I don't think I put it out there that often that faith is a big part of my life. I don't like to get too preachy about it because no one wants to have that sort of thing hammered over their head. In fact I may actually come across as the exact opposite. I say a lot of inappropriate things. I cuss quite a bit (especially if I'm frustrated with the Giants). I don't especially like my fellow man, and I can be quite anti-social. Not the normal attributes of your standard Joe Church.
Faith or being religious isn't about being perfect like so many people think. It is about admitting your imperfections and working on them. It is about understanding that you need help no matter who you are. It is about being a part of something bigger than you. A community of faith if you will.
There was a time when I was actually seriously considering the priesthood when I was in high school. I went to a Catholic high school. It was a wonderful community. We cared about each other. We would defend and support each other through thick and thin. We had retreats to strengthen our faith and grow as men. I got to know people I called friends on these retreats, and I developed deeper relationships with acquaintances. I had the honor and priviledge to lead one of these retreats late in my Senior year. The other leaders and I stayed up late telling stories and jokes. More inappropriate stuff, believe me. And we got even closer. I opened up to people with things I had never told anyone. I came out of the experience thinking that the priesthood and helping others may be my ultimate calling.
It's funny how that can all change when you see your future wife.
Obviously I'm not a Catholic priest what with the wife and kids. Over the past few years I hadn't been as in touch with my faith. Career and outside distractions seemed to move me further away from what I always deemed so much more important. Ironically the person that may have changed my mind regarding the priesthood was the same person that has brought so much faith back to my life. Erin is like a never-ending fountain of faith and belief. She even taught religion in high school for heaven's sake. Her school was another community of faith that once again welcomed me with open arms.
My faith has once again been reawakened with the birth of my daughters. I truly look at them as a gift from God because I certainly don't think I've worked for such a great reward. They amaze me every day and make me believe even more that there is something greater than me. I want them to know all the same gifts that I do. To know that there is a community that will support them and guide them that is beyond me and their mother.
This was one of the biggest reasons why we baptized the girls this past Sunday. It was their introduction into that community of faith, and there were scores of people there to welcome them. It was yet another inspiring moment in the life of a dad. Here were all these people that just wanted to be a part of the lives of Grace and Ana. It was a beautiful experience that only solidified my belief, and it made me feel lucky to be involved in something bigger.
I may continue to cuss and say things that embarass the hell out of my wife. I may still lack patience with others. I'm not going to be a priest like I thought back in high school. But I love the path I'm on, and I love the community of faith that has always seemed to surround me. It's a gift that I hope Grace and Ana inherit.