This blogging thing has been very lucrative for me.  What?  Did my ’97 minivan have you fooled?

Yeah, not so much in the financial department (sorry Doug) but I have found riches no bank account could hold in the form of friends.  Jennifer, of the ever-famous, uber-fabulous Playgroups Are No Place For Children, comes to mind easily when I reminisce about my journey on the highways of the interwebs.  I call her Playgroupie when I’m shooting the breeze with other bloggie people as in “Did you read Playgroupie today? She cracks me up” or “Wow, I wish I could take photos like Playgroupie” and occasionally “why is my head so much bigger than Playgroupie’s?” (see below)

I have the lovely Meghan to thank for the introduction way back at Blogher 2008 (before conferences started to frighten me) and I’ve been stalking Jennifer ever since. We both have “spirited” children around the same age.  For the non-kid folk out there “spirited” is PC for: a sweet, lovely child who in addition to being the great love of my life, has the ability to drive me to the brink of insanity at the drop of the hat/what the hell am I doing wrong? That is a bonding issue for Moms – someone else that is willing to stand there and say “yep, I got no clue either dude” – free of judgment, full of love.

She is an amazing writer.  Every post is a treat leaving me with a nugget or two of some sort that I laugh about or think on in the days ahead.  And so it was with her recent post about her emerging reconnection with faith. It was such a powerful post for me because I’ve been feeling similarly of late and her beautiful words have helped me verbalize the ramblings that have been floating in my head for a while.

After some soul-searching last year, Doug and I decided to leave the Parish we had always been a part of, the same Parish P was baptized in.  It was very difficult to make such a decision – leaving friends behind and ultimately disappointing so many.  But there were distractions that were frustrating and keeping us from the real reason for religion: a place to celebrate your relationship with God.  I was playing any “get out of Mass free” card I could find and even when I did go, I found myself lost in my own thoughts sitting there in the pew.  I couldn’t hear God’s voice because of all the noise.

On a whim one Holy Day last year I popped in at the Parish that is located near P’s preschool.  I know it sounds silly, and perhaps I was vulnerable and anything would have felt better than where we had been going, but this new Parish – St. A’s – felt like home.  And I heard Him for the first time in a long time.  We joined shortly after once I got Doug on board and have been “faithful” (har har) members ever since.

Don’t get me wrong, there are weeks I’ll sit there and get very little from the readings or the sermon or the experience, I feel God and I feel good that I’m present and open to Him, but some Sundays it is what it is.  But then there are other Sundays you sit there and you have a Dr. Gru moment: LIGHT BULB!  He’s talking right to me and THIS, THIS is what I needed to hear at this very moment.  For me, the exercise of one’s faith is a crap-shoot, but when you hit, man it rocks you.

This past Sunday was one of those Sundays.  There was a reading from Isaiah (58:7-10) and the homily which followed that has had me thinking ever since.

“Thus says the Lord: Share your bread with the hungry, shelter the oppressed and the homeless; clothe the naked when you see them, and do not turn your back on your own…you shall cry for help and He will say “Here I am!”…If you remove from your midst oppression, false accusation and malicious speech; if you bestow your bread on the hungry and satisfy the afflicted; then light shall rise for you in the darkness, and the gloom shall become for you like midday.”

Since becoming a parent, I’ve often wondered, what exactly does a parent need to do to raise a spiritual, faith-filled child who is…good.  What do *I* need to be doing to be…good.  And I’m not talking the big ones – I know we’re not to kill, covet, commit adultery, etc. – those are the easy ones.  What do I do daily to show my love for God and find peace and contentment within?  I must have been in that place on Sunday because this reading and the songs that followed might as well have been NEON LIGHTS alerting me “HERE, HERE IS YOUR ANSWER”.

Will you love the ‘you’ you hide if I but call your name:
Will you quell the fear inside and never be the same?
Will you use the faith you’ve found to reshape the world around?
Through my sight and touch and sound in you and you in me?

from “The Summons” by John Bell

And I wonder if my ears and heart would have been opened to HEAR this were it not for reading Playgroupie’s post earlier in the week.  And THAT my fair reader is the power of friendship…

and the internet.