Our little girl…has made a life-defining decision by herself. I couldn’t be more proud of her. But I cannot deny that what she said to my wife and I stopped us briefly in our slightly smug, religiously disinterested, bleeding-heart liberal tracks.
What courage had it taken for her to tell us what she wanted? It was clear that our brave, sweet daughter had thought about her faith long and hard.
Looking back, we realised we had regularly discussed our differing beliefs. Our daughter brought us Genesis. We gave her the Michael Bay-friendly Big Bang. She brought us the Nativity and peace and goodwill at Christmas. We gave her family, friends and good food. She brought us the crucifixion. We gave her the Easter Bunny. She brought us heaven, god and an afterlife. We gave her 21st-century life and a brief future as worm fodder.
After all that – and in spite of our gentle antipathy to god and creation – she still had the courage of her convictions to say to both of us, to our faces and again in front of the priest, that our world view isn’t enough for her. She believes. She wants to be baptised and she wants to be Catholic.
For me, it means regular trips to the presbytery for extra “Catholic lessons”. It means going to church for family mass on Sundays and not knowing when to sit or stand; and hoping that the priest doesn’t come at me with the microphone when he delivers his Jerry Springer-style sermon (he probably won’t).It means a little extra effort on my part and no small amount of frustration for my wife, who tries – and often fails – to understand the attraction of all this. But it means everything to my daughter. She’s taken a first step down a road that, ultimately, she’ll have to travel on her own. I’ll go with her as far as I can, but she knows, even now, that this is her journey. She’s heading where I cannot follow.
I just hope that, the next time she faces a life-defining decision, she remembers this time when she told us she had faith in something we don’t. And we believed in her.