M & J-
It must be strange having religious parents… not just parents with religion, but actively religious parents.
When I think about being a kid, every adult I knew had a personality that was fairly static. The parents with or without religion would exhibit the same traits on a consistent basis. The religious parents, however, would make changes. They’d speak about convictions, or things being put on their heart, and all of the sudden, one of them had a new job, new hobbies, or new household rules. It was intriguing, but completely countered all that I understood the appeal of adulthood to be.
To the younger version of myself, an adult was someone who doesn’t have to make changes. They just had to be themselves. Find people who like what they like, do things they like to do, and no one can tell them otherwise. I couldn’t wait to be an adult.
As I sat in church today, all I could think about was how many changes will always be on the horizon for me- and by extension, you. I’m almost sorry. The ratio of the children raised up by the religious that end up well-adjusted vs resentful isn’t high enough for me to withhold concerns over how the pursuit of Jesus in my life will affect my ability to be relevant enough as a father when you both need it most. The other side of that is I couldn’t do any of this parenting stuff without that pursuit being my heart’s focus.
The reason for this letter is to let you know that these convictions that lead our lives in directions that may fly in the face of my, or your mother’s, best earthly interests, are all in pursuit of a life that fulfills a purpose that’s bigger than all of us. We won’t always get it right, but please don’t let our failures in pursuit of the One responsible for blessing us with both of you be the source of any disappointment. Let your disillusionment with our parental infallibility come the same way every child’s does- when you stumble across our yearbook photos.
I might be 28, but as a Christian, I’m barely a teenager. My faith is more moody, maladjusted and anti-authoritarian than any of the personalities of the middle school students that I teach. Think of church as my self-parent/teacher conference to get me back on the right track… or as Clearisil for my soul’s acne.
The point is this- even though I’m your dad, I have a lot of growing up to do. Growing up means changes, and while I’d love for my persona to be the steady rock in your life, please understand that the reason it isn’t is because I’m pursuing the one thing that I feel can be that rock.