The family’s formation of faith

This is part 1 in a series on The Family

For series synopsis, click here

Fundamental to a life well lived is a foundation of faith.

We can try to rationalize that we don’t need faith, or that we don’t have time, or that we are stronger than that.

This may be blunt, but the time of spiritual neutrality has gone. None of the above mindsets will cut it anymore.

Not if we have any hope of having, well, hope.

Surely many will laugh and call me an alarmist. I don’t see myself as alarmed; but I do feel that I’m aware.

Aware of what a solid, shared, and practiced belief system can do to help each member of the family feel confident not only of their place in their own family, but also in their smaller community as well as the larger society as a whole.

Isn’t that really what each of us need, and want? To know that we belong?

I know that I do.

TogetherSmileWhen Ann and I married, I don’t think our lives changed drastically. We still had freedom to run to a movie or go to dinner or slip out for a walk on the spur of the moment.

For me the reality slap in the face came when Ann woke me to tell me her water had broken.

I tried to argue with her that it hadn’t.

Yeah, we know how well that went.

But from that moment on, we were forever changed.

Anyone who has held a newborn baby and stared into their countenance has felt that momentary, quiet, but undeniable understanding that these eyes see so much more than we are able to see; somehow knowing that they remember so much of what we have now forgotten.

This brings the opportunity to also welcome the birth of a new understanding of faith in our lives. If we take it, things begin to finally make a little sense in the universe.

Or at least in our little corner of it.

babyA child brings innocence, light, unabashed joy. Their complete dependence on us awakens a cognizance of how elastic and precious trust can be. A child gives it freely, forgives quickly, and forgets completely.

I wonder if this can be our introduction to the basics of faith. We experience the purity of responding quickly to a simple beckoning look or confused cry. They learn that asking brings answers. They trust it will always be so.

This is as it should be.

I’m sure it is said that our youth have the greatest ability to test or try us. At minimum, our patience is stretched farther than we knew it could without breaking.

Of course, sometimes it does break.

And then, the work of repairing the damage resumes. We realize that it is a constant struggle to find the balance that keeps things in harmony. They realize that life is more complicated than they once knew it to be.

youth2The youth bring new ideas, challenges to authority, and desires to find and test the boundaries. Their growing independence, yet still total inability to do it all on their own introduces a relationship where each step is in new territory.                                           (Source: LDS Media Library)

Kind of into the unknown.

This is our immersion in the realities of faith. We know it is real and true; we just find the actual practice of it difficult and inconsistent. Sometimes when we ask, we don’t get the answer we seek. Sometimes we don’t know what to ask. Sometimes we don’t ask because we know we won’t like the answer.

Funny how the youth are going through the same thing that we are, just from a different perspective.

Painful, but necessary. Feelings of frustration make moments of understanding something not to be taken for granted.

As adults we make that eternally crucial transition from being under someone else’s rules, to having to set our own.

Suddenly all the things we thought we knew and were anxious to implement when we were finally free, don’t make as much sense as we once thought. Reticently at first, we swallow our pride and ask our parents for help.parents

We slowly become more willing to ask, even if we know we won’t like the answer; even if the answer is hard; even if the answer is               (Source: LDS Media Library)                              against everything we want.

Because we realize that we care more about those for whom we ask than any pain it may cause us.

This is our gift of the security of faith. Belief begins to grow into understandable experience as we can now imagine, however minutely, how our Father feels about us, helps us, wants the best for us, aches at our mistakes, and most of all loves without condition.

And yet there are times when it turns out badly.

It is our faith that gives us the ability to get up again and take another step.

Before we know it, old age has crept up and overtaken us. We are on the periphery of our descendants, allowing them the privilege of discovering their own faith and how it fits into their lives.

grandmotherYet, through experience of our own mistakes, we can perhaps perceive more quickly than our children can see the certain pitfalls looming in their paths. We are ready to help, yet know that we need to be asked. It has to be their choice for the help to be truly beneficial.

Often we watch and wait and love.

This is our reward of peaceful, solid knowledge replacing faith. At last, we see the end from the beginning. God has cut the apron strings, sending His children out to learn for themselves, but is always ready instantaneously to give all that is needed.

If we but ask.

Isn’t that really what faith is?  Asking and answering?

I know of no better place in creation than the home, with a family who loves us even when they think they hate us, to be qualified to be both asker and answerer.

Because we know that we belong.


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