Lorelei's Letters is a series of posts addressed for my daughter, but that have general statements that I believe everyone should hear from someone, at some point in their lives. Basically, they are letters from mother to daughter, trying to explain this crazy world, and give some advice. A lot of them are on dark topics that I hope my daughter will get through with no scars. I hope you enjoy, or at least take something from the letters. Know that no matter who you are, where you are, or what you've done, you are loved. - A mother
Religion is a touchy subject and I'm assuming it probably always will be. There will, most likely, always be a conflict with religion. We are not super religious people and we definitely do not judge others for their religious beliefs. However, I did baptize you. Not me personally, obviously. But I got you baptized in a Catholic church. I don't consider us Catholics, though. We don't go to that church. You never did and I stopped going because I was asked to. In my personal opinion, if the idea of your religion is to be 'more like God' then you wouldn't turn anyone away. Ever. For any reason.
Anyway, I had you baptized when you were about a year old in the church that turned me away, because I wanted you to be baptized by the same priest that I had been baptized by. And for my grandma (your great-grandma)'s sake. I don't know that it would've bothered her if you weren't baptized or even if you just hadn't been baptized in a Catholic church, but I know that it made her happy to be there.
Since then, we have found a new place. We go to church... most Sundays. We've been kind of terrible about it lately. But we don't go for the holy-ness of Sundays or the super important lessons. We go to spend time with Grandma Mary and our family. Sure, we have dinner most Thursday nights, but there's something about getting up every Sunday morning and spending church time together and then going to lunch. There's something about not being in a rush because we've all cleared the morning to be together.
Sundays are, in a way, our day of rest. They are a day of teachings. But, it's more learning to be together and take a rest. I'm okay with you growing up to be religious or not be religious. You don't have to believe in God or even heaven. Although, I must say I really like the idea of Heaven. Not sure if I agree with all the things that have to be done or not done to get there, but it's a really nice idea and here's hoping that it exists and all our loved ones can still hear us. If not, I've been talking to myself for years. Our religion though isn't something I will hold over your head. You are allowed to believe whatever you want to believe.
Dave and I have talked about—this morning actually—what we should tell you when it comes to God and heaven. I am worried about the death conversation. That is never an easy conversation. I remember when my own family had it with me. Believing in heaven does give me a great sense of hope. When you're young, I'll probably tell you the same story about heaven that my dad told me. It's reassuring and calming. I wish I could tell you that it is real and I know that for a fact. I know in my heart that there has to be something more.
I just felt you had a right to know why your not-so-religious mom asks you to pray with her at bedtime every night and takes you to a church service most Sundays. Sundays are for family. The praying thing is something from my childhood. My dad prayed with us almost every night at bedtime. It was the only thing that made me look forward to bedtime. It was a time, again, we were all together as a family. It also did make me feel protected. When I would have nightmares, my dad would tell me to pray and that my mom (in heaven) would protect me through the night. It worked. I felt protected. I want you to feel protected—even if I'm not laying in bed with you for three hours until you fall asleep.
My point is, the choice is yours. You can be Catholic, Jewish, atheist, I don't care. Just don't lose your sense of family. Don't lose the togetherness of Sundays. It's important. Believe what you want. Go to church. Don't go to church. Go down to the beach and feel God there. Just kidding. "Saltwater Gospel" is one of my favorite songs, though. In the end, we will wind up wherever we wind up. Hopefully, we'll be together at the end of it all.
I love you to the moon and back,