Notes from a Rookie Firefighter...March 20, 2011


Atheists Beware LOL


Yesterday was my CCD class's Confirmation Day. I was thinking how sometimes God gives you something like a GREAT class of kids to keep you motivated. This year was supposed to be my first year off in about ten years of instruction but then a class needed an instructor and there I was.


If you ever get an opportunity to work with a group of teens, you don't always talk about God like you think. They tell you things, or I should say mention things to the group, that would never come out in normal my mom's an alcoholic, or school is really hard and my parents don't understand, or I was in a psyche ward for two weeks. It's important not to judge but just listen.


My son's friend dropped out of CCD right before Confirmation, and I was trying to convince him to make his Confirmation since he came so far. My 17 year old son, in his wisdom, said, "Mom he's an atheist like me and he doesn't believe in God the way everyone else does. I made Confirmation because you wanted me to." This boy was the same kid who two years ago had to write an essay about a hero he knew. He wrote about me. And I didn't even know him well.


My mission? To get him back in the program as my student. He would be joining my other son, also a proclaimed atheist, his brother, and a few other kids he knows. I will make him understand you can say you're an atheist all you want but in times of emergency if you pray you are NOT an atheist. You're just a confused kid. And so was I at that age - did we come from apes or did God create us? That was the question I had throughout my Catholic HS years but no one could seem to explain it to me.


This all made me think of the gift I have been given working with Confirmation kids. I remember the kid in my class years ago who had dropped out for the same reason. I did convince him to come back. I had said your Mom and Dad want to see you get confirmed. It's important to people our age. I didn't know his parents but I knew they would feel that way since I did. The next week his Mom passed away and the following year his Dad. This is a true story and one I will never ever forget. This boy still textes me from time to time just to say hello. He needed the Holy Spirit to get through the loss I am sure.


Part of the Bishop's homily yesterday addressed what Confirmation is. You are given gifts - wisdom, courage, fortitude, etc. just by praying to the Holy Spirit. You're not sure of what you want to do in life? What career? Pray for guidance. He also told them there is so much trouble and unrest in the world and they have the power to change it for the good.


Lastly, yesterday as I sat with the other Catechists I looked up to the stained glass image over the alter and asked God for guidance. Am I a marketing expert? Am I a realtor? Am I a perpetual volunteer? Or will I always define myself by my children's issues? I seem to be alone, different from other women, and very different from the other Catechists who can recite all the correct answers to the many questions the Bishop asked the students. I left the Church a bit confused and a bit lonely.


So then I drove to a favorite thinking spot of mine in Morristown and pulled down the visor in my car and looked in the mirror. I saw a youthful looking almost 50 year woman who loves to volunteer, loves to write, wanted to be a lawyer, and has wanted to change the world since I was 17.


Next, I went home and sat in my parking lot for five minutes, thinking of the song, "All Revved Up With No Place To Go," and said the heck with it. I got into my pjs, ordered Chinese, and took an online marketing class.


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Comment by John L. VanAuken on March 21, 2011 at 2:44pm
I am not Catholic, but am a Christian who dose beleive in God. I do work in ministry, one in wich can be difficult, for it has to do with bikers. I work with the youth as well, and I have heard them talk and beleive in atheisim and scientology. I feel that you cant always, talk to someone about God. So I like to be friends, help out in anyway I can. I feel just being there in times of need, by blessing their bike, or saying a prayer before a ride if they are a biker. Can go a long ways to helping them understand, what life and God is all about. I know for was one of those troubled kids who was pushed, to live his fathers life. If wasent for someone being a friend and taken the time to talk to me, would not be here to day.

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