering. Don’t be a part of helping them buy into that. Be a man.
Something weird has happened in the last few years. I hear a lot of people at my age and older saying “I love being Catholic.” I’m betting most of us wouldn’t have said that at 25. I am not asking you to get it now, either. I would ask that you keep in the back of your minds a “What if?” What if Christ is really present in the Eucharist at every Mass, every adoration, every tabernacle you drive by? Right there! Isn’t that kind of cool? Yeah, it is.
OK, good talk. Now get out there – and make good choices! Let me now when you’re ready to grab a cocktail.
Anne (Yes, please call me Anne. To my face.)