"Spring is when you feel like whistling even with a shoe full of slush." Doug Larson
In April my thoughts always turn to my dad as this was his birthday month. (Truthfully, my thoughts are frequently turned towards the memory of my dad no matter the month!) One of my favorite childhood memories was watching him sit down at the end of a long day, not at the kitchen table writing out checks to the missions with the polkas blaring as he usually did, but instead, sitting in the living room watching one of his two favorite television shows- All in the Family or Hogan's Heroes. He would never watch anything else. I can just picture him with his hand on the side of his face and tears rolling down his cheeks because he would be laughing so hard at the antics on those shows.
You could say that my dad was ahead of his time as far as sedentary activity was concerned. We were always restricted in our television viewing; we were never allowed to watch it during the day, that time was strictly for work or play and he himself abided by this rule. Today when I am at work, I am forever reminding young parents to limit the amount of time that they allow their children to watch TV and encourage them to provide plenty of opportunities for physical activity instead.
So there I was the other day, living in exact opposition to the advice I give, all cozied up on the sofa in front of the set wrapped in nostalgia as I happened to catch an All in the Family re-run on TV. In this particular episode, Mike and Gloria were expecting their first baby and they had invited Archie and Edith to spend Thanksgiving with them. Everyone was in an uproar (they were always in an uproar on that show) because Mike the "Meathead" atheist was adamant in his refusal to have the baby baptized and Archie was extremely upset about Mike's decision. The "Dingbat" Edith chimed in with a very interesting statement in support of Archie's request that his grandson be raised in the Christian faith. She said, "Children should go to church when they're little because when they're older they are having too much fun to be religious."
Her statement made me think that maybe "Dingbat" wasn't such a bad name for her after all. For even though I am no longer so young myself, I am having more fun now being "religious" than I ever did in the "fun" and reckless days of my youth! I can't fathom anything that is better or more pleasurable than silently kneeling in front of my Eucharistic Lord in adoration, or belting out one of my favorite hymns at Mass, or praising Him with my entire being in the glories of His nature. Watching my children finger their rosary beads as they pray is a great delight. Listening to someone who is hurting share their suffering and knowing that my presence and prayers give them comfort in some way brings me much joy. The sight of my family filling the pew at church is one of the greatest beauties I know. To abandon myself in the pages of a spiritual book brings peace and inspiration beyond my wildest imaginings, and perhaps, best of all, discovering a new friend whose faith is similar to my own gives me a thrill beyond compare!
Sure we have our troubles, our slushy shoes-there's never enough money, the aches and pains in our bodies constantly remind us of our fragile humanity, our sins may be forever before us glaring out for the world to see; but living with those troubles in the light of faith is far more enjoyable than living with those troubles in the darkness of doubt.
"Doubt is a pain too lonely to know that faith is his twin brother." Kahlil Gibran
So I will embrace my faith and live it to the hilt. I will enjoy every second of this precious life that God has chosen to bless me with and I will never know the pain of loneliness that comes from not being religious. I will retain a childlike spirit and go to church and for me that is fun! Can you hear me whistling with my shoe full of slush? It's spring!!!