The Evidence of Their Grounding: When Kids Wander from Faith
While all this is going on, the second son -- much less monkish than the first -- dodges in, asks for the car, and careens back out the door to the beats of the pop music he is composing and recording. He is going to be a star, probably by next year, because everything works out as it should. He is an energetic and charismatic Martha to the older son’s restful Mary, and he bustles with optimism; things will happen “in the blink of an eye” he advises, so stay alert and keep believing. Be at peace with yourself because all fall short and perfection is unachievable; have faith. Of course his music will work out; if you ask for bread, you won’t get stones! The younger son appears and vanishes within the space of a few mouse clicks.
“He must learn patience,” the IT/Priest will say. “He rushes with foolhardiness into the world, but the world is fickle.”
Regarded in the light of all my husband and I tried to instill within our sons about faith and the church, that busy afternoon was hugely reassuring; all of our lessons were reflected back by them in their indirect homilies, although with different emphases, which is to be expected, given their natures.
The elder son is utterly fearless within the world of screens, monitors, and the universe of ideas, “out there” in the vast, unlimited ‘nets -- but he is cautious to a fault and sometimes hobbled by the instinct toward perfectionism. The younger son is equally fearless about taking on the flesh and blood world; he flings his arms wide open to the universe “out there” amid the vast throng of people he plans to make friends with and eventually rule -- but he is not always cautious enough and is sometimes brought up short by pride. For now, they are fair-minded, generous, and loving men each taking their turn on the faith journey, and they are currently covering that meandering path upon which many of us also traipsed at their ages.
The illusion that all knowledge, perfection, and limitless opportunity are before them will soon enough be tempered by the world and by their own weaknesses; then, perhaps, the familiar, narrower path toward which their spiritual sensors have been trained all their lives will beckon with its light; hopefully when it does, they will recognize it with joy, as part-and-parcel of all they were created to be -- pretty much precisely the people they were on the days they were born -- the quiet dreamer of a planet, and the impatient supernova -- and alive before their Creator, whose glorious mysteries are all before us, every day.