A strange thing happened this summer. My husband’s parents and my parents both sold our childhood homes within a month of each other. It was like a chapter of both of our lives closed. We have both experienced a mix of emotions – sadness at the inability to make more memories in these special places, frustration with going through all of “our boxes” (which our moms had lovingly saved for us), exhaustion from helping with the moves, and mostly excitement for our parents who are gaining more financial freedom in this process. It’s a bittersweet moment for both of us.
But with any move or down-size, some hard decisions had to be made. What furniture would stay and which would go? Do we really need to keep our old report cards or stuffed animals? How do we ensure that our home — the one we are building together with our own children — doesn’t just become a place where we store “stuff” from our own childhood memories?
In chapter 24 of Proverbs, we hear “By wisdom is a house built, by understanding is it made firm; And by knowledge are its rooms filled with every precious and pleasing possession.”
What my husband and I realized through this process is that, while objects (especially pictures and video) can help us remember, they aren’t the memories themselves. Instead, it was the people, the laughter, the fighting, the crying, the moments of love shared, that made those places – our childhood houses – our homes.
The same could be said of our Church home. It isn’t the specific way it looks or the specific ministries it promotes that makes it a home. Instead, it is a loving and authentic community striving to lift each other up in wisdom, understanding and knowledge that fills it with “every precious and pleasing possession.”
While the beauty of the Catholic Church is that the Eucharist and the Mass and the sacraments are present at churches around the world, what makes a church more than just a place of worship – but instead a home – is the faith-family present there, specifically their friendliness and authenticity. My husband and I have found that here at St. Francis. This is truly our home. It isn’t just where we attend Mass every weekend, but instead is the place where we feel loved, cared for, and wanted. We have met forever friends here; people who support us in hard times and rejoice with us in happy times. And some of the best memories we have from our first 6 years of marriage involve St. Francis and these people. What a blessing this home has been to us, just as our childhood homes have been.
If you are searching for that type of faith home, I encourage you to find a Church community that helps you feel this way. Possibly it is here at St. Francis, but maybe it isn’t (if you live in or around Grapevine – it should be!!). To be honest, it will take effort. It won’t happen overnight, and it will likely require you to step outside your comfort zone to join a small group or attend a series or turn around and talk to the family who always sits behind you at Mass. But I promise you, the rewards are worth the effort. There isn’t anything better than authentic friendships that are built on a mutual relationship with Jesus Christ. It will bring you laughter and tears, happiness and frustration, and lots and lots of memories. But, most of all, it will help attain your eternal “home” in heaven.
This blog was written by Danielle Milliken, Coordinator of Digital Media & Communications here at St. Francis of Assisi. If you’re interested in writing a blog for St. Francis of Assisi, please contact Joseph at email@example.com.