There was a stretch a while back when my husband and I had grown so incredibly busy – me with small children mostly, him with trying to grow a small business – that the idea of couple time seemed ludicrous and yeah, even a little pointless.
Put your relationship first. Sound familiar? It’s the kind of counsel you’ll get from friends who have both sets of grandparents living around the corner.
Make time for yourselves. That’s the advice you’ll hear from the people who actually hired the nanny, instead of just talking about it.
Our conversations went like this:
Me: We should go out this weekend.
Him: You’re right.
Me: We have no money and no place to go.
Him: Right again!
Then came the epiphany. There was a place we could go, and like the homes of some grandparents, it was right around the corner. The doors were open on the weekends, and anytime really. But on most Sunday mornings, free childcare was part of the package. We could get dressed up, drop off the little one in the nursery, spend some quality time together, and even hold hands for a few minutes.
It hit me like a ton of hymnals. We could go to church!
Now I’d be breaking one of the commandments if I proclaimed that my husband was as excited about this concept as I was. But that changed one wintery morning. Twenty inches of new-fallen snow issued this challenge to a man anxious to put his four-wheel drive Jeep to work: Just try to get your family to church!
Later in the year, when we factored in the post-service sojourns for coffee and donuts, these dates became even more irresistible.
But the truth is, both of us had been raised in church-going families rich in faith tradition. That said, it was only logical that our own rapidly expanding family would get its act together and follow suit. Hmmm. What was that part about logic? Everyone knows Faith isn’t logical. Faith is about true belief in something more powerful than yourself. Faith is about trust and hope in a reality of spiritual things not seen or touched.
Perhaps practical is a more useful word here. In this broader sense, Faith then becomes getting your family out of bed on a frosty morning or foregoing a football game on a Friday night, to gather with a community of believers.
In this context, Faith becomes watching your kids pull a wagon around the neighborhood to collect food donations for the hungry. Faith is saying a prayer for the guy holding the No Job! Need Help! sign because it really isn’t a good idea to stop traffic to hand him your last five-dollar bill. Faith endeavors to explain why a tiny figure of Santa ends up in the Nativity every year. Or why the family down the street has a menorah on their front lawn next to the inflatable snow globe. Faith rejoices with your young teen, who fully embraces the idea of using a languishing birthday gift card to pick out a present for someone who might otherwise be “gettin’ nuttin’ for Christmas.”
Whether or not we’re part of the forty percent – the group of Americans who regularly attend religious services – this time of year, Faith surrounds us.
When belief starts to falter. (Yes, even in Santa.) When the money’s all gone, and the presents have all been opened. No matter where or when or how it starts, Faith remains. In God, in humankind, in your country, in your family. Have Faith!
It’s the greatest gift of all.